Bissell Buzz 2016/1

May 16, 2016

Summer is rolling in, the schools are closing for their summer break and that means the Fort will soon be opening again!   Even though we only officially open our gates on Memorial Day, we have had quite some activity already.

On April 25th we had some valued volunteers from the Deer Creek 4-H group to help with cleaning and one literally saw dust flying everywhere.  A big thank you to them once again for volunteering.

First and second graders from three schools visited us, i.e. Northern Valley, Phillipsburg and Hill City.  It is always fun to see the children’s delight on seeing the various displays.  It continues to amuse me that their favorite place is the schoolhouse and of course the merry-go-round.

Hill City School Visit

Hill City kiddies saying the “Fort Bissell Pledge”

After some detailed planning that started in 2015, we hosted the extended Rupke family on Saturday May 14th as part of their reunion weekend.  Our one-roomed schoolhouse was once located on the Rupke family ground and this is part of their heritage.  This was the first year that they actually incorporated a visit to the Fort as part of the reunion. Wilbur Rupke also entertained us with some of the antics they got up to at school – innocent (or maybe not quite so innocent) fun.  After the schoolhouse we gave the family a guided tour of all the buildings.  It was touching watching their emotions when discovering a photo of Wilbur Rupke in a book with photos in the Military Room too.  One lady looked at a certain display and told us this was her neighbor.  Immediately following this there were shrieks of delight as two cousins finally discovered each others identity and their family ties.  It sure was a fun day and we were honored to be part of it.

Rupke_Group Photo in School

The Rupke Group in the Schoolhouse

Rupke_Group Photo at sign

Rupke group photo outside

Rupke_Trying to find his photo

Wilbur Rupke trying to find his photo

We are in the planning stages to have a permanent blacksmith exhibit with some live demonstrations too.  Fun Fridays for the children will also be on the calendar again and will commence in June.  The managing board has seen some changes and we welcome Shelly Lare back on the board.  She has already dived into action with some valuable contributions. We sure hope that this is the beginning of an exciting season and want to encourage all to come and visit the Fort this summer.

We will reopen on Memorial Day and remain open through to Labor Day from Tuesday to Saturday.  Hope to see ya soon at the Fort!

Ruby Wiehman – Curator