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Bill Twomey steps down as history forum president

Bronx Times

Call this a historic east Bronx event.

Ater leading the East Bronx History Forum since its 2005 founding, president Bill Twomey is stepping down.

Richard Vitacco, its treasurer, will be taking over for the respected historian.

Twomey, stepping down for health reasons, is the author of numerous books, and countless articles as a Bronx Times Reporter columnist since 1983.

He was the sole founder after giving a talk at the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room in Westchester Square that drew over 70 people.

The turnout attracted the interest of Edward Morgan, then the library’s president, said Twomey.

The library was looking to draw visitors after losing its prestigious Native American collection to Cornell University, Twomey recalled.

“They needed a focal point. They no longer had Indian history, so what were they going to do?” said Twomey. “So they put it to the people and decided Bronx history.”.

“Morgan asked me if I could come up with some ideas, and this is what I came up with - the history forum.”

The forum got up to speed in 2005 over a fight to save the Arnow Mansion, a classic building on Williamsbridge Road in Morris Park that was ultimately torn down, said Twomey.

The effort drawing attention to the historical significance of Arnow drew some important members to the forum, including Tom Vasti, its vice-president, and Dr. Carl Anderson, vice-president of the Huntington Free Library.

It’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. at the library, located at 9 Westchester Square, will feature Norman Brouwer, speaking on the Bronx links to the Titanic sinking.

The history group also hosts walking tours and weekend lectures.

Twomey said he believes that the history forum should continue on its current course, and Vitacco agrees.

“I feel that Bill has done a phenomenal job in the years that we have been there, said Vitacco, a Catholic high school history teacher.

“We have enlightened people about the history of the east Bronx with our monthly lectures..”

The group’s mission is clear cut, he said.

“We have genuine concern about the history of the Bronx.” said Vitacco.

“The whole goal is to bring it to others who may have an interest, or who want to have an interest, or who are looking to find out more about the history of the Bronx.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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