Siding placed on military annex building to present and preserve artifacts honoring veterans
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The building dedicated to honoring area military veterans on the Crawford County Museum grounds was spruced up and preserved for years to come through support of the Grayling Promotional Association (GPA).
Siding was placed on the exterior of the military annex building in late July.
In January, Carl Yost, a member on the Crawford County Historical Society Board of Directors, attended a GPA meeting and presented a list of projects museum officials hoped to tackle this year.
Since most GPA members go south for the winter months, a decision on a grant request for funding was made in the spring.
Over $3,000 was approved for the labor to place the siding on the building after bids were solicited.
“The museum has been here a long time, and nobody wants to see it gone, so when there is a need, obviously the ladies want to help,” said Ingunn Hraunfjord, the vice president for GPA.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners agreed to fund 50 percent of the $1,600 for siding that will be placed on the exterior of the military annex building. The vinyl siding was purchased through a GPA grant and other donations a couple of years ago, and was stored at DuBois Lumber, said Jim Smith, the temporary president of The Crawford County Historical Society Board of Directors.
SMK Beautification was hired to place the siding on the building.
“GPA has been very generous with us, and we appreciate it very, very much,” Smith said.
The GPA has sponsored a room in the main museum building with items donated by its members.
“They have close ties to the museum, and we would like to see it prosper,” Hraunfjord said.
The project fit in with the GPA’s mission to assist local organizations and bring visitors into the community.
“A lot of these places don’t have a substantial income,” Hraunfjord said.
In addition to the siding, most of the windows on the building were filled in and covered with particleboard.
The exterior of the building facing Norway Street will promote the building honoring the service of Crawford County Veterans.
“The intent is that we’re going to get plaques made of the insignias of all the branches of the service because that is what that building is dedicated to,” Smith said.
The interior of the building is being revamped. Different areas of the building highlight veterans and showcase photographs and artifacts from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War the modern era, as well as a spot for Camp Grayling and the National Guard.
Bill Blake, a member of the Crawford County Historical Society Board of Directors, is heading up the project. He recreated a hooch that he lived in while serving in the Vietnam War to highlight the era in military history.
This is the second project aimed at preserving the military annex building.
The family of Peter Lukes, of Auburn, donated $7,075 to the Crawford County Historical Society to put a new roof on the Military Annex building in 2015 in his memory.
Lukes served nearly 40 years in the Michigan National Guard and had a close connection with Camp Grayling. For seven years, he served as the command sergeant major for Camp Grayling. The command sergeant major serves directly under the Camp Grayling commander, ensuring that day-to-day operations, activities and training proceed as planned. Lukes died on Sept. 27, 2014. He was 75.
Built in the early 1880s, the building was sold to Grayling Charter Township for use as a township hall in 1883. The township hall was located at the corner Ottawa Street and Ogemaw Street. When the Grayling Middle School, which was the Grayling High School at the time, sought to expand, the township entered into a property trade with the school district. The building was eventually moved to the Grayling City Park and was dedicated in 1974 as the first museum after the Crawford County Historical Society was founded.
This past weekend, cottonwood trees were cut down on the north end of the museum grounds. The trees had grown to maturity and were starting to split down the middle, creating a hazard for museum buildings, its visitors, and for people and vehicles in the adjacent parking lot owned by the county.
Museum volunteers have plans to create storage space for artifacts, which will be rotated in display, on that portion of the property.
“It would reckless to implement those plans without removing the cottonwoods,” Smith said. “They were ready to come down anyway.”
The projects are part of ongoing efforts to create story telling experiences at the museum.
“Whenever the museum can document and represent and preserve the history of the county accurately and concisely, this what we want to do,” Smith said.
Hraunfjord, who is a native of Iceland and became a U.S. citizen in January, encouraged Crawford County residents to visit the museum.
“It’s important to learn about the history that happened here,” she said.
The historical society is seeking more volunteers to help support and operate the museum, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Appointments and tours cans also be arranged by calling the museum at (989) 348-4461.