This all occurred after attending Jimmy Carter’s Sunday School Class on May 5th with our friends Dave and Sue Hall. I answered the Challenge at that Service to do something good when we returned home. I sold the Pot Belly Stove at a discounted price and felt this would be my good deed. I have copied a letter telling the story to my family. The Builder doing the renovation sent me a letter on Father’s Day telling me the stove was installed. Deb and I followed this up with a visit to the Church and it is located about a block and 1/2 from where my Dad had his life saving lung surgery! Praise be God!

“Dear Family,

I have another once in a lifetime story to tell you all about. I have attached a picture of a Pot Belly Stove that Dad had stored in the barn for years. I am not sure, but it seems that he got it from the Train Depot in Suttons Bay, MI when he lost his job there and they closed up. At least this is what I remember him telling me when I was a kid growing up.

I got married to Deb in 1973. Jim was born in 1974 and Dad had lung surgery that year. In and about 1977, I was working at Wickes Lumber and we had purchased our house on Meadow Drive in Beacon Hills subdivision. I had started to finish off the basement and remember I was at Dad and Mom’s place doing some work for them and Dad said that he was going to try to sell the Pot Belly Stove at a yard sale they were going to have. I asked Dad if I could have it but wasn’t sure if I had the extra cash to buy it as money was tight for us then. It was tight for Mom and Dad at that time too and that is why he wanted to sell it and some other things. He said he needed the money to get the house exterior painted as it was starting to peel quite a bit. We worked out a deal where he would give me the Pot Belly Stove if I painted the exterior of the house. I wanted to install the stove in the basement.

Well, I painted the house and all the trim and hauled the Pot Belly Stove home and installed it in the basement of our home near Silver Lake. We heated the basement for several years with it and then I got transferred with Wickes to Grand Rapids. Long story short, I disconnected the stove and we hauled it there and then every move since then. When we sold our Home on Haaland Rd., I stored it in the attic of the garage at our place in Gaylord. I handled this stove so many times over the years I knew it like a family member.

Deb and I started to move stuff we have stored in Gaylord for over 13 years since we sold the house on Haaland Rd. I started running adds on CL. The Pot Belly Stove was one of those items. Without going through all the details, Dad’s Pot Belly Stove has now found a new and permanent home. it is going to be installed, not used to heat with, but be part of a reconstruction project in Petoskey, MI. The new home for the stove is the oldest structure still standing and being reconstructed in Emmet County.

The restoration project is a Michigan Historical and Cultural landmark—“The Little Indian Church Down by the Water”. It is also know as St. Francis Solanus Indian Church and Burial Ground built in 1859 on the shore of Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey by the mouth of the Bear River. The church was blessed by Bishop Frederic Baraga in 1860.

So, Dad’s old Pot Belly Stove will be installed near the vestibule in this church for all to see as the church will be open for tours and will have services every July 14 on the feast day of St. Francis Solanus and St. Kateri Tekwitha!

I am so happy for this! It was a match made in heaven I told the carpenter who is doing the restoration. He has been looking for a 1936 Beauty #17 Stove made in Owasso, MI for 5 or 6 years. The church is being restored to it’s 1936 version as it had undergone several remodels over the years.

I wanted to share this with all of you! Bob ps. I am sure Dad and Mom too are smiling down on all of this.”