Betty Hoover’s Sentiments

Posted on July 21, 2010


On Monday I went over to Bud Arnold’s talk about the historic schools of Eastport and learned so much that I wouldn’t know where to begin, so I’m not going to begin until I’ve had a chance to sit down with him for an interview and scan some of the photos he used.  For one thing, the man knows how to tell a story and I wish to quote him liberally.  However, after the talk, I met Betty Hoover, a volunteer from the Bellaire Historical Museum.  She is easy to quote, as she was wearing some of her sentiments on her t-shirt. 

She is also a canny negotiator.  In return for cooperating with the Photo Opportunity, she extracted my promise to promote a fundraiser for the Museum.  In spite of the fact that Betty defends the nefarious goings-on that led to the theft of the County Seat from this side of the lake back in the 1870s, I agreed.  For one thing, I was intrigued by the documentary film they’re showing over at the Bellaire Theatre on August 2.  Looky here:

Who knew that people from Antrim County packed up and moved to a colony in Alaska back in 1935?  At least they didn’t try to take the County Seat with them. 

I did a little mousing around and discovered that more than 200 families from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan participated in the colonization, largely because the Depression had pushed them into a corner and they hoped to make new lives.  Like the Civil War veterans who settled here in the 19th Century, the Matanuska Colony settlers were attracted by the prospect of homestead land.  It turns out that three of the families were from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, departing my Ancestral Lands right around the time my very own grandparents were losing their shirts.

I do not expect a whole lot of you to be fascinated by all this but I’m putting some links here so that I can find them later myself.  Who knows?  Perhaps we will attract new readers from Alaska.  I would like to meet a blogger from Alaska.  (I think lots of northern Michiganians harbor a secret desire to hare off to Alaska for an extended visit.)