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January 24, 2014

Former bank and library building may become museum in Milton

MILTON — A museum celebrating Milton as the birthplace of “In God We Trust” is officially coming to a historic downtown building.

The Improved Milton Experience — T.I.M.E. — is creating the James Pollock “In God We Trust” Museum in the former Milton National Bank on South Front Street, said George Venios, Milton’s Main Street manager.

T.I.M.E. has launched a capital campaign, aimed at raising $150,000 to cover the costs of the building acquisition and related expenses, Venios said.

Milton Saving Bank kicked off the campaign with a $5,000 donation, for which “T.I.M.E. is very grateful,” Venios said.

The building has a unique connection to Pollock, a Milton native who served as director of the U.S. Mint under President Lincoln and is recognized as the originator of the motto “In God We Trust” in 1864, when it was first placed on coins.

Pollock was a cofounder and the first president of Milton National Bank. The bank consolidated with another financial institution in 1932, making way for the town’s public library to purchase the building and occupy it until several years ago, when the library moved to Rose Hill on Broadway.

Venios said its history made the museum a perfect fit for the former bank building.

“We didn’t really give any thought to where else we should put this,” he said.

T.I.M.E. and the Milton Historical Society are also planning an April celebration to honor the history of the phrase, which was officially adopted as the national motto in 1956. The celebration is set for April 27 in downtown Milton and will feature Civil War re-enactments, encampments and a street fair, Venios said.

The museum will feature a number of Pollock memorabilia, including his original desk and chairs from his Harrisburg office while he was governor of Pennsylvania.

The museum will help establish Milton — home to other important historical milestones such as the production of the world’s first railroad tank car and internationally known Chef Boyardee brand — as “a destination,” Venios said.

“It’s a part of the bigger picture,” he said.

T.I.M.E. is committed to developing and enhancing the downtown to reflect Milton’s rich history and continued vibrancy, Venios said.

“We’re all about downtown revitalization,” he said.

 

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