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Historic preservation groups meet and give presentations

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Pine River’s very own Heritage Group North hosted an event bringing together Pine River area archeologists and history buffs under one roof to discuss little-known area history.

The Paul Bunyanland Historical/Cultural Society met with Heritage Group North and other historic groups and residents to share their newest projects and discoveries. Presentations included a scale model railroad section designed to represent early Pine River, a quilt passed down through the family of a former school house teacher, and short clips from the John Rohr films.

The presentations began with the new Cass County Historical Society Director Lori Gamache. Gamache gave a history of the Huset schoolhouse, which will be celebrating its centennial this year. The presentation also included writings by former school teacher, Frieda Elvira Norman, from the Huset school. Writings included details of daily life and a break down of the costs of living prior to, and during the great depression.

Archeologist Grant Goltz gave a presentation detailing the rediscovery of a stagecoach road which once served as a valuable mode of transportation between Pine River and Woman Lake. Goltz said that most of the road is on privately owned property. He also said that many of the property owners are supportive of efforts to preserve the historic value of the road. The same cannot necessarily be said for the publicly owned sections of the road.

One section of the road is on property owned by Cass County. In turn, the county was previously in the process of leasing out the property for logging, which would destroy the historical integrity of the area surrounding the road. The county agreed to delay logging sales so that investigation of the road may take place. That investigation could eventually lead to the road being declared a historic landmark, resulting in its protection.

During this ongoing investigation, Goltz and participants have discovered artifacts including a horseshoe, a fork, an old tobacco tin, and a piece of a 12 guage shell manufactured before 1902. Goltz will be repeating his presentation at the Pine River Depot on June 29 at 11.

Yet another presentation was given by Archeologist Doug Birk who traced the history of transportation through Minnesota starting with the melting of glaciers and moving on until the days of the railroad. Birk described the ways that travel changed with the seasons and the years and also explained how that was reflected in the writings of explorer Zebulon Pike who likely passed through the area that Pine River inhabits today.

Birk also detailed the lives of influential historical figures in Pine River’s past, including fur trader George Bonga and Pine River founder George Angus Barclay.

Overall, the presentations offered by the Paul Bunyanland HIstorical/Cultural Society meeting covered a wide array of subjects, and left its audience pondering the past of the local area.