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Letter to Members & Friends

posted November 9, 2011

Dear Southlands Members and Friends,

As many of you know by now, we suffered a significant historical, emotional and economic loss with the fire that destroyed Deborah Dows’ home last Monday. Fortunately, that was all that was lost as none of the occupants was injured. Our renters have found accommodations, and Zsa Battaille, our barn manager will be moving into Southlands housing shortly. The barns, classroom and riding facilities are undamaged.

As far as what was lost: what little remains of the house will have to be demolished. The vast majority of Southlands’ archives including Olin’s paintings were stored in Deborah’s house and did not survive the fire. The few documents that were recovered are being reviewed by a restoration specialist, and we hope to save these. Furthermore, the house is insured and we are confident we will be able to maximize the amount available to us by working closely with our insurance advisor.

At this point, as we clean up the debris from the fire, we are looking forward to how to best continue the vision of our great facility. As we see it, the most important thing is to continue the mission as set forth by Deborah, which is to “provide a historical and agrarian connection to the community, and cultivate a respect and love for the land and its animals through education, conservation and outdoor recreation”. The Board is committed to continuing and improving our facilities to meet these ideals.

Our membership has always pulled together in times of need, and we are so grateful for your generosity. If you wish to make a monetary donation to Southlands, we will put it in a general fund that will be used to continue Deb’s vision for Southlands. If you care to make a donation to Zsa or the Pangia family, please make it payable directly to them.

Finally, thanks again to all of our friends. As a non-profit organization, we depend on your support. Blows such as the destruction of one of our touchstone properties is tragic, but we are also hopeful. We still believe we have a truly special place in Southlands, and will look at this challenge as an opportunity to build on our future.

Very truly yours,

The Southlands Board

P.S. With the loss of so much historical information about the Dows family and Southlands, we would appreciate any remembrances, documents, or correspondence you could share with us to help rebuild an archive.