BESSEMER AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Organized January 19, 2002
3rd Quarter, 2009 - Volume 6, Issue 7
Website - www.bessemerhistoricalsociety.com
Notice of Membership Meetings
October 15 at 2:00 PM
November 19 at 2:00 PM
December - no meeting
Officers and Directors
President - Ed Sandene
Vice President - Catherine McLean
Treasurer/Editor - Lou Kalan
Secretary - Janet Gheller
Membership - Dolores Sandene
Directors at Large-
Historian - Fran McCarthy
This summer, our society was gratified to receive the gift of a 50 inch plasma tv from Dr. & Mrs. Peter Pairolero. They have also made dvds of histirical events occuring in the Bessemer Arera, giving visitors to our center another opportunity to share in the recorded history of our community. Their generosity will open up for us another venue of recording and sharing with you our heritage. We extend to them the gratitude of our board and officers, and all of the members who in the future will be able to participate in the enjoyment of this recorded history.
Our faithful docents have enabled us to maintain the many hours that we are open to the public, but we are asking members to volunteer for a 4 hour stint in the coming year. If you are available to do this, please contact Ed Sandene, Lou Kalan or John McLean.
An unprecedented amount of visitors enjoyed the art show at the Heritage Center this summer. An outstanding variey of different venues of artistic expression were on view. Many comments were made on the excellent quality of the work of our local artists.An impressive and interesting addition was the artists who were there to discuss thier work with visitors.
The annual open house/birthday party will be August 29 at the BAHS from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, coffee and freshments will be served, please plan on attending.
The Annual meeting will be September 12 at the Elk &Hound;11:00 am to 1:00 pm. RSVP requested by September 5. Three director terms are expired and will be voted on and filled at that time.
Catherine McLean , vice-president
WHAT IS HISTORY?
In 1966, the Peterson Mine closed its' doors and mining on the Gogebic Range came to an end. I was born in 1966 and little did I know that an end of one event would be the start of another.
When I was five years old, I remember sliding down the stock piles of the Newport Mine with my sisters in the winter. These piles that were a play land for me were the result of many hours of combined labor years earlier.
As I grew older, I remember seeing the numerous red brick buildings scattered throughout the area and wondered why the grass was so long around them. I asked my father what the buildings were for and he said they were old "mine" buildings. I remember seeing the head frame from Geneva Mine on top of the hill just one mile away from my home. One day it was gone but I didn't think anything about it at the time. I did not understand that another icon of the mining era had been removed as the years went by.
I remember looking through our old barn and finding a reddish-brown helmet covered with cobwebs. I asked my father what it was for and he said he used it in the "mine". I would look at my grandparents' photo albums and see collections of local pictures with many things not in this area anymore. My grandfather would tell me that it is not the same anymore since the "mines" closed down. I think I was about 14 or 15 years old when my friends and I ventured into the area of the old Geneva Mine.
I remember seeing the locker rooms where the men would change. We found an old pair of safety glasses and boots along with numerous other papers and documents. I started to look around and read and imagine what it was like in this room every day for many men years before. From that moment on in my life I would never look at an old photo or piece of paper in the same way. I started looking in local libraries for books about mining on the Gogebic Range.
As I learned more about mining, the branches on my local history tree started to grow. I wanted to know more about logging and farming. I wanted to know who lived where and what that building used to be. I needed more pictures, I left no old newspaper that I found unread. When my great-aunt died, I made my father haul a pick-up truck full of old cards and clippings and numerous other old paper items to our house so that I could look at them before they made their way to the dump.
Over the next 20 years or so I would accumulate quite a collection for myself in my quest for knowledge of local history. When I read in the paper that a group of citizens would like to meet and talk about forming a Historical Society for Bessemer, I knew that I had to be there. Now I belong to an organization that can take me another 30 or 40 years down the road to try and learn more about my passion for local history. Most of the members of our active group "remember" what it was like here years ago. For me, I can only "dream" what it was like here years ago.
Every month at our meetings I hear a different "old" story from days gone by. That is what keeps me coming back because I know there could never be an end. THAT IS HISTORY! I will never forget while working at the Heritage Center two years ago a local well-known man poked his head in the door and said to me "I am surprised that they let you work here!" I asked "Why?" He said "Because you're too young, you were not around for this area's history." I replied, "Exactly, why do you think I am here?"
Director Bessemer Area Historical Society