The Moose Lake Area Historical Society's 94th Commemoration of the 1918 Fires was held October 13 at the Depot and Fires of 1918 Museum Annex. Ross Anderson read the memorials while Natalie Frohrip lit candles celebrating each life lost in the fire.
A feature of the event was the showing of a film created by two Moose Lake High School students who belong to the school's History Club. The very successful History Club was started by history teacher Becky Jackson three years ago. Frohrip, president of the Historical Society, has been a resource for the History Club.
The film, "A Burning Rebirth," was created by Lauren Ross and Leah Westmoreland. The film won an honorable mention at the State competition. As Ross was unable to attend the commemoration, Nicole Tekippe attended in her place. The film was narrated by Ross and gave a succinct description of the fire and the devastating impact on the local area of Moose Lake.
After the film, Joe Mogen read an account of the fire from documents from Helen Peterson. The documents were found after the death of Peterson. It was a moving account of the survival of her family during the fire. The day was described as very hot and dry. The entire Peterson family was home that day. As the first signs of the approaching fire were visible, the parents had everyone fill as many buckets with water as they could carry into the recently plowed potato field. The family huddled in the middle of the field and the farm animals clustered around them. A cousin who had been visiting the family said he was going to go into Barnum. The family tried to persuade him to stay, but he persisted. His body was found the next day.
History is an important part of the area. The Depot and Fires of 1918 Museum in Moose Lake has much of that community history on display.
At the end of the program, Frohrip shared that the Lund family had just donated a pump organ that survived the fire.