As a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the General William Lenoir chapter, I felt it a patriotic duty to explore the status of the retrieval of the historical documents from the Loudon County Courthouse after the recent fire. Since 1890, DAR’s mission has been to promote historic preservation and education.
An archive committee was organized to research and develop a plan, which was proposed by the county mayor. A very thorough records assessment was completed and presented to Loudon County Commission in May 2018. Before any action on the plan could be implemented, the fire destroyed much of the building and some of the records. Now there is a sense of urgency to salvage and preserve what is left.
After attending a recent commission workshop, I learned all of the records have been removed. Some have been freeze-dried, while others have been sent to various county buildings and even other states. Many unanswered questions remain as to the treatment of these historical documents. According to the assessment, quite a few records predated 1900 and needed to be archived. Through information I obtained, no document restoration company has been contracted.
We need assurance that vital records are preserved for genealogical research. These records provide invaluable information about our heritage. People travel miles searching for them. I hope Loudon County will be dedicated to its history.
To know that our elected officials will resolve to make preservation a priority should be important to all residents. Saving the past for the future could be a source of joy and pride for everyone.
If this is an area of concern, please support your commissioners and historical society.