Mini-golf tournament raises the roofTwo of Superior’s hidden gems are teaming up to provide a family-friendly outing Monday night.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Two of Superior’s hidden gems are teaming up to provide a family-friendly outing Monday night.
Everyone is invited to stop by Captain J’s Mini Golf on Barker’s Island from 5-8 p.m. to shoot 18 holes of golf on the colorful course, enjoy supper and climb onto a 1940s Mack fire truck. The event is a fundraiser to repair the roof of the Old Firehouse & Police Museum, nestled in the city’s East End. Cost for a round of golf and supper — a hot dog, pop and bag of chips — is only $6.50. Children age 5 and under play for free.
Superior Firefighter Suzi Olson has tackled the mini-golf course a number of times. Hole number 16, nicknamed the volcano, has been her nemisis. Although Olson got a hole-in-one there once, the flat-topped hill is her bane.
“I just take a 7 and move on,” the firefighter said.
The course is easy for children to wander through and handicap accessible, with a combination of both easy and difficult shots.
“This is one of the best-kept secrets in Superior,” said Captain J’s co-owner Russ Port.
The same can be said of the Old Firehouse & Police Museum.
“I think very few people outside East End know it exists,” said Olson, who remembers attending annual Fire Musters at the hall, which was built in 1898.
“I don’t think people realize what a neat place it is,” said Denise McDonald, events coordinator for Superior Public Museums, which oversees the Old Firehouse & Police Museum, Fairlawn Mansion and the SS Meteor whaleback museum.
In an attempt to get more people to visit the museum, Superior Public Museums waived admission fees last year. The number of visitors tripled — from 700 in 2009 to approximately 2,100 in 2010.
“It’s still free,” McDonald said. That can be especially helpful for school groups that visit the museum each year, she said.
With no admission people have few excuses to bypass the historic site.
“Start using the resource,” Olson said. “Come see us more often.”
She and fellow firefighters Chris Opheim and Dave Johnson are among the volunteers who take the time to do maintenance work at the museum — from repainting walls and repairing the shed to tuning up the engine on the 1944 LT Mack fire truck.
“We want to keep it open and we don’t want it to go away,” McDonald said.
For Olson, the connection to the hall is personal.
“My dad worked here for many years,” she said. “He’s still here.” Her father, Bob Potter Jr., was named to the State of Wisconsin Fire & Police Hall of Fame, which is housed at the site.
“This is the last one of the turn-of-the-century fire halls,” Opheim said. It houses five rigs that fought fires in Superior, ranging the entire spectrum from horse-drawn and steam-powered to gas engines. The trove inside the building at 402 23rd Ave. E. includes firefighting equipment through the decades, examples of old alarm systems and a new police exhibit. Guided tours can be arranged so firefighters can be on hand to answer questions. Olson said the questions she fields most often are about current firefighting methods and how long women have been on the department.
Opheim can tell visitors about the vital role fire dogs played and why, long ago, firefighters had to be 5 feet 10 inches or taller. Most youth are sad to hear that firefighters don’t slide down poles anymore, Olson said.
A rubber roof was put on the building 10 years ago. A recent inspection showed that the roof was holding up well, but the seams were in disrepair. It will cost an estimated $2,500 to fix the seams, Opheim said, but with the repairs the roof can last another 15 to 20 years. If more money is raised, it will go toward new child-friendly exhibits at the museum and air duct work.
McDonald contacted Port about holding the event on Barker’s Island. He signed on board right away, she said.
“I’m more than willing to work with (them),” Port said.
And there is still time for other businesses to sponsor holes. Volunteers are always needed to help maintain the building and its exhibits as well.
“Come out and support a good thing,” McDonald said.