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There at park’s beginning

March 27, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

Twenty-five years ago on April 10, 1987, we had a town meeting in Calumet with congressman Bob Davis. He explained how the success of Lowell National Historical Park could be transferred to Calumet.

Our vision was to increase civic pride and knowledge of our heritage. A national park would be institutional advertising for the area and professionally tell the story of our past.

Our hope was that by restoring historic structures, we would provide the exterior faades of historic Calumet with new high-tech businesses operating inside those historic facades.

I had personal incentive to tell the story of Calumet's past. As a kid, my dad would daily tell me stories that all ended, "You should have seen Calumet when I was a boy."

He told me about starting work in the mines after 8th grade in 1918. Thousands of men were going to work every day (and there were)?29 shaft houses hoisting copper 24 hours a day. But he often also told me that Calumet was a community of churches and the religious revivals of those days.

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I was the initial (Keweenaw National Historical Park) spokesman. My goal was to get more people and communities involved and buy into the idea.

In time, I passed leadership to others. In hindsight, I believe there was divine guidance to create Keweenaw National Historical Park.

Don Hodel, United States Secretary of the Interior in his visit to Calumet in 1988 said, "The Park Service will preserve the history. It is the job of local businesses to capitalize on the tourists that will bring and provide services to them."

He also said, "We need to preserve for future generations the fact that Calumet and America became great because of the strong Christian faith of millions of immigrant Americans. The minute this country forgets our Christian heritage, America is in grave danger."

We showed Hodel St. Anne's and our vision to tell the story of local churches in the then-derelict structure. That vision became a reality through local volunteers and donations.

I was blessed to be a part of the creation of the park. The core of our leadership were sincere God-fearing people. Many of them are still working to support the effort.

Today, Keweenaw National Historical Park is a reality that preserves our rich history.

My hope and prayer for the future is it will provide a foundation for economic opportunities, renewed copper mining and Christian faith.

BOB PIETI

Sun City, Ariz.

 
 

 

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