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Mansfield volunteers stay busy

Volunteers Pat Dishaw (left) and Sharon Nickels were part of the spring cleaning crew at the Mansfield Pioneer Church. (submitted photo)

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Volunteers from the Mansfield Memories Committee recently prepared the church for spring and summer while strictly maintaining all social distancing guidelines in the process, said Shirley Beck of the committee.
    Beck said the first order of business was to remove the Christmas decorations which included taking down the real balsam fir Christmas tree which hardly dropped a needle even while being carried outside. In place of the poinsettias, nativity set and Christmas bows, more seasonally appropriate spring flowers were placed in the windows and on the arches. The homemade lectern was freshened up and returned to its place front and center in the church. Outside decorating will continue later but the shrubs and flowers were given a good dose of deer repellent with hopes that our wildlife neighbors will find an alternative to munch on.
    Mansfield’s Pioneer Church is a replica of the only church ever to have existed in Mansfield. It was built in the 1980s by many helping hands and coordinated through the local historical society, Mansfield Memories. Prior to the Mansfield Mine cave-in of 1893 and the forest fire of 1894, the area was a thriving community. However, with these two tragedies the village of Mansfield was wiped out before its time. The church, which also served as a temperance hall, fell into disrepair and remained so until the idea to reconstruct was born. The church was rebuilt much as it had been so many years ago and is a log structure.
    Mansfield Memories sponsors two nondenominational services each year - one in the summer and one during the Christmas season.  The church has no electricity, so the services take on an old-fashioned sense of a time gone by. Since opening, this little church has hosted many weddings, christenings, and memorial services as well.  The church is available to rent by contacting Sharon Nickels at snickels@up.net or calling 875-6098. In addition, Mansfield Memories, which owns and operates the church, are a designated 501c3 status organization.  This means that any donations made can be claimed as such on tax returns.
    The church is part of Iron County’s Heritage Trail network and welcomes visitors.  Take some time to tour the little building or sit on the wooden benches for prayer or meditation.
    Directions to Mansfield’s historical district are to turn north onto the Mansfield Cut-Off Road (about 4 miles east of Crystal Falls or about 6 miles west of Sagola) and travel until the fork in the road at the mine pit. From there turn onto Stream Road and travel approximately one-half mile to arrive at the church site.