Clipped From The Evening News



 - Brimley State Parks Observes 50th Anniversary...
Brimley State Parks Observes 50th Anniversary By GRETCHEN DOELLE When one has achieved 50 years of existence, it is truly an occasion for congratulations and also for reminiscence. It was exactly 50 years ago today, November 27. 1922, that the Department of Conservation of Michigan held a meeting at which it considered requests by P. J. Hoffmaster, Superintendent of Parks, that three sites in the Upper Peninsula be accepted as future state parks. It is interesting to note that the twenty- seventh was on Monday 50 years ago, also. One might speculate that the final decision came some time in the afternoon. Therefore, Brimley State Park, you were probably born at just about the time that The Evening News reaches the newstands today. The first of the three sites considered on that Monday long ago was adjacent to the city of Houshton. The commission ruled that it could not be accented as no park sites were being accepted unless they were donations. The Drummond Island proposal was refused because of its inaccessibility. But the site near Brimley in Chippewa County was formally accepted and the deed was in the nossession of the commission by December first, according to a letter sent by Mr. Hoffmaster to John A. Doelle, Commissioner of Agriculture, and forwarded by him to the Brimley Commerieal Club. All of this Is recorded in a hard-covered, three-ring note book which served as a secretary's book for the Commercial Club. The book was found last spring as Susan Thompson sorted papers belongine to her late husband, Archie Thompson, who was a later secretary-treasurer of the club. The first yellowed letters and minutes are signed, however, by A. J. Passmore, who was the original secretary- treasurer. Nc one on the list of contributors who first gave $180.00 toward the $250.00, which Clark Ladd asked for the property, is new living. But their names are remembered in Brimley, as many descendants of the group which made the park possible still live in and around the town. There was W. JR. Gilbert, president of the club, and station master for the old Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railroad which passed through Brimley. Mr. Passmore was president of the local bank, located in the small brick building which later became the post office and which was razed this last summer. The Superior Mercantile Company, later known as the Thompson and Washburn Store, contributed $50.00, the largest sum paid, but the names of Rolla Washburn, Mr. Thompson, and William Penner are not listed separately. The other sums of five and ten dollars came from lumber men, farmers, fishermen, and the respected blacksmith, G. R. Keller. There were the Gleasons, senior and junior, both of whom are gone. Two other signers, A. W. Reinhard and T. J. Lucas, had stores. Another signer, Joseph Scher, who had come here from Chicago, had a small store next to the proposed park. Then there were others whose names are familiar—Frank Sprague, Edward Thompson, Ray Curry, Fret! Holdsworth, Corbett Bruno, William Milligan, William Raynard, J. W. Palmer, James Thompson, and James Mills. The only outsider was J. A. Doelle. As the former executive secretary of the Upper Peninsula Development Bureau, he had been interested in acquiring state parks for this part of Michigan. Mr. Hoffmaster, in his letter to Mr. Doelle, thanked him for his efforts and kind interest. Mrs. W. R. Gilbert, who will be 94 years young next March, remembers Mr. Hoffmaster very well. As she says, "Oh, he was a man everyone liked. He came here real often and we all thought so much of him." Upon reading the neatly typed minutes which follow the yellowed letters clipped loosely together at the front of the book, one is aware that work had been started on the parcel of land about a year and a half before its actual acceptance as a park. In the minutes of the July 5, 1921, meeting a Bee to "fix a road into the beach and park grounds" was proposed. The Sunday before about 15 cars had turned into the roughly cleared opening and a decent road was Blind Mechanic Is Transmission Expert LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alfred Whiteing repairs and rebuilds automobile transmissions — one of the most intricate of automotive mechanical tasks. "He's been working for me for about VA years, and I'd be hard put to replace the man," says his boss, Charles Amador. "He's a good rebuilder, good mechanic, has a good attitude •— everything." Whiteing, 57, has been blind for 25 years. -"Once you decide you're not going to have your vision back, then you go about your business," says Whiteing. He was blinded in an explosion in 1947. For eight years, Whiteing rode an emotional roller coaster of hope and despair as he underwent four unsuccessful cornea transplants. When he realized there was no hope of regaining his sight, McNeely Backs Larry O'Brien As Demo Chief DETROIT (AP) — State Democratic Chairman James McNeely said Sunday it is "absolutely clear" National Democratic Chairperson Jean Westwood will resign, and McNeely says he will back Lawrence F. O'Brien for the job. he enrolled in a mechanics school under a ,state rehabilitation program. "I found out that, if you want to live to any decent kind of standard, you've got to work," he said in an interview. "You can barely survive on a blind pension." Whiteing specialized in automatic transmissions, which have as many as 500 parts. After six months of training, he got his first job in a repair shop. Three days later, he was fired. "When you get out of school, you don't know anything — not really," he said. "They had hired me mostly as a gesture to please the school." It took him a year to find another job. "It's not easy, believe me," he said. "First off, they figure you can't do it." Since then, he's had half a dozen jobs. When business fell off, he usually was the first to be laid off. He -and a partner opened their own garage in the mid- 1960s. Whiteing recalls it as "an expensive little venture that didn't 'pay off." His skill increased with experience. His assets are a memory sharpened by its extra burden and sensitive hands that "see" flaws in transmission parts that are invisible to trained eyes. And now he has a steady job in a transmission shop in Hollywood. deemed a' necessity.' Norman Hill, editor, was to have an article in Soo News so that anyone in the county who wished to help could do so. Coffee or lemonade and a swim were promised free to 4he workers. Bot each participant was to bring his own lunch. Teams were solicited for the heavy work, which was under the direction of Jim Mills and Harry Gemmel, county road commissioner. This Bee was actually held. On July 8 another Bee was proposed for July 14, but this was put off because so many of the teams .were needed for haying and rock hauling. From then, on, rain is frequently mentioned as a reason for the failure to hold various "Bees." By the end of September, however, much of the work was reported as finished. At that meeting a resolution thanking Mr. Gemmel for his work was approved. In the November minutes the name of Merlin Wylie appears. Club members asked him to meet with them regarding a wigwam village on the beach. Mr. Wylie remarked that the state would probably pay for it. Members, after some discussion, decided to pay for it themselves by putting on an "entertainment." It is doubtful that anything ever came of this as there is no further mention of it in the minutes. In May, 1922, it was proposed that kodak pictures of the beach and grounds be gathered and sent to members of the State Park Board, as well as the governor. A definite campaign was underway to bring pressure to bear upon those who would have the final say. It was doubtless one of many links in the chain of events which led to the final acceptance of the land as a park on that momentous twenty-seventh of November. Today the park has grown in area from the original 34 acres (according to park records) or 53 acres (according to the club records) to 150 acres. It has also changed physically. Much of the land was originally swamp land. Thanks to modern "fill" methods, the soil level has been raised and made usable. And how people have taken advantage of this! In 1956 (the earliest record ketrt by the park officials) over 38,370 people were recorded as park visitors. In 1972, over 142,000 people have been recored so far. Many of these are "one night only" families, on their way to some other destination. But often they return to stay longer or bring others with them. Others may stay a week or two or even longer. After Labor Day, park registration falls sharply, but the retired and those without children still come. And in winter corne the hardy who love the clear air of this northern country. Some, but not all, are snowmobilers who use the park as a base for their trips through the snow-covered trails of the forests in this area. No snowmobiles are allowed in the park, however. Not everyone realizes that the park's facilities are open all year long. After the summer season, registration is made at the office, which is just to the right of the main road leading into the park. Many local residents fail .to realise that the park has an excellent picnic area available for them. too. A large "shelter- type" building, rest rooms, and swinss, as well as tables and benches, are waiting for any grouo which is hunting for a picnic spot. Many family reunions have been held there. According to Robert Bacon, assistant to Joe Halvorsen, park superintendent, 3,340 families were turned away last year for lack of camping sites. Because of this, an expansion program is underway. A new road, running parallel to the Brimley Read and the existing park roads, was finished this fall and is ready for spring black- topping. Seeding has been done along both sides. This will open another 55 sites, making a total of 270 camping spots. Any trees which must be cut down are utilized in operating the park. The registration office, for instance, is heated by a wood- burning stove. The average citizen is apt to think of winter as being a time of leisure for. park personnel. Nothing could be farther from the facts. Winter is their busiest season. Besides the constant plowing of roads and camp sites, there are parking lots to be expanded, tables and benches to be refinished, toilets repaired and painted, both large and small vehicles kept in repair or made ready for soring work, and wood cut. A definite work schedule is posted for each day, one for outside work and another for rainy days or inside work. The Halvorsen and Bacon families live at the park all year round. Their neatly painted gray and yellow houses with attached garages form part of a small compound which includes garages for work vehicles, wood houses, and the registration office. According to Mrs. Hietikko, who helns out in the office on a part-time basis, one of the most interesting facts about the park's development has been the gradual change from a purely local park to an international park. Visitors now come not only from Canada, but from Hawaii, England, and especially Finland, to name just a few of the .registered countries. Yes, we salute you, Brimley State Park! With your velvet- green grass and clusters of paner-white birch, your dark- pointed spruce reaching for the sky and your warm sandy beach, your wide-flung view of blue-green Lake Superior in all its moods and the distant Laurentians dinning abruntly down into Superior at Gros Cap, as well as the passing freighters and sallies, you are beautiful! To those who can stay only for a short time or to others who remain longer, you are peace, beauty, and a restful interlude in the tensions of today's living. In the next fifty years may you continue to give as much to countless thousands more. For it is in this way that you will fulfill your destiny, first dreamed of and envisioned for a wild section of our Lake Superior shore, by a group of dedicated men. • ••••5*1^^^ ^•^*_j»;^~ — — — •*•» — —— "listening 1973 4-CHANNEL MODULAR>SYSTEM with 4 circle-of-sbund The ILIAD • D715W All new Zenith 4-Channel or conventional FM stereo "enhancing" these 2-channel "awakening" the lost ambient and FM broadcasts of these 4-channel tape deck. Solid-state FM tuner; Stereo Precision four Circle of Sound* speakers. you must this system

Clipped from
  1. The Evening News,
  2. 27 Nov 1972, Mon,
  3. Page 3


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