Pottsville 7 put in the hours, host auction

POTTSVILLE — The Pottsville Seven mirror the days of yore as they restore East Shoshone or Pottsville Park to its original beauty, similar to when the Mullan Masonic Lodge first cleared up the swampland and built the park.

The seven (Ron Hayes, Bud Koski, Jim See, Sam Davis, Mitch Alexander, Kjell Truesdell and Nick Hogamier), with the help of the Shoshone Board of County Commissioners and the United States Forest Service, have completed many projects in the summer of 2022. For example, under the direction of Truesdell, volunteers completed a total of 137 labor hours, including repairing gates, cutting up numerous blowdowns, reconditioning large grills and installing new small grills.

Two horseshoe pits are currently being worked on, and the addition of an extra set of pits is planned. The pit frames are being completed off-site and will be installed in the spring of 2023.

Ron Hayes, his wife, Sue and daughter Kelli spent time at Pottsville staining the picnic tables and benches around the east shelter and throughout the park to the west shelter after the tables were power washed and reconditioned with stain provided by the U.S. Forest Service, taking 38 hours to complete.

The prior work done was reported in the Mullan News in July 1937, “The Mullan Masonic Lodge started the project and did the greatest amount of work on it. This park was formerly just a swampland called Pottsville Flats until the Masons drained the land and built two rustic bridges over the streams that ran through and converged west of the park. They had a brick-layer lay plan for the fireplace that was only recently destroyed.”

The article continues to explain that in 1930, Archie McPhail, Foster Gribble, H. J. Hull and Mike Bottinelli “met in Hull’s office in Wallace for a preliminary meeting to organize the Shoshone Park Association, which then took over the work.”

The Shoshone Park Association built the rock water fountain, later making it possible for “the C.C.C. boys to take over the general upkeep of the grounds and make it what it is today…The C.C.C. boys also made fireplaces in the three huts they built as well as spreading them here and there throughout the park.” The C.C.C. boys refer to the Civilian Conservation Corps, enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Federal Unemployment Relief Act in 1933.

Just like in the present day, the United States Forest Service supplied men and equipment “to carry out the planned improvements on the park.”

Since the seven started this passion project, public support and interest have been impressive. Bud Koski issued a challenge to local community members to donate $100; the seven have collected $28,820, with donations ranging from $50 to $5,000 with 89 supporters.

The cost of the significant improvements, such as the West Kitchen reconstruction, the installation of a new bridge and the refurbishment of the cabin, are considerable. In collaboration with the Mullan Community Foundation, the Seven plans to apply for grants this coming year to meet some of those costs.

“The show of public supports really helps in securing grants,” said Jim See.

To assist with funds, The Pottsville Seven is planning a fundraising auction on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Wallace Elks with the auctioneer, Darren Arave. The cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m., with a live auction scheduled for 7 p.m. and a silent auction. Auctioned items will include a brewery gift basket, ski passes, restaurant certificates, golf packages, home furnishings, a rifle, motel rooms and two pistols.

Shoshone Park (Pottsville Park) is open to picnickers year-round. The east kitchen can be reserved online. Anyone who would like to donate to the project can do so at Mullan Community Foundation, P.O. Box 472, Mullan, ID 83846, with the notation Pottsville Park.