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Beautification at Chapin Pit

September 29, 2012
By LISA M. HOFFMANN - Staff Writer , The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - Construction began this week on the structure that will pay tribute to the mining that took place at the Chapin Pit. The structure will also serve as a picnic area for residents.

The Lilja Trust Fund, an endowment left to the people of Iron Mountain for beautification of the city, is making this project possible.

Ruth Larson, trustee of the Lilja Trust Fund, said the structure is a silhouette of the entrance of a mine shaft.

Article Photos

Eric St. John of Smith Metal Structures works on the picnic area shelter structure at the Chapin Pit picnic area. The sculpture was an endowment from the Lilja Trust Fund and is a silhouette of a mine shaft, a tribute to the historic iron mining that took place in the area.

"It is just a free form of that nature. Residents can sit underneath and have some shade. It really is more just to show people what a mine shaft looks like," she said. "It is just that, to bring the historic mining theme out at the site where it was."

The structure is located near Hardee's Restaurant at the East Chapin Pit in Iron Mountain along U.S. 2.

Smith Metal Structures is constructing the silhouette.

City of Iron Mountain personnel have assisted with State of Michigan safety rules and regulations and locating water pipes installed long ago. A project of this magnitude has taken the cooperation of many individuals.

Historic mining artifacts will be added as the project progresses.

Larson said the project will be completed this fall.

"At that time, we may have a little party on the site," she said. "We anticipate this site being an addition for visitors, former residents and our local population to visit. Benches and picnic tables are available for you to enjoy lunch and a pleasant hike on the adjacent walking trail."

In the more distant future, a full size miner may be constructed at the site, as well as other improvements around the Chapin Pit area.

A member of the trust fund would like to the see the miner constructed with a pasty on its shovel.

Miners packed hot pasties and then ate them for lunch.

The project is to alert the public that mining use to take place at the Chapin Mine, now known as the Chapin Pit.

No tax payer money is being used for this project.

The Lilja Trust Fund was established by Madge Lilja.

Since its inception, the Lilja Trust has funded more than $200,000 in beautification projects in Iron Mountain including restoring the fountain at Cemetery Park, the statue at the south side of the Dickinson County Library; the sign, watering system, and landscaping at the entrance and exit of the City Park; many landscaping enhancements of the Iron Mountain schools including the concrete containers and benches; the maple trees on the Eastside playground; the lights for the Northside ball field; and currently the Chapin Pit cleanup and landscaping.

The Lilja Trust is also a major contributor at the bat cave walking trail.

Iron Mountain residents and trustees of the Lilja Trust Fund are Larson, Al Mendini and Chairman Marsha Bonicatto.

Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is



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