Archived Story

Fort St. Joseph Historical Club helps restore Chapin Mansion

Published 9:30am Thursday, April 3, 2014

In its final official act, the Fort St. Joseph Historical Club donated $5,243.22 to the Chapin Mansion fund of the Niles History Center Tuesday afternoon.

Bob Ahrens, president of the Fort St. Joseph Historical Club, handed the check to Niles History Center director Carol Bainbridge during a ceremony attended by historical club members at the Chapin Mansion.

Bainbridge said the money would be used to restore one or more chandeliers in the mansion.

She also said a plaque would be made and displayed at the Fort St. Joseph Museum in Niles to recognize all the club has done over the years.

Ahrens said club members votedon March 11 to disband the Fort St. Joseph Historical Club, which has existed since the Fort St. Joseph boulder was moved from Pete Malone’s farm in 1912 to its location on Bond Street.

“We weren’t able to get any new members,” he said. “We had no young blood coming in, plus many of the members couldn’t make it to the meetings. It was just slowly falling apart.”

Ahrens said the club has been proud to have participated in many community activities throughout the years, including bell ringing for the Salvation Army, the Rendezvous, Fort St. Joseph archeological dig project and the Veteran’s Memorial.

Through a bequest from the Roger Lorenzen estate, the club was able to fund memorial signs at the Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport, the railroad signs at Riverfront Park pathway to Plym Park, and a museum quality display case at the Fort St. Joseph Museum.

Ahrens said the club wished to recognize many years of service by secretary Flora Riddle and treasurer Jane Glascott.

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