SHERIDAN — Sheridan Stationery, Books and Gallery will host a signing of the latest book from the Clearmont Historical Group — a collection of local citizens who have dedicated themselves to recording the often overlooked history of the Clearmont area — Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
The book, titled “The Rails Come to Clearmont,” is the eighth in a series of books the group has been publishing since 2014.
Terrill Foster, director of the Clearmont Historical Group, said the series is part of a larger project the group is focused on — documenting a local history it fears might otherwise be forgotten. The group formed in 1985 and spent seven years working on a book, “Backward Glance,” that chronicled 100 years of history in the Clearmont area through personal stories, oral histories and memories from local residents. The finished book contains nearly 900 pages but Foster said, despite its length, it overlooked several crucial pieces of the area’s history.
“We had so many personal stories and interviews that we did not have any room in that book to put anything about the organizations and the schools and the events and the clubs and the businesses,” Foster said.
But the historical group took a long break following the publication of “Backward Glance”; it did not reconvene until 2014, Foster said.
When the group began meeting again, members discussed putting together another book that would cover the subjects that did not fit into “Backward Glance.” The group did not want to cover those areas with another massive volume though, Foster said, and decided to work on a series of short — 100 pages or less — supplemental texts.
“The Rails Come to Clearmont” is the eighth such volume.
Foster said the group relies on a wide range of sources to research the books. Many of the references the book draws on are available through the Sheridan County Fulmer Library’s Wyoming Room, Foster said. Often times, however, group members have informative materials that they’ve stashed away over the years.
Over the years, group members have uncovered dozens of materials and objects that help illustrate the history of the local area and they exhibit those artifacts through the Clearmont Historical Center.
“That’s kind of where we get a lot of research and materials for our books,” Foster said.
Sheridan Stationery Owner Robby Smith said interest in the Clearmont Historical Group’s publications has traditionally been high. Attendance at signing events and sales of the group’s publications are typically strong, she said.
The group’s books collect impressions and recollections that likely aren’t available elsewhere, she added.
“It’s just so great that they’re preserving that history — things that get orally passed down but aren’t always written down,” Smith said.
Foster hopes that interest will encourage other residents to help sustain the group’s project. Many of the group’s members are older and some of the original members have already passed away, she said.
She is currently in the process of recruiting her successor. Foster said she hopes she can train someone else to oversee the group when she decides to step away.
“Gathering and keeping local history is important,” Foster said. “And right now, we’re the only one’s doing it in Clearmont.”