The Placentia Area Historical Society was incorporated in 1972, and celebrated its 50th birthday on Sunday, March 27. 2022. As a historical society It took on the role to promote the study, knowledge and preservation of the history of the Placentia area. It has a ripe field in which to do this as Placentia history goes back to the sixteenth century and was involved with many nationalities including Basque, French, English, Irish, Americans and Canadians. The Society itself has quite a history because it is the descendant of an organization started in 1937, the Ancient Capital Historic Committee, which signifies the 85th year since its original formation. That committee is believed to be the second historical committee set up in Newfoundland.
The newly reorganized and incorporated Placentia Area Historical Society, now with charitable status, has been very active for most of its fifty-year history. It had 24 four members when first organized and while it dropped well below that on times, it now has a membership of 28. In 2022 the Society looks forward to another very active year guided by a 10-person board of directors. The present executive consists of President Tom O’Keefe, Vice-president Anita O’Keefe, Secretary Winnie Barry and Treasurer Ann Devereaux.
The Historical Society’s flagship in promoting this history has been the O’Reilly House Museum, open seasonally and housing artifacts going back over 450 years.A recent acquisition for the Placentia Area Historical Society is the former St. Luke’s Anglican Church. Both it and O’Reilly House have heritage designation. The main new activities this year will be the adaption of this former church, now known as St. Luke’s Cultural Heritage Centre, into a performance centre and a museum. As a museum it will highlight the history of the church and as a performance centre it will help raise funds to maintain the building and be a draw for tourists. Events being planned include The Escape Room Game based on Placentia’s history and called “Placentia Plunder”, a speaker series, and musical performances, etc.
Presently the Historical Society is seeking funds to accomplish this adaption of the building. It is hoped that the promotion of the 50th Anniversary Year will encourage further support.
Reaching the 50th and 85th milestones is certainly a time to celebrate and acknowledge the success and importance of such long standing community organizations as the Placentia Area Historical Society,
The Society has gotten support from the federal and provincial governments, the Town of Placenta, the Royal Bank, Placentia Lions and many others, over the years, including personal contributions, that assists the organization’s continued success. More
information can be obtained on the website at placentiahistory.ca.