Three Bessemer organizations celebrate centennial with open house

BESSEMER, Mich. (WLUC) - Three organizations that have helped shaped the town of Bessemer celebrated their centennial Thursday.

The Bessemer Women's Club, Washington Elementary School, and the American Legion Post 27 celebrated with an open house at the Bessemer City Hall. People young and old were able to learn more about the organizations, and reflect on the history of the town.

"We're thrilled that we were able to collaborate with two other great organizations that have given back so much to our community," said Kathy Whitburn, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 27.

The organizations were all founded in 1919. Back then, Bessemer was a young mining town, just thirty years old. The women of the town, helped contribute to Bessemer’s growth.

"They were activists of their time, supporting the area through various activities, making social and civic changes,” said Susan Abelman, president of the Bessemer Women’s Club. “We are proud to be carrying on their work today."

American Legion Post 27 is as old as the national organization itself, helping local veterans in every major American conflict since World War I.

"Everything that our post and our unit does is to help support those veterans in our community and service members that have been assigned," said Whitburn.

Washington Elementary prides themselves on great test scores annually, and a community that never fails to support them.

"Our community supported the school district in passing a bond referendum and we're now able to do some necessary repairs,” said David Wineburner, superintendent for the Bessemer Area School District. “A 100 year old building needs some fixes and the community is supportive of that."

These organizations have meant so much to Bessemer for the past 100 years, and that relationship was celebrated Thursday.

"The community supports our group by coming to our functions and helping us raise money to then be distributed to other places," said Abelman.

Even during their own celebration, the groups were still giving back, taking time to write 100 letters to send to active duty soldiers deployed overseas, thanking them for their service.

"That's what it's about, bringing us together, celebrating our accomplishments, and that's what things like this accomplish," said Wineburner.

These groups, and the community are all looking forward to another hundred years.

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