A new History Wall featuring wooden plaques bearing the names of individuals and businesses who made significant contributions to George Town’s seniors residence was unveiled at The Pines Retirement Home on Wednesday.
Olive Miller, The Pines’ first manager and a long-time resident said it was indeed a historic day for The Pines as she welcomed guests to the event, including Governor Helen Kilpatrick.
“This morning I was listening to the radio and they kept saying this is a historical day and I kept saying to them, yes, yes and you don’t know how historical. Brexit [has] started, it is Nomination Day, 63 people were nominated, and The Pines retirement home is unveiling its wall of history, it is the right day to do it,” said Ms. Miller to the delight of everyone gathered.
The History Wall is located in the downstairs foyer of The Pines.
The Pink Ladies, the Veterans, along with Scotia, Royal, Barclay’s, Washington International and Northwest banks, and numerous private individuals are among the names listed on the wall. The plaques were found by a staff member at the original Pines home, which was built on land belonging to the late Ellen Nixon.
Before Ms. Miller discussed the wall, she explained how the home earned its name.
“I heard some people [saying] it’s called The Pines so old people can go there and pine their lives away; that’s the last thing we want anybody to think,” said Ms. Miller, who noted she lives there and it is a wonderful place to live.
She explained that in the 1980s when they started to build the home and the council was discussing what to call it, the name first suggested was “the Home for the Aging,” but they didn’t think it would have staying power. Heber Arch, a board member, brought up a particular place on Seven Mile Beach with lots of pine trees and lots of shade and where families went to have fun.
“We wanted it to be a place just like The Pines on the beach, where old people would be sheltered from the sun and the difficulties of old age and where they could have fun and families would be able to come and meet them,” Ms. Miller said.
Throughout the years they have tried to maintain that ethic.
“That’s why its called The Pines today,” Ms. Miller said.
The History Wall came about one day when Ms. Miller wondered what had happened to all the plaques that had been on the wall in the old building. She asked the maintenance man about it, who the next day came to her with a cardboard box with the plaques and various other things from the old building.
Along with friend Carol Hay, Ms. Miller decided to build the History Wall to display the plaques.
Rotary Central came on board with donations, and also assisted by creating a beautiful tree painted on a huge roll of canvas, Ms. Miller said.
Ms. Miller hopes everyone will be as delighted as she was when she saw it.
“‘It’s a living wall and not a dead history wall,’ Ms. Hay keeps telling me,” Ms. Miller said.
“Every day of the year you make history in a place like this, [and] as the years go on and in the next 33 years, we hope we fill up the other half of the wall.”
Wrapping up her talk, Ms. Miller said it was her third attempt at preserving the history of The Pines.
Her first attempt was when she was manager. From her first day on the job, she kept a scrapbook of everything that was written about The Pines, however the book was unfortunately destroyed during hurricane Ivan in 2004.
She bought a large memorial book and a marble-top table on which to display it in the foyer, noting all the people who had passed away at The Pines and in the community in whose name donations were given.
The memorial book disappeared and was never to be seen again, she said.
The table was found some years later, and Ms. Miller said she donated it to the National Museum.
The History Wall is her third attempt at preserving the home’s history. She hopes somebody will be interested enough to see that it is not destroyed, and she had witnesses to back up her wish.
Pines Manager Lynda Mitchell, in her presentation, thanked the people involved in the creation of The Pines’ new logo, and overseeing the makeover of the website.
Theo Bullmore, vice chairman and treasurer of The Pines, thanked guests and invited them to tour the building.