PILLAGER-Sylvan Township and Pillager School Community Education are teaming up to present a summer-long history lecture series called "History in Your Backyard."
This six-part series will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month from May through October at the Sylvan Town Hall, 12956 24th Ave. SW, Pillager.
"Did you know that from your backyard, in the Pillager Gap, you can drive less than 10 minutes and hit many very important and historical sites," organizers stated in a news release. "Many area residents don't know the history of the area. This is the reason that these two communities are partnering on a lecture series."
The first presentation will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, and titled, "The Glaciers and the Impact," with a special look at the geological formation called "The Pillager Gap." The presenter will be Bryan Hargrave, a forester, soil scientist and amateur geologist, who has worked in the Brainerd area for more than 30 years. He will discuss how glaciers have affected the topography, land use, recreation, agriculture and vegetation of central Minnesota.
According to a news release, he also will attempt to answer this question: "You're driving down a road in central Minnesota and the topography is flat. Hills can be seen to the north and south. Within a few miles, the topography changes from flat to short choppy hills. What's going on? Have you ever wondered how the landscape you're going through was developed? Good question. Most of the landscape we see and interact with in Minnesota is the result of glaciers that receded about 10,000 years ago."
Other upcoming topics in the series include:
• June 25: Mike North will present "The First Inhabitants." Discussion will revolve around early native populations. Why were they here and what were they doing? This presentation will cover the time frame up through the fur trade period and first European contacts.
• July 30: North will present information on the early non-native settlers and address the early white settlements such as the town of Crow Wing, Fort Gaines-later known as Fort Ripley-and the agency site on the Crow Wing River. The time frame will stretch to the 1840s.
• Aug. 27: Ron Miles will speak about the Red River Ox Cart Trails connecting the Red River and St. Paul, traveling through the Pillager area.
• Sept. 24: Don Wedll, an expert in the 1862 Uprising, will speak about the impact of the white settlements on the native population. Hole-in-the-Day, the local Indian chief will be discussed along with his local influence and murder.
• Oct. 29: Jeremy Jackson with the state's archaeologist office will speak about the Gull River Lumber Co. In its day, this was one of the most up-to-date mills in Minnesota and had a huge impact on the population growth of this area as it stripped a large area of the virgin timber, a news release stated. Located on the Gull River on the south side of the current highway 210, this lumber company impacted the area with much of the harvested lumber heading west to the Red River Valley.
The series is anticipated to be an annual presentation of the history in the Pillager area backyard. For more information on the series, contact Dave Johnson at 218-251-5468.