05/17/04 — Three honored by Mount Olive Historical group

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Three honored by Mount Olive Historical group

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 17, 2004 1:58 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Three people received the Mount Olive Historical Society's President's Award Friday night during the organization's annual banquet at Southern Belle Restaurant.

The award went to treasurer Dave Bean and Patti O'Donoghue and Kim Bowers, co-chairmen of a silent auction and musical program in October that raised $5,000 for the town's new historical museum. The museum's exterior is finished, and work should be completed this year on the interior, said the president, Ken Dilda, in his report to the 80 people attending the banquet. He said the society is still seeking artifacts for the museum.

"We need furniture, chandeliers, photographs," he said. "Check your attics and trunks."

The Mount Olive Area Historical Society has raised $97,000 in cash and pledges for the museum, and the fund-raising campaign will continue for another year.

Fund-Raising Committee Chairman Ruff Huggins said there are still some museum room naming opportunities available for those who want their name on a plaque naming the room they choose to sponsor. The Rotary Club of Mount Olive was the first to name a room.

A Museum Donor gives up to $99 and becomes a Museum Friend when the donation reaches $499. After that, the giver is called a Museum Patron when the donation reaches $1,000.

The clubs, with pledges over three years, are the Museum Artifacts Club, with gifts totaling $1,500; the Museum Preservation Club, with gifts totaling $3,000; the Museum Restoration Club, with gifts totaling $7,500; and the Museum Pacesetter Cub, with gifts totaling $15,000.

A membership drive is also under way for the society, which has averaged about 100 members over the past few years.

The speaker for the banquet, state Rep. Louis Pate, did some research about the history of Mount Olive, which was once called Enterprise. He said the town started in 1870 with a couple of turpentine stills and some bar rooms. Benjamin Oliver named the town Mount Olive after the Biblical name.

"I'm proud of Mount Olive, as I am sure all of you are," said Pate, who was paid for giving his speech in pickles made at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. He had said the company started out slowly in the 1920s, having trouble finding a market for the new product. He read from a 1950s publication that boasted of the company picking up momentum by that time, producing 12 million jars a year from a quarter million cucumbers.

Today, company officials say, it's putting out 90 million jars from 120 million pounds a year.