2017-08-10 / Editorial

Take a step to preserve history

A recent trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – specifically the Keweenaw Peninsula – served as a reminder of the importance of preserving history on a local level.

The Keweenaw is steeped in history. Copper from its mines fueled the spread of electricity in America. Historic churches fill the small towns that dot the area and ornate buildings and city halls can be over 100 years old.

A stop by some historical sights in the Keweenaw showed that some are well kept and others are in a state of decline that – if no one intervenes – will lead to them being lost forever. One historical site visited looks as if it had stopped getting volunteers and people interested in keeping the history alive. A visitor could tell that the historical buildings had once been kept up and exhibits and displays still existed. However, weeds had started to take over and a feeling of neglect could be felt.

It is likely that an individual or group of individuals who had once made preserving the history their priority were no longer around. Some were probably dead and others too old to do what they once did.

We should not let this happen.

Both the Houghton Lake and Roscommon communities have active historical societies. The groups work to preserve yesterday for others to learn about and from.

It is no secret that the these groups must continuously add to their membership roles in order to survive. And, that’s where others could and should get involved. The societies typically meet once a month and are always in need of volunteers.

The recently concluded Houghton Lake Area Historical Society’s Village Days marked the event’s 45th anniversary. It is a labor of love for those that put it on and countless hours go into it. Village Days and its volunteers do an excellent job of giving visitors an idea of what it was like to live in Roscommon County around the turn of the century and later.

While it is too late to attend Village Days, you can still visit the grounds. Both the Historical Village at Houghton Lake and the Gallimore Boarding House and Richardson School in Roscommon are open Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. through Labor Day.

We encourage the public to take advantage of these resources and support the groups that make them available. We can’t afford to lose our history.

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