's Totem Pole Tales- Merry Christmas From the heart of the American Wood Rim Co.
Totem Pole Tales- Merry Christmas From the heart of the American Wood Rim Co.,
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook December 13, 2013

   CAPTION: The Albert Ellenberger Lumber Co. Christmas Party 1938.  There are more than 150 faces in this picture. We 
know that Art Akins was Santa, Sis Ellenberger is the little girl on Santa's right.  Looking closer, one can see
a person in a donkey suit, this is Tom Ellenberger.  This picture is from the 1982 Kiwanis paper.
width="600" This week's picture is of 75 years ago, chosen by the Good Helper and I, to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas.
The Albert Ellenberger Sr. family and the Lobdell family have been friends for many years. When the American Wood Rim Co. burned in Onaway and Lobdells moved the business to Alma, Albert Sr. struck a deal to move his family into Ben Lobdell's home and start a used lumber and salvage business in the center of the American Wood Rim ruins. William (Bill), Albert's youngest son, resides in this home today.
This writer has some fond memories of this business. I can remember going there with my Dad to buy trapping wire, roofing tacks and rolled tarpaper for roofing repairs for the outhouse. We also bought chicken wire to make a new chicken pen for my F.F.A. project, of raising chickens.
While looking to buy a bigger crock for making sauerkraut I ended up at the new Ellenberger Lumber Co. Crocks were among some of the items that got left stored at the original lumber company. Sis took me to the old lumber company and we found the crock I needed from a goodly supply left behind.
My next memory is not so good. I was somewhat new on the Onaway Fire Department when it was decided that we would burn the old Albert Ellenberger Lumber Co. for a fire drill. Somehow the entire contents of the building did not get checked too good. With extra lines and equipment in place, the building was torched. Everything went well until some unknown fuel caught on fire. The flames were higher than any objects in several blocks. The black smoke could be seen for miles. Too many miles in fact.
A plane in the Gaylord area caused the Conservation Department to show up on the scene. Chief Hitchcock had some explaining to do. We called it a fire drill, which was legal at this time. Today rules are different. After some serious deliberations the department was not issued a ticket.
I did not realize at that time that a piece of Onaway history went up in flames that evening.
We have high hopes that the remainder of the American Wood Rim Company will be brought back to life and let the world know that we still hold pride in the fact that "Onaway Steered the World."
--Onaway Outlook December 13, 2013 pg. 3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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