2011-10-20 / News

Historical Society Waits To Work on Dock

The Michilimackinac Historical Society will contact the City of St. Ignace before moving forward with a Chief Wawatam dock restoration project, noting that goals for the project must be better defined. In the meantime, the historical society will have a Web site built. When the society is ready to move forward with a project, the Web site will provide an easy way to solicit donations, members hope.

The railroad elevator on the Chief Wawatam dock collapsed August 3, and the historical society is interested in preservation.

Cheryl Schlehuber, board member, said at the meeting that the project itself hasn’t been defined. The prospect of rebuilding the elevator is controversial, she suggested, and the society should find out what the community wants to do and seek guidance from other historians with greater expertise in the area.

Pieces of the railroad elevator may be displayed on or near the dock, incoming president Nancy Dandona suggested. She said she hoped that, however the preservation happens, the elevator would remain a part of the waterfront and the boardwalk. She noted that while the historical society can show support, the elevator is city property and the society would need approval from the city before moving forward with a project.

If the elevator is to be rebuilt, said board member George Ford, the project would probably have to wait until next winter, when machines can move out on the ice. This winter would be too soon to start a project, he said.

Doug Taylor, a Naubinway resident, attended the meeting and volunteered to build a Web site free of charge. The historical society would then be responsible for maintenance and the yearly fee, about $120. The site for the historical society would include a Friends of the Chief Wawatam page, where anyone can submit ideas. When the society has a project planned for the elevator, the page will be updated with those plans and an easy way for people to donate to the project.

The Web site could also include a genealogy page and information about festivals, fundraisers, and other historical society events.

The board agreed to have Mr. Taylor build the site.

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