Amy Jo Kinyon
Participants will have the chance next weekend to explore the Gothic Mill in Bellevue up close. The event is a fundraiser to support the development of a Mastadon Museum downtown, which will house the bones of the beast, which were unearthed by Dan LaPoint Jr. and his neighbor Eric Witzke in November of 2014.
In total, more than 40 pieces from the animal were found, including hip, leg and rib bones along with vertebrae.
Village Manager Travis Brininstool and the Bellevue Downtown Development Authority are working to create a space to display the bones of the creature, an ancestor of today’s elephant.
Brininstool said there are just five tickets available for the Saturday night festivities and Friday night is already sold out. A silent auction, 50/50 raffle, tour of the museum site and full dinner at the mill location are all part of the event.
Brininstool explained that prep work for the event is taking place and the final details are coming into place.
“The DDA Board and the Stockhausen’s are working hard to get everything in place and we are looking forward to two great evenings,” commented Brininstool.
Donations for the museum and preservation of the bones have already totaled $2,000 and the groups are hopeful that the event will raise $3,000 more, allowing two matching fund donations to be utilized. Brininstool said that while the DDA is very supportive of these efforts, no tax dollars will be used to create the museum. He estimates that around $4,000 is needed each year for the operation of the museum and would like to see at least two years of expenses raised before opening the doors.
Along with the museum, Brininstool is hopeful that the bones will usher in new collaborations between the historical society and Stockhausen family. The creation of all-day field trips for classrooms that will share the history of not only the bones, but also the community have been discussed.
For more information on the event, visit BellevueMI.net.