Jan. 16, 1970

A building which has served in an industrial capacity in Evart for nearly 70 years was gutted by fire Wednesday afternoon, knocking one American Logging Tool Corp. department out of operation. The firm has been located in Evart for 90 years. The building which burned is across the block in back of the main buildings and housed the handle turning department. It served as a lathe room for cant hook and peavey handles. The two-man crew had run out of material about 15 minutes before the fire broke out and left the building to go to a shed for more. While they were gone, according to plant superintendent Ralph Roberts, it is believed an electrical short caused a small explosion, setting off the flash fire which quickly engulfed the building in flames. By the time Evart Volunteer Fire Department and company men could respond to the alarm, it was impossible to get near the building to save any of the equipment. Roberts said insurance investigators were probing the debris Thursday afternoon in an effort to determine the exact cause and origination of the fire. The 20 by 145 foot wooden building is believed to have been constructed early in the 1900s. Machinery housed inside and used in the lathe operations were of antique vintage but still capable of turning out quality products. Roberts said a modern machine to replace the older main machine in the burned building would cost about $15,000. He said Wednesday’s fire put an end to the handle turning department operation, probably for up to six months or at least until a new building could be erected. He did not know company officials’ plans for future facilities and they had not arrived in Evart by Thursday noon. Roberts said he had been told it would be necessary for the firm to purchase handles from competitors to permit filling orders, at least for the time being.

Jan. 16, 1995

Being turned down for a state grant hasn’t slowed enthusiasm for the CASA/WISE athletic complex project. The proposed project to build several baseball, softball and soccer fields and an ice rink will not receive a $225,000 grant applied for through the Department of Natural Resources. But the Cadillac All-Sports Association and Wexford Ice Skating Enterprises still want to make the project work. “It’s going to happen, no doubt about it,‘ said Jim Byrne, a member of the CASA/WISE committee. “It’s just a matter of timing. We have been working on this about 14 months. It’s going a little slower than we hoped, but it will happen.‘ The cost of the CASA/WISE project was originally estimated at $1.5 million. The Cadillac Rotary Club spearheaded the project by raising about $35,000 at its annual auction and dinner last year. The grant would have added to the momentum. “The project is moving along,‘ said John Horrigan, another committee member. “The DNR grant would have been nice, but we are optimistic we can raise the funds.‘ CASA/WISE and the school district have been discussing joining resources. The Cadillac Area Public School district is seeking a 5.5 mill bond issue Feb. 14 which includes building baseball and softball fields. Horrigan believes it is only natural to combine projects. “There are a lot of benefits,‘ Horrigan said. “There are a lot of things both need. There is no need to duplicate them. Why not combine the projects?‘ Committee member John Buckley said the committee estimated CASA/WISE and the school district would duplicate $600,000 of work. “If we work with the district on some sort of design plan it would mean a real savings to the local community,‘ Buckley said. If the bond issue passes and the CASA/WISE project is completed, the schools and CASA/WISE would probably share a parking lot, baseball, softball and soccer fields at the proposed new high school location, the CASA/WISE backers said. An ice rink may or may not be located at the same facility.

Cadillac News