Monday, August 24, 2009

Grand Opening of the Au Sable River Center Addition


Grand Opening of Au Sable River Center Addition

On Monday, August 31st at 1:00 p.m., the public is invited to the official grand opening of the Au Sable River Center Canopy/Meeting Room Addition. Members of the Roscommon Downtown Development Authority, Roscommon Metropolitan Recreational Authority, Au Sable River Center, Roscommon Historic Model Train Club, Roscommon Historical Society, and the Roscommon Village Council, will be present.

The addition includes a 2,126-square foot canopy on front of the River Center that was designed to resemble the railroad depot that once stood on the site. The Roscommon Farmer’s Market utilizes this space every Monday from 11am – 4pm.

A 686-square foot enclosed meeting room was also constructed on the southeast side of the River Center. It houses a conference room, restrooms, and is accessible from both the inside and outside.

A railroad/train garden is currently in the works on the north side of the property. This 400 square foot area will house a train display and garden from the Roscommon Historic Model Train Club.

The total cost of improvements to the facility was approximately $140,000. The Roscommon DDA contracted with Costello Construction to perform the work.

The Roscommon Farmer’s Market will provide free pop, water, coffee, and refreshments to the public along with plenty of vendors selling fresh produce. They will also be raffling off door prizes.

Come celebrate Roscommon’s newest gem!

The Au Sable River Center (211 N. Main) is located on North Main Street, between Brooks & Sheley St.
Please Contact Roscommon Village Hall for more information on the event - (989) 275-5743

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Au Sable River Center Sign Honors History of Roscommon Train Depot

(Roscommon County Herald News - Article by Jeff Patrus)
ROSCOMMON — The AuSable River Center and the Roscommon Area Historical Society (RAHS) have joined forces to bring a bit of Roscommon’s history to life.

Recently, the RAHS installed a sign outside the River Center commemorating the history of railroad service and the depot in Roscommon. The sign contains some historical information about the depot and train service in the village. According to Carol Garlo of the RAHS, the sign was made and designed by Sean Bell and his staff at Thee Sign Shop of Higgins Lake, at a cost of $1,650, which was paid for by the RAHS.

Garlo said it is important for area residents to recognize the role the depot played in Roscommon’s development.

“The railroad played a large part in our history,” she said. “It came in here to service the logging industry, and the town was built around it.”

"The four by eight foot sign shows an enlargement of an early photograph of the depot, which was built in 1872. The red and gold stained glass portion of the windows is evident in the photograph. Original pieces of that glass are on display at the Gallimore Boarding House which the RAHS owns and which houses local artifacts and historical information," she said.

Garlo said Bell was able to emulate the ridgeline d├ęcor of the depot, as well as some of the end brackets on the roof of the sign. Cedar shake shingles from previous RAHS projects were also used on the sign’s roof.

According to information on the sign, the railroad “opened the way for the village of Roscommon to be settled and a booming logging industry to move in.” Around the turn of the century, under new ownership, the Michigan Central Railroad provided “rapid, dependable public service” for passengers and freight to Roscommon and north to Grayling, Gaylord, Cheboygan and Mackinaw City.

Garlo said RAHS member Ned Wickes was instrumental in compiling the historical information that is included on the sign. She said the RAHS had talked about putting together a sign “for quite a few years,” but that talk eventually died down. When Wickes said he would research the history of the depot, the society decided to put the sign together.

Wickes recalled how he and his parents traveled by train to visit Roscommon when he was a child. “It was the only way they could get here from Saginaw,” he said.
According to Garlo, the railroad continued to serve Roscommon until 1969, when the depot was torn down. She said she has talked to several residents who lived in the village at that time, and none of them understand why the depot was torn down. Nonetheless, she said she is glad the sign is now around so current residents can get a better understanding of the depot’s importance.

“It is an integral part of our history,” she said.