Oct. 29 the members of the Forest Park Historical Society will gather for a special meeting to elect a board and officers. Recent divisions within the board led to the wise choice by its members to put every seat up for election rather than the usual model of staggering terms from year to year.

It is time, once and for all, for this odd and wonderful organization to choose a path for itself. Over its history, the historical society has too often been captured by individuals more concerned with their own image and a desire to impose control over the organization and its artifacts than with building a dynamic and sustaining non-profit. We loved Dr. Frank Orland, for decades the singular force of the society, but by focusing the society fully around him he failed to create an organization that would survive him.

More recently Rich Vitton and now Bob Cox have risen to president of the society and again seem determined to put walls up around Forest Park’s fascinating history and the community which wants to know more. We do not understand this impulse. But it is time to put an end to it.

We urge society members to turn out to vote. We urge locals who are proud of Forest Park’s history to chip in the few bucks to join the society so they can also vote for open and enthusiastic leaders. The society has been on a decidedly upward track in recent years with more programming, more fundraising and the energy of its part-time executive director. We want to see that continue not be squelched by the peculiar tendencies of Cox, its current president. 

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