Trestle Park ‘friends’ seeking members, funds
Mary and Bob Michela, Prudenville, along with Jean Schneider, a member of the Pen & Palette Club, have formed the Friends of Trestle Park group.
Mary Michela said the group is “just getting started” and is need of members and funds. The goals of the group are to maintain the park and promote its use.
One of its first projects will be to add some artwork to the landscape.
Michela said Schneider was previously familiar with Terry Dickinson, the president and acting director of the AuSable Artisan Village Art Gallery. For about $5,000, Dickinson agreed to paint a mural on the north exterior wall of Kronner’s Pharmacy depicting scenes from Michigan’s logging era.
Dr. Jim Sullivan of Prudenville is assisting FOTP with the historical aspects of the park and offered the use of a black and white photograph for inspiration for part of the mural. He said his greatuncle, John Sullivan, Charlie Sullivan’s grandfather, is pictured on a log raft in the photo. (The late Charlie Sullivan lived in the Prudenville area for 65 years and served on the Denton Township Fire Department for 43 years, last serving as assistant fire chief.)
Michela said Dickinson plans to incorporate a drawing of John Sullivan into the mural, which will be painted on aluminized exterior panels in Dickinson’s studio. Brian Dull of BMD Construction will help install the panels to make them look like one cohesive picture, she said, and boaters should be able to see it from the water.
Bob Michela said the water-themed mural will act as a “bookend” to the water of Houghton Lake.
The mural will provide a bit of visual history of the lumbering era.
Mary Michela noted that area railroad beds once converged in the Meredith Prudenville area. A train would take the logs as far as the water of Houghton Lake, out on a trestle. She explained that “shanty boys,” as they were known, then floated rafts from the East Bay toward the Muskegon River using horses on a turnstyle to winch the raft forward.
“It was quite an operation,” she said.
Architect Dave Riebschleger of Intelligent Design said the park’s groundbreaking will take place in about one month, once bid paperwork is cleared through the State of Michigan.
Michela said the park could serve as a focal point for “bringing art into the community,” not only to that corner in Prudenville, but to the whole area.
“The art can be enjoyed by anybody. There are things we can do to bring arts of all sorts,” she said. “Obviously we’re new. We don’t know what we can’t do.”
The goal is for FOTP to become a non-profit 501(c)3, but in the meantime, the Houghton Lake Lake Association will act as the group’s fiduciary.
Donations to Friends of Trestle Park should be made out to the HLLA for Friends of Trestle Park and the money will be held in a separate account for the FOTP to use as needed. The HLLA address is P.O. Box 206, Houghton Lake, MI 48629.
The group is planning a fundraiser June 1-2 at Walmart. Members will operate the “snack wagon” from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Information about Trestle Park will be available at the fundraiser.
Sponsorships are also available that will feature donors on a plaque at the mural site. The levels are Platinum, $300; Gold, $200; and Silver $100.
Personalized bricks, while not a fundraiser, are still available and may be ordered through Denton Township at 366-9313.
For information about becoming an FOTP member or for donation information, call the Michelas at 366-6740.