Historical figures come alive at history program
BALDWIN — Each July, The Lake County Historical Society hosts a Lake County History Day. The event highlights history throughout the county. Last Wednesday, the historical society tried something new. Visitors to this year's event were greeted by real-life historical characters who helped shape the area's history.
Nearly 70 visitors who came to the Lake County Historical Museum mingled with Father Marquette, played by Paul Bigford; Uncle Sam, played by Ron Dionne; and Andy Horujko, impersonated by Lake County Historical Society President Bruce Micinski.
Horujko became known on a national level when he walked from the norther tip of North America to the southern tip of South America in the early 1970s to raise awareness about car pollution.
"We have had a steady flow of visitors throughout the day," said Lake County Historical Museum Curator Jill Engelman. "I am very pleased with the turnout, and people asked if we will have this event again next year. I think we can coordinate it with new historical characters. This program was well received and shows a different take on Lake County history."
Adelaid Hoskins, cook at the Marlborough Inn, played by Rosemary Dionne, had a display of tasty looking pies and handed out recipes of Marlborough pie, dating back to the hey-days of the former boom town.
Raymond Overholzer, whose pine furniture and carvings are featured at Shrine of the Pines, was impersonated by Shrine of the Pines President Terry Bramer. He had photos and display pieces from the museum, including a kitchen tool made from a burrell of a cherry tree.
"Ray Overholzer's wife asked what he could make with the burr. He put a handle on it and made a tool for her to pound sauerkraut with," he said.
Engelman was dressed as a one-room school teacher, impersonating Marvel Smith, who taught in Lake County in the early 1900s. She had a test available for kids to take to see in which grade they would be placed.
Sandy Clarke, draped in a black judicial robe, portrayed Idlewild's own Judge Marilyn E. Atkins, a district court judge in the Detroit area.
"I am representing Marilyn Atkins, a fabulous judge who had fabulous life experiences," Clark said. "Her family represents five generations in Idlewild, and she helped her dad build their home in Idlewild when she was a girl. She still likes working with carpentry."
Beth Ann Blass-Murphy portrayed her ancestor, Reliance Blass, who, with her husband, ran the Pacific Hotel in Baldwin. Clarence Vicent represented himself as a railroad worker.
Another highlight of the event, the "what is it game," had folks guessing the names and purposes of antiques including such items as a Victorian-era napkin holder; a dibble, which was used to plant bulbs and trees; a corn cutter; and a clothesline on a reel.