The Rome Area Heritage Foundation (RAHF) will host a special Sunday gathering on April 2 to celebrate the close of the annual membership drive currently under way. The primary focus of the afternoon will be a special presentation by Bob Harris about the Myra H., an antique paddleboat that once sailed Rome’s rivers. The event will take place from 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the historic Stratton Tor estate, 593 Radio Springs Road SW, Rome, Ga. 30165. The event is free to attend to current and new RAHF members that sign up and pay dues at the party, and includes a tour of the sprawling home, heavy hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and live music.

The Myra H. dates back to 1932 and is believed to be the last remaining vessel that ferried passengers along Rome’s rivers. In addition to helping coordinate the restoration of the boat to its former glory, Harris hopes to see it relocated from Lock & Dam Park with what remains of the old Dixie steamboat to a more centralized and permanent home.

“I love ship models and have been building them since I was a kid. I can imagine what Pierce [Harris] felt building this boat and naming it for his daughter,” said the historian. “It’s a connection with the three rivers here and a real symbol of Rome. There’s a way to save it if we can get a community effort on board.”

Beyond cosmetic upgrades like new paint, repairs to the roof, hull, windows and paddle also need to be made. RAHF decided to partner with Harris last year to help fundraise and advocate for the boat’s restoration. Momentum continues to build around the project, as a committee begins to meet to decide next steps. The setting for the membership party and Harris’ presentation is a beautiful privately-owned estate, rarely open to the public. Stratton Tor, derived from the Old English for “place on a high, craggy hill,” sits near the summit of Mt. Alto and features beautiful 360-degree panoramic views of the Coosa Valley.

“We are excited to gather once more to celebrate our membership, new and old, and everything we have been able to accomplish with the help of the community,” said Paula Blalock, RAHF board president. “At each event we work purposefully to bring different segments of our treasure of local history to share with membership. We are very excited to be working with Bob to bring the Myra H. back to life. Membership dues help support our grants program and important restoration projects like this one.”

RAHF focused efforts in 2016 on raising awareness and money for the renovation of the City Clocktower; highlighting Downtown Rome’s historic houses of worship with a holiday tour; joining DDA in preserving the history of downtown with funds to erect plaques identifying significant buildings; and the funding of other worthy projects through direct grants. “Our history needs each and every one of us, and we are thankful for the support that Rome and Floyd County has shown for its heritage,” added Blalock. “We still have a lot of work ahead and a membership at any level is one way to take that first step with us.” Attendees are asked to RSVP for the membership party by calling 706-232-2570.

Memberships can be renewed and/or initiated at the event, by sending a check payable to RAHF at P.O. Box 1265, Rome, Ga. 30162, or by visiting Levels begin at $20 annually for full-time students; $35 for individuals; $65 for families; $100 at the sustainer level; and $750 for a lifetime membership. A business category is also available for $150. The organization is open to all individuals, families, businesses and other groups that have an interest in identifying, preserving and celebrating the rich heritage of Floyd County. Members enjoy fellowship and educational opportunities through special events and programming that feature tours, lectures and reports of restoration and renovation efforts.

To learn more about membership opportunities specifically, please contact Donna Chambers at 706-295-5784.