Guest Column / Sharing Memories of the Area Coal Industry | News, Sports, Jobs
The Harrison Coal and Reclamation Historical Park Inc. held its 27th annual dinner and auction on May 8 at the Hopedale Social Hall with 75 attendees.
We thank Trevor Welch for providing us with great food and Dale Davis for our mixed drink setup. Like so many other organizations, we had to cancel last year’s dinner so it was so nice to hang out with friends and family.
Ryan Keesy was our auctioneer and we were honored to have Dave and Marie Barnhouse with us. We were able to acquire and frame Dave Barnhouse’s latest painting, “The Pike Inn” from Bloomingdale and we still felt like last year, “Old friends.” Dave Barnhouse is our widely known and acclaimed local artist who has produced numerous paintings of local scenes. The Pike Inn was owned and operated by the Gentile family. In 1963, Domenick and Blanche Topazio bought it and operated it until 1993. They were longtime life members of the historic park. The pike was the best-selling item of the evening and was purchased by Tammy and Nip Mattern of Cadiz.
We have killed several members over the past two years and remembered them at our dinner.
The list included Martin McKim, Kelly Michelli, Dean Bower, Pam Coulson, Art Mattern, Allen Phiefer and Blanche Topazio.
We have inducted our officers for this year, Dusty Welch, President; Dale Davis, first vice-president; I am the second vice-president; Amy Welch, secretary; and Marilyn Monzula, treasurer. We also thank our directors, Donald Richards, Bryan Coulson, George Bedway, Keith Anthony, Casey Miller, Tony Kirchner, Luke Anderson, Dave Snyder Kris Kull and Anthony Diana.
A Chinese auction was added this year and went very well. Sue Adams was responsible for this. There have been three new additions to our park, located west of New Athens, off Highway 519. The first is a 30 foot by 70 foot by 17 foot high hoop, which I have given to be used for storage, repair of machinery and vendors at our old building shows.
The second is a 111 Marion Dragline. There are only seven left in the world. We have two and our new one is up and running, making it the only one that can dig. Hats off to Welch and some of our other members for making this possible. Bill Marino donated this machine to the park and we thank him very much for his generosity.
Finally, the park is now the proud owners of three fully equipped and still beloved Porta Jons.
We also thank Maple Leaf Demolition for sponsoring our dinner and Keith Anthony for paying for our three new picnic tables at the park. Dale Davis arranged for it, and the students at Harrison Career Center put them together for us.
Many thanks to the graphics department there, teacher Sherri Duggan and senior student Racheal Laney, for putting our 2022 calendars together with Hanna’s 5561-D excavator, also known as “The groundhog.”
The Historic Park has a Spring Old Construction Show Memorial Day weekend in our park.
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 29 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 30. Admission is $ 3 per person.
Join us and watch old machines, big and small, in operation.
(Blackburn, a resident of Hopedale, is the second vice president of Harrison Coal and Reclamation Historical Park.)