If you haven’t heard, exciting things are happening!
On Wednesday, February 6th the society Board of Directors met at the Silver Mountain Station to ratify our proposed constitution. The vote was unanimous among the assembled members and it was then passed along to the Ontario Historical Society (OHS) for their approval. Copies of the constitution will be available electronically and in print prior to the next society general meeting.
In a key development, correspondence from OHS indicated that contrary to previous information, our society could have more than one president. At the last society meeting in December, Shelley Simon was acclaimed president and Dave Battistel acclaimed vice-president to satisfy the incorporation requirements. This arrangement was based on the previously noted information from OHS, which did not suit the intentions of our group. Therefore the Board decided to designate Shelley and Dave as co-presidents for the duration of their terms.
At this meeting a number of other important issues were brought up and discussed. At the top of this list is the attempt to designate a portion of Highway 593 (which runs from the station southward to Highway 61 at the border) as the Dorothea Mitchell Memorial Highway. Shelley led the discussion on the matter, and presented all the paperwork involved in this process. There are quite a number of requirements that must be satisfied; in particular there must be support from the road boards of the townships the highway bisects. This will require some effort as this project does affect several neighbouring townships.
Dorothea Mitchell, c.1910.
Another point of discussion centred on the length of the memorial highway. It was finally agreed that the society should ask for the dedication of the entire route, from Highway 61 to Highway 588. This will certainly make the task more simplistic, and hopefully by having signage directly on Highway 61, help promote the station and tourism in the area.
A second project on the table is an attempt to erect an Ontario Historical Plaque somewhere near the station. It would celebrate the importance of the mines and subsequently the station in the history of the area. Shelley once again is leading this project and is currently working on the application to the Ontario Heritage Trust. A 1000 word paper must accompany the request and the deadline is September 15th. Hopefully we will see some results in the near future!
Located just down the road from the station at the intersection of Highway 588 and the Northside Road is an abandoned cemetery known as the Silver Mountain Cemetery or the Walker-Bessant Cemetery. This overgrown cemetery dates back to the early 1900’s and apparently saw its last burial in the 1970’s. It is dotted with several crosses and headstones. The society would like to undertake an effort clear and rejuvenate this long forgotten site. We may be looking for volunteers to assist in the effort soon.
Our efforts to preserve and protect the historic sites in the North-Gunflint Lake corridor continue. Led by Dave, the society is working diligently with the Ontario Government to make headway in what is turning out to be a very challenging endeavour. The key to this project is the former railway ghost town of Leeblain on Gunflint Lake. Many rock ovens dot the site, and recent information has suggested that there were many more structures located there than previously thought. We will provide more updates on this situation as it becomes available.
So the final piece of news for this entry is the most exciting. After receiving our ratified constitution, the Ontario Historical Society met on Saturday, February 23rd to incorporate our organization. With all of our paperwork in place, this process was a mere formality; OHS President Rob Leverty immediately called Shelley to pass on the good news. On Thursday, February 28th, representatives from OHS met with the Ontario Ministry of Government Services and were given our corporate number. All of this means that we are a real and true non-profit organization in the eyes of the Province of Ontario. Hurray for us!
Look forward to a society general meeting in the near future. In the meantime, the society will have a presence at the annual Thunder Bay Home and Garden Show at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition on April 5-7. Stop by the Silver Mountain Station booth to say hi or even sign a membership card. Hope to see you there!