A Web-Site of "HomeTown Tributes" . . .

A Photographic Tribute to America's HomeTowns and their People . . . throughout the Decades



An Open Letter

to Each of

the Governors

of America's 50 Great States


A Web-Site that Showcases the

Photographic Heritage of America's HomeTowns,

and Pays Tribute to their People throughout the Decades


Each of America's 50 States

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A Web-Site that Permanently Preserves

from Natural Disasters

the Photographic Heritage and History

of America's HomeTowns, and, of their People

for Today, and, for Tomorrow

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And, a Web-Site where every Current and Former Resident

in every Town in America can actually participate in the success of their Town’s own

"HomeTown Tribute"







Stephen Van Hecke

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Our 50

State Capital


. . . Today

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Juneau, AK
Montgomery, AL
Little Rock, AR
Hartford, CT
Dover, DE
Tallahassee, FL
Atlanta, GA
Honolulu, HI
DesMoines, IA
Boise, ID
Springfield, IL
Indianapolis, IN
Topeka, KS
Frankfort, KY
Augusta, ME
St. Paul, MN
( l - r ) - then Lt. Governor Phil Bryant (now Governor ), me & State FEMA Director J. K. Stringer- Hurricane Gustav Evacuation -- Jackson, MS - Sept. 4, 2008
Helena, MT
Raleigh, NC
Bismark, ND
Lincoln, NB
Concord, NH
Trenton, NJ
Santa Fe, NM
Carson City, NV
Albany, NY
Columbus, OH
Oklahoma City, OK
Salem, OR
Harrisburg, PA
Providence, RI
Columbia, SC
Pierre, SD
Nashville, TN
Austin, TX
Salt Lake City, UT
Richmond, VA
Montpelier, VT
Olympia, WA
Madison, WI
Charleston, WV
Cheyenne, WY
, WY




















Dear Governor, and your Staff;


And,Thank you for visiting this Web-Site, and for taking thoe few minutes to read the Site's Introductory Page. As well as, for reading this 'Open Letter' addressed to you, as the Governor of your State, and to each of America's, and to your fellow Governors.

Let me, again, introduc myself. My name is Stephen Van Hecke, and the Author of this Web-Site. I am writing this 'Open Letter' to You, as Governor of your State, and to each of America's 50 Governors so that I may introduce You to this very unique Web-Site, and to its very special "HomeTown Tributes" for the Cities and the Towns throughout America's 50 Great States.

This 'Letter' is addressed to you, because, every Town, and every City, every Boro and Township . . . indeed, every Municipality in America is located within the boundries of one of America's 50 States.

You probably noticed at the bottom of the Introductory Page, that a similar 'Open Letter' is also addressed to each of America's Town Mayors. This Web-Site is an idea and an opportunity, I would like to think, that they, as their Town Mayor, and their Elected Town Committee Members will want to consider for their own Town. And so, much of the information you are reading here, as the Governor, the Mayors will be reading, as well.

This 'Letter' will show how this Web-Site - HomeTownMemories.ORG - with its "HomeTown Tributes", is indeed, and, as the Banner at the top of this Page suggeste:

A Web-Site that Showcases the Photographic Heritage

of America's HomeTowns.

The Photographs of Each Town from throughout the Decades.

And, from over the Years, Photographs Paying Tribute

to the People of those HomeTowns


Each of America's 50 Great States !

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Phoenix, AZ
Sacramento, CA
Denver, CO


A Big 'Thank You'

I want to assume that the reason you, as the Governor, are reading this 'Open Letter', now, is because someone on your Staff heard something about this Web-Site from someone else, and decided to check it out.

And, I would like to think that Staff Member decide to browse through America's FIRST "HomeTown Tribute" for my HomeTown of Dayton, Ohio, and could easily imagine "HomeTown Tributes" for the many Cities and Towns in your State, and for yours and for their own HomeTown.

And so, Governor, I want to take this opportunity through you, to Thank that Member of your Staff who took that next step towards what can be a 'unique and imaginative way to Pay Photographic Tribute to the Towns and their People in your State. And the HomeTowns in each of America's 50 Great States.

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Your State's 'Welcoming Page'

And with that, Governor . . .

Let me tell you about the Page you'll be linked to from the bottom of this Page. The Page is entitled "Welcome to Our State" , and is designed and dedicated exclusively for your own State. It will be the Page that everyone will first link to who want to visit any of the "HomeTown Tributes" for the Cities and Towns in your State. And, of course, these Cities and Towns that they Click to will be those same Towns that the Residents of your State call 'Home'.

your State's "Welcome to Our State" Page.

As you scroll down through your State's 'Welcoming Page', you'll see your State Flag and State Seal, photo of the State Capital Bldg. and State map. Also, there are separate banners with links for both your State's Chamber of Commerce, and the State's League of Municipalities. and, there is an official Photograph of you, as your State's current Governor.

A special box can be added just below the Governor's Photo for a 'Welcome to Our State' text message from you as the current Governor. There is also, the possibility of an audio / video message, as well.

And,from the bottom of your State's 'Welcome to Our State' Page you'll go directly to America's FIRST "HomeTown Tribute" for the City of Dayton. I suggest that you give yourself a few minutes to browse through each of Dayton's 10 unique ''Feature Sections' .

I'm sure you'll find it quite easy to imagine for yourself while browsing through each of Dayton's 'Feature Sections' what each of those same 10 'Feature Sections' would be like as they Showcase and Pay Tribute to the Towns in your own State . . . the Towns that each of your Residents call 'Home'.

From the bottom of your State's 'Welcome to Our State' Page you can Click to both the "HomeTown Tribute" for Dayton, Ohio, ( which I recomend Clicking to first ), as well as, Clicking to the Introductory 'Feature Section' for your own State's Capital City.


'Introductory Tribute' Page entitled - "Our HomeTown . . . Today".

your State's Capital City which will take you to the Introductory 'Feature Section' - "Our HomeTown . . . Today" for your Capital City. The Web-Site has created

This Complimentary "Our HomeTown . . . Today" has been created by the Web-Site for each State's Capital City.

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Unfortunately, as Governor, you are all too aware of . . .

In addition to the physical distruction and human tragedy that occur as a result of any natural disaster, whether it's a Hurricane, a Tornado, a Flood, or a Fire. Such disasters can have profound effects not only on the individual Residents of a Town, but equally devastating can be to the Town, itself.

With such devastating disasters, not only the Residents of a Town may well loose much of their own Family's hard-copy, Photographic Heritage, but the hard-copy Photographic Heritage of their HomeTown, itself, could be lost to such natural disasters.

The pictures of the Town's Former Mayors that used to hang, before the desaster, on the Town Hall wall . . . along with those of other Town Officials . . . all of those framed Photos taken of the Town over the years hanging on the walls of the Town Library, the Police and Fire Stations, and, all of the probably countless Photos of the Town stored in filing cabinets in, perhaps, a back room of the Town's Historical Society, and perhaps, hardly ever seen by anyone.

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It was because of such a disaster - Hurricane Katrina - that motivated me in Jan., 2008 to move to Mississippi so I could in whatever way I could help the small Gulf Coast Town of Bay Saint Louis. I had seen a CNN Docmentary about Kathleen Koch, then the White House Correspondent for CNN. She had travelled back to Bay Saint Louis with a camera crew to show what had happened to her childhood HomeTown as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Although much of the national news had been focused on New Orleans, the eye of Katrina had passed through Bay Saint Louis, and its neighbor to the east, Pass Christian . . . which was, interestingly, the childhood HomeTown of Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America. I ended up making that small Gulf Coast Town of Bay Saint Louis my Home for 2 1/2 years. And, while there I learned that, indeed, they had lost much of their Town's Photographic Heritage. Both the Town itself, as well as, so many of the family photo albums of that Town's Residents. The countless Photos of their family, and of their HomeTown throughout the years.

A Side Note. While living in Bay Saint Louis, I and a lot of other residents without our own cars were evacuated by school bus north to the State Coliseum in Jackson for 3 days while Hurricane Gustav blew through the southern part of Mississippi. Sleeping on a cot side by side with hundreds of others, and eating boxed meals 3 times a day was a unique experience. While there, Mississippi's Lt. Governor, Phil Bryant with his FEMA Director came to the Coliseum to see how everyone was doing. I decided to go over and introduce myself and mention why I had come to Bay Saint Louis from my home in Hew Jersey. Had a nice conversation with him, and then he asked if his aid could take a picture. That's it to the right. He is now Mississippi's Governor.

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Just a few words about why The City of Dayton, Ohio was selected as America's FIRST HomeTown with America's FIRST "HomeTown Tribute".

The City of Dayton is, of course, my 'Hometown' having been born in the "Gem City' in 1942.

And, to our Ohio Governor John Kasick, I am asking for your support for the State Ohio's Capital City of Columbus to be next with its own "HomeTown Tribute".



And with that, it seemed there was a way that I could design a Web-Site that would Feature America's HomeTowns through the many Photographs collected by the Town, and by the Town's People through the Decades of that Town, and of its People. Everyone would be able to go to the Web-Site, easily Click on the Name of a Town, and then easily browse through 10 separate 'Feature Sections' that make up each Town's "HomeTown Tribute".


Throughout those years away, the City of Dayton always remained my Hometown.

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And now, in 2016, having been back 'home' for these past 5 years, I've again, had the opportunity to re-establish my on-going connection with the City of Dayton 'Community'.

And, because The City of Dayton is my HomeTown, I am officially launching my Web-Site with The City of Dayton being America's very FIRST HomeTown to have their own "HomeTown Tribute".

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When I was gathering the information in order to complete the Page entitled - "Dayton's Current and Former Mayors and Committee Members " ( It was Listed on the previous Introductory Page as one of 10'Feature Sections' ), I went Downtown to City Hall with my digital camera and snapped a shot of each individual picture of each Mayor mounted in identical wooden frames hanging in 2 very long rows, one above the other on the wall, in the second-floor hallway.

And now, with this one 'Feature Section' and found on this very unique Web-Site - "Dayton's Current and Former Mayors and Committee Members", with just a Click, each of us for the first time, has the opportunity to browse through the only one-of-its-kind Photographic Retrospective that Pays Tribute to each one of Dayton's former Mayors going back to Dayton's very beginning with Mayor D. Reid in 1805 ( Dayton's First ).

Beginning with the Name and Photograph of Dayton's current Mayor Jan Whaley and the Names of Dayton's current Committee Members, and then, through the Decades, you can scroll back, year-by-year, browsing through the Names and Photographs of each of Dayton's Former Mayors and Former Committee Members.

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As explained on the Introductory Page , there are ten (10) distinctive 'Feature Sections' that comprise Dayton's, and will comprise every Town's "HomeTown Tribute" . One of the 10 'Feature Sections' is a Town's 'Logging-On Ceremony' . It memorializes the Date with a photo Press Event when the Mayor officially logs their Town's "HomeTown Tribute" onto the Web-Site. The Page features a group photo of current Town Officials, and an individual photo of the current Mayor. The photo of that Town's current Mayor who had the foresight to say 'Yes' for their Town to have its own "HomeTown Tribute" will permanently remain on their Town's "Logging-On Ceremony" Page.

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One last Important Mention

On the Introductory Page, I referred to this Web-Site with its "HomeTown Tributes" for each HomeTown as being America's HomeTown ( Family ) Photo Album. And in a 'unique' way, this Web-Site will be America's HomeTown Photo Album in a very real way with each Town's "HomeTown Tribute".

One of the 10 'Feature Sections' ( a very special 'Feature' ) "HomeTown Tribute" is entitled "The Photographic Memories of My Own HomeTown". It will allow every current, and former Resident the opportunity to actually participate in the success of their Town's own "HomeTown Tribute".

Each Town, whose Mayor has said 'YES' for their Town will have their own 'HomeTown Tribute' . And 'the 'Feature Section' entitled "The Photographic Memories of My Own HomeTown" allows the Current and Former Residents of that Town the opportunity to scan and up-load their own photos from their own Photo Albums of their Town, and of the People. Photos from the Town's own Historical Photographic Archive can also be up-loaded.

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With the completion of the 'HomeTown Tribute' for The City of Dayton, and hopefully planning for Dayton's Official 'Logging-On Ceremony' , I am now, preparing to introduce Web-Site and it's 'HomeTown Tributes' to a National audience, and to the HomeTowns in each of America's 50 States.

And a note about how easy it is getting from one Page to another Page ( Clicking ) and getting around the Web-Site, in general. The "Our HomeTown . . . Today" Introductory Page is the Page you will be clicking to from the yelloe box, just below. Each of the other 9 'Feature Sections' has a red-boardered yellow box at both the top of the Page and at the bottom. The links listed in each box will take you to the other 'Feature Sections' , and to anywhere, else, in the Site.

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'Your Comments and Suggestions'

There is a 'Comments and Suggestions' Page that you can Click to from the bottom of each of the 10 'Feature Section' Pages. I would appreciate hearing from each of You with any Ideas and Comments that you may have to help make it the "Wow . . . what a Great Idea" Web-Site that it can become.


Thank You, again. for taking these additional few minutes to read a little more about this unique Web-Site.

And, please let me hear from You about it.

Stephen Van Hecke


And now, Browse and Enjoy !


Click for -

- The 'Welcome to Our State' Page for your State


Phoenix, AZ
Sacramento, CA
Denver, CO