Search for gold keeps springing up

This attempt to find Mine Centre for you is not easy because that gold mining village keeps on disappearing and re-appearing again!
I could be contributing to your confusion, so let’s just say it is located slightly more than 40 miles east of here—and close to the spot my family called home back in the “Dirty Thirties.”
There are now at least two “old Mine Centres,” one being south of the present community. This has replaced the railroad village I knew because the passenger trains don’t stop there anymore.
Its two stores, hotel and dance hall, and boarding house of the past are all but forgotten, along with railroad workers’ homes and the start of a fairly promising town.
Today, there is a large group of new homes a couple of miles to the east and it’s doubtful whether those residents ever knew the original two Mine Centres. These late-comers quite possibly had little interest in mining although prospectors have been invading that area lately.
When Zelma Howarth taught school up there in her youth, it was across Shoal and Bad Vermilion lakes at the Foley mine site, which became the first old Mine Centre before everyone moved to the railroad and later abandoned that site, too.
But, hey, that last Mine Centre was a great place to grow up in, as I will testify. We had a marvelous teacher in a one-room school which still stands, but has been a dance hall lately. The present school children stands next to the new highway bringing traffic from the east.
It’s a long hike from there to the Mennonite village which you might call the third Mine Centre. Prospectors I am acquainted with have roamed around that region, criss-crossing for fresh claims and persistently for several years because their determination to revive gold mining is starting to resemble the excitement of previous generations.
Gold prices keep mounting—along with their hopes!
The entire region held a series of gold mines across a 25- or 30-mile distance, considering the Foley on Shoal lake, the Golden Star and Paccito’s mine on Bad Vermilion Lake (called the Verlac today), and Olive eastward, were all producers in the ’30s.
At that time, the price of gold was pegged at $40 per ounce, compared to more than $525 today, but still men made careers and sometimes fortunes as mine owners and developers. Every mine site once was ringed by bunkhouses and cook shacks, as well as the manager’s homes, where today at all of the old mine sites where may be only an assayer’s office where rock samples are examined again.
Or promising sites are gone over interminably yet by companies, Canadian or U.S., backed by their banks, sometimes in Europe. And governments offer grants to prospectors.
So Mine Centre will keep on springing up afresh with every gold price increase because it has proved it can produce the coveted product and the legends survive the passing of yet another generation.
Hope springs eternally, as in the time-worn saying which fits Mine Centre—and probably always will!
• • •
Now our amazing Dorfo (Dorf) Coran is gone.
Those who grew up around him on Third Street East began considering him indestructible when he did everything with other boys after losing one arm, a leg, and partial fingers on the remaining hand while hopping on boxcars at the railroad behind his home.
Few will understand how he survived at all, and also how he never let it stop him from doing everything other boys did.
Dorf went ahead with his schooling and even played baseball on the street by cradling the bat in his shortened arm. Later, he won admiration for his art work and handicrafts—and little was beyond his abilities.
One time he operated a small grocery at International Falls.
He also trained a dog to pull his sled along with two chums with similar dogs, Bronc Depiero and my late brother-in-law, Kenneth Shortreed. He went miles every winter after Christmas trees. He drove his car around town or whenever he decided to travel.
Dorf survived his parents and two of three brothers of that quite large Italian family. There also were three sisters, all very proud of Dorf’s versatility and determination.
• • •
The Bruyere name stays among us, with one of Rod Bruyere’s brothers recalling when Rod made up a great baseball team entirely with his own nine sons.
He also recalled when Tim Horton was the name of the Manitou Rapids reserve chief long before the popular restaurant of that same name came to town and has been filled completely almost every day since.
• • •
Lynette Zurk, daughter of the late Frank Peloquin, arrived from Manitoba to visit her mother, Georgina, who spent the Christmas holidays in hospital here.
• • •
I am awaiting new strings for a gift guitar from my grandson, Jordan Vandetti, who has been home between appearances with three other Fort Frances bandmates whose entertainment has been well-received around Vancouver.
No, I do not intend to join them out there because they already have at least one vocalist. Still, my own singing surprises my sister-in-law, Gail Madill in Winnipeg, because I actually can remember most of the words for several score of old songs_country, cowboy or romantic.
• • •
Anyone deciding to review Mine Centre history might want to begin by interviewing Marilyn Bell, who can spin stories by the hour around not merely the gold mining days but also the start of tourism in that area.
Marilyn, who is Mrs. Ivan Bell, is a granddaughter of George Mudge Sr., a resort founder at Seine River, south of Mine Centre.
She attended a one-room school at Mine Centre where I went for two years and our teacher, Fanny McKenzie, became a legend.
• • •
Frank Ball Jr. recalls using a rowboat to salvage pulpwood below the former Ball farm on River Road when the local dam had broken and a large boom of logs floated downstream.
The Ball farm was a mile from my own riverside farm.
• • •
The first and only political knock on my door in this past election was by an NDP representative seeking votes while the older parties may not have to work so hard at it!
• • •
Another Fort Frances hockey figure has risen to the top of U.S. college hockey as Bruce McLeod becomes a new commissioner. He joins several formerly local pucksters really “up there!”

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