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Historic tour brings Pine River history alive

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Amarilla Barclay (Bonnie Mills) helps a young lady out of the 1868 Concord stage coach which is being used to lead people on a historic tour of PIne River during July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 22, and Sept 5. Photo by Travis Grimler2 / 5
A historical stagecoach tour of Pine River, funded by the Legacy Amendment, tromped through the Pine River Streets July 11 and will return every friday until Sept. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Photo by Travis Grimler3 / 5
George Angus Barclay (Warren Case, Breezy Point) leads a historic tour of Pine River hanging from the door of a moving and packed full Concord Stagecoach. Photo by Travis Grimler4 / 5
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The history of Pine River has come to life in a historic 1868 Concord Stagecoach tour this summer.

Starting June 20 and continuing each Friday until Sept. 5, the Frontier Archive and Historical Tour takes visitors from the historic Pine River Depot to the historic waterfront and finally to the Pine River Public Library. All along the way, city founder Charles Angus Barclay (played by Warren Case of Breezy Point on July 11) leads passengers on the tour and introduces them to various characters who bring the history of Pine River alive.

The tour starts at the Pine River Depot and passengers get historical information at the Pine River Information Center. The stagecoach ride features descriptions of Barclay's original hotel and a stop at the Pine River Dam where dynamite-armed loggers ponder how to get logs down the river past the "new-fangled" dam. Passengers get a lesson on the history of logging on the Pine River.

At the final stop, the Pine River Public Library, Amarilla Barclay (played by Bonnie Mills of Pine River) describes frontier life and what it was like being the first white woman to live in Cass County.

The event is funded in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment in collaboration with a grant from the Kitchigami Regional Library.

"We were able to pull together a grant through the regional library. I worked with Doug (Taylor of Action Entertainment) to get the history together. He gave an idea and we took off with it. The first one was in May for the fourth- and sixth-grade classes. They had so much fun, and it was raining, but they still got on the top of the wagon," said Muriel Erickson, Pine River Public Library branch manager. "The purpose is to educate the public about the history of Pine River."

The actors have enjoyed bringing Pine River's history to life.

"I love it. I love playing Amarilla. I can't wait for the next show. It's always too bad when it has to be over. I just want it to keep going more," Mills said. "They make it fun, and that's what it is all about. I had to learn everything I had to know about Amarilla. There was a lot of reading and going back in history."