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First open house at River Bluffs History Center

Pierce County Historical Association photo.

The year's first open house at the River Bluffs History Center in Bay City, operated by the Pierce County Historical Association will take place this weekend June 8-9, Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

Watch for signs on the highway in Bay City pointing the way to the center located at W6321 E. Main Street. (one block south of Highway 35 and one block east of Wabash Street)

The rural way of life is fast disappearing across much of America. This is quite true in Pierce County due to its close proximity to the metropolitan sprawl of the Twin Cities.

At one time, not much more than 60 years ago, this wasn't true. Country churches were more widely scattered across the county, be they Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Congregational, Episcopalian, Swedish Covenant or whatever.

The same can be said for the many one-room country schools found in every single one of the 17 towns, numbering from only a few to as many as seven.

Churches/congregations were formed in the 1850s and country schools were established close to the same period. Each was a center of community life and cultural and religious activity, as well as educational. Each filled a key role in the lives of the residents surrounding them. They provided so many needed things to life and society, and were nearby to the people they served--schools in particular were located no more than two-to-three miles away.

To that end, the PCHA is featuring the country churches and rural schools this year in its exhibit at the River Bluffs History Center in Bay City.

Historical photos and artifacts related to both as well as historical data will be available for the visitor--anything that can be found related to churches and schools will be made available.

And residents of Pierce County are really encouraged to visit the history center. There is also the Conlin Log Cabin on the grounds that is open and furnished. There is no charge to visit, although donations are gladly accepted.

A good deal of effort is involved in these annual changes in the exhibit.

They are changed purposely so each year the public finds something new to learn about Pierce County.

Come on down to Bay City.

Other open house dates for the summer are July 13 and 14; Aug. 3 and 4; Sept. 14 and 15. And the annual autumn open house takes place on Oct. 6, with speaker, music and the quilt raffle winner's name being drawn.