ROGERS CITY - Elementary students have made their contribution to a landmark honoring 100 years of limestone quarrying at Calcite.
Third- through fifth-graders in Rogers City Elementary School colored 120 tiles for a landmark to be built in Lakeside Park, Anne Belanger said. They did so under the direction of Guy Adamec, a ceramics instructor at Flint Institute of Arts, as well as four retired art teachers. Each student drew something representative of operations at the limestone quarry that has played such a huge role in the city's past and present.
"Some of the kids started back in lumbering days, one young boy painted logs," she said. "They covered the entire scope of 100 years. Some did freighters, some did big front-end loaders."
Some students went even farther, all the way back to the Devonian era, Belanger said. A few painted fossils left behind from the warm-water sea that covered the area 350 million years ago. One girl painted a fish that swam the waters in that era.
"It was just unbelievable," she said.
To give the students inspiration, they were taken on a tour of the quarry and shown "A Century in Stone," a documentary highlighting the quarry's history, Adamec said.
"A popular thing was the freighters, especially the Carl D. Bradley," he said. "One boy said, 'My grandpa was on that, he died on that boat.' So it's real to them."
The tiles will be an integral part of the landmark, which is set to consist of a central wall with two wing walls branching out from it, Adamec said. The tiles will be set into the wall, and since it'll be exposed to the harsh elements, he'll do a high-temperature firing of the tiles. Now, the city will build footings for the wall, and the project should be completed by July.
Involving the students was important not only because it involves more of the community in this project, but because so many of them are connected to the quarry or the freighters that ship the limestone, Adamec said. When he asked the students if they knew someone who worked at the quarry or on the freighters, all but a few raised their hands.
It also gave them a chance to make a lasting impact on the project, Adamec said.
"The kids got to sign their names on their tile," he said. "I told them, 'You'll be able to bring your parents to see your names on the wall, and you'll be able to take your kids ... so you need to do a good job. And the kids take it pretty seriously."
The project is also in need of donations from the public, Belanger said. Anyone interested can contact her at the Presque Isle District Library in Rogers City at 734-2477.