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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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MUSEUM WALK—The Peshtigo Fire Museum was busy Saturday, Aug. 10 with over 150 people participating in the “Walk in the Past” to honor the 50th anniversary of the Museum. With the help of the Peshtigo High School Drama Club, members were able to bring back many of the stories and events of the Peshtigo Fire of 1871. Carol Janssen, a decendent of the Kelly family who were in the fire, talks about the struggle the Kelly family went through.

Over 150 Take Part in Peshtigo Historical Society Walk in Past

More than 150 people joined the Peshtigo Historical Society for a walk in the past in the Peshtigo Fire Cemetery on Saturday, Aug. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Stories of Peshtigo residents who experienced the Great Peshtigo Fire of Oct. 3, 1871 were presented at the grave markers of their families in the Fire Museum Cemetery. Those making the walk were greeted by Margaret Wood, secretary of the Historical Society. Society historian, Bob Couvillion, commented on the marker at the mass grave.

Dressed in period costume were members of the Peshtigo High School Drama Club including Jasmine Clement, Josh Druckrey, Alexandra Gordon, Tyler Klaver, Chase Kazmierkoski, Tim Lange, Kira Leupp, Brady Parrish and Catherine VanVooren, as well as Carol Janssen, a descendant of the Kelly family which experienced the fire, and a member of the Historical Society, Mary Seidl, artfully presented accounts of events during the terrible hours when Peshtigo was destroyed in a firestorm that took 800 lives from within the city.

Society member, Rosemary Leslie guided groups making the walk. Volunteer guides included Diane Johnston in period costume and Matthew Johnston who portrayed a trapper complete with buckskin garb, traps and pelts.

A number of people completing the walk remarked that the tales they heard brought tears to their eyes and new respect for the people who rebuilt the city. Others expressed a desire to visit the cemetery and museum again to learn even more of the city’s history.

The Peshtigo Historical Museum and Fire Cemetery are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is welcome and there is no charge.

The Peshtigo Historical Society extends a thank you to the community volunteers who did much to make this event a success. Members of the Peshtigo High School Drama Club under the direction of Sharon Sanderson contributed their time and considerable talent, Peshtigo School administrators permitted access to the Drama Club wardrobe room, Rebecca Schoenebeck of BPM Inc. contributed news articles and poster design and Jim Koronkiewicz provided printing of the posters. The marquis at Lee’s Family Foods and the Peshtigo National Bank announced the walk.


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