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Huckster wagon is one of the stand-alone exhibits at Saginaw's Castle Museum.

SAGINAW CONVO: State History Conference to Be Hosted at SVSU

April 25, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The Historical Society of Michigan will hold its 2015 fall conference at Saginaw Valley State University.

The organization's 141st state conference will be held Sept. 25-27. The program for the conference will be made public in July.

The Society has honored the Saginaw County Historical Museum for its programs, including History on the Move, an award winning mobile museum and classroom geared for students in second through fifth grades.

The current exhibit at the Castle Museum is entitled "Saginaw Valley's Golden Age of Lumbering."

"When students board History on the Move they step into the past and discover how Saginaw became the lumber capital of the world," said Gerald Enszer, president of the historical society.

This period is brought to life with the Castle Museum's collection of historic images, tools and equipment, log marks and other artifacts. Finally, students have the opportunity to become lumber barons or baronesses through hands-on activities that reinforce their math, science, language arts and social studies skills and knowledge. Students will learn about the logging process, what life was like in the logging camp and how the logs were transported both by land and water.

Saginaw County is gaining notice for archaeological digs now going on in Borchard Park. The park is situated in the general vicinity of several events and locations important to the founding and earliest decades of the City of Saginaw.

Museum officials state: "In 1816, Louis Campau established a trading post and residence nearby. In 1819 the Treaty of Saginaw was negotiated and signed at a "council house" built by Campau adjacent to his trading post. Following the Treaty of Saginaw, in 1822, Fort Saginaw was constructed just a stone's throw from what is now Borchard Park.

"Second, the area of Borchard Park has been part of a Public Square, or Town Commons, continually since the 1830 Dexter Plat was surveyed. As far as we know, other than being the temporary location of the old Court House while a new judicial building was being constructed, no permanent large-scale architecture has been erected at this location.

"Borchard Park offers hope for finding relatively undisturbed archaeological deposits in this part of the city associated with the earliest Euro-American residents of Saginaw as well as their Native American contemporaries and predecessors.

"With luck, the Borchard Park project may become a springboard for the development of a program of "Settlement Period" research at the museum in which the tools of archaeology and historical inquiry can be used to learn more about the earliest years leading up to the establishment of the City of Saginaw and other communities across the county."

The Castle Museum's award winning "Project 1893: Unearthing Saginaw's Great Fire," used historical and archaeological methods to find, excavate and interpret the remains of a house destroyed in Saginaw's Great Fire of 1893.

"From the excavated artifacts, we were able to partially reconstruct the house's appearance and learn about the family who lived there. Many of the artifacts we recovered were the personal belongings of the family members who endured through the tragedy."

Among artifacts recovered from the site were melted glass "German Swirl" marbles and miniature stoneware jugs.

Analysis of the site formation processes also yielded unexpected insight into the nature of the community's response to and recovery from this tragic event. In subsequent years, newspaper and other accounts describe the community as pulling itself up by the bootstraps and quickly rebuilding after the fire.

The 142nd Annual Meeting and State History Conference will be held Sept 23-25, 2016, in Alpena, and the 143rd Annual Meeting and State History Conference will be held September 22-24, 2017, in Holland, Michigan.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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