'Virgil Voices' seeks to save town's history

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Home is where the heart is, and for members of the Virgil Restoration Committee, home is the little settlement near Huron that was once bustling with businesses.

“When you’ve got a heart for a place, you just can’t deny that,” said Julie Fritzsche, who is among committee members. “Our parents and aunts and uncles graduated from high school there. They always had a reunion, they kind of kept it alive with that. Now those generations are gone or everybody is too old to travel.

“All the time there’s less and less history as we’re losing generations,” she said. “All of us on the committee have had something to do with Virgil our whole life. We’re worried about this historical information disappearing forever. It’s a concern for people that love history. We’re trying to reach out and save what we can.”

The committee, made up of people who grew up in Virgil or whose parents and grandparents lived in Virgil, has had two meetings so far. They will meet again at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 26, at the Virgil Legion Hall. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

They’re also working on establishing a Facebook page, Virgil Voices, where people can post comments and pictures.

Fritzsche said they are looking for stories, pictures and other memorabilia of the small community, which boasted a population of nearly 300 in the early 1900s and a main street filled with businesses.

“We really haven’t decided what we’re going to do with all of this, it’s morphing,” she added. “Every time we have a meeting it morphs. We have different visions of where we want it to go. For right now, we’re trying to get information as much as we can – where buildings were located, all the businesses that have been there over the years.

“These little towns were just bustling places at one time with elevators and hotels that were there,” Fritzsche said. “They used to have a newspaper. My grandparents had their honeymoon in a hotel in Virgil.”

The town once boasted hotels, banks, gas stations, and three churches – Methodist, Lutheran and German Reformed.

“The Methodist Church is still there today, and an American Legion,” Fritzsche said. “At one time, there was everything, just like all towns have.”

Virgil, which has a population of 26 today (that’s up 10 residents from the 2010 census), was established in the early 1880s and named after the ancient Roman poet, Virgil.

“We’ve only had two meetings and our next meeting is at the end of this month,” Fritzsche said. “The Facebook page is a biggie for us. We just can’t lose this history.”