End of Year report
Gil closed out 2011 assembling new displays inside
and outside, building a couple of lean-to's to further
protect outside artifacts, and doing more restoration.
Repeat visitors notice and appreciate the improvements.
We had around 12,000 visitors; all 50 states, 44
countries, and six Canadian provinces. International
visitation dropped off by late fall due to the weak Euro.
Best newspaper award of 2011 goes to
Daily InterLake
and reporter
Candace Chase
for her
front page coverage plus more, of our Pearl Harbor
exhibit and our free admission day commemorating the
anniversary of that fateful "day that will live in
infamy." Candace amazingly wove other parts of our
military section into her insightful, and inspired story.
We had 86 visitors on Dec. 7
. Many of the younger
generation haven't been taught history. This display is
important to pay tribute to our veterans and as a warning
that America still has enemies (some even within our
borders) who want to destroy America.
We have formed this display on a very small budget.
Visitors who have also visited the government-supported
Pearl Harbor memorial have remarked that ours has
"more feeling, meaning, and personality."
Why not "Remember your Posterity" by donating or
willing a portion of your estate to the endowment fund
of the Miracle of America Museum?
Please forgive us for deciding to forego the 4
quarter, 2011 Newsletter. Joanne stayed over two
months with our daughter Cathleen in Orem, Utah,
to be just a few minutes away from medical
specialists. Her heart operation went well, and a new
aortic valve was installed through an artery. Her
body wouldn't have been able to withstand the
standard open heart surgery done in Montana. In
spite of anxiety and all the pre-testing, her stay was
made enjoyable by visiting several grand and great
grandchildren as well as our son, Ron who flew in
from Louisiana for a week. We thank you all for
your prayers, food supplied Gil, receptionist help,
Our visitation this quarter has been very
respectable. As of February 22, we have had visitors
from 18 states and eight International countries.
Although we have a great variety, the raise in power
and heating oil means we need greater visitation.
Hopefully it will pick up after the thaw.
New year begins with respectable visitation; restored health
Executive Board of Directors
Gil Mangels, President
Cathleen Wilde, VP; Mel Adams, VP
Nancy Pray, Secretary
Joanne Mangels, Treasurer
Gracia Normandeau Jones
Kendall Dupuis Mike Maddy
Stan Cohen Ned Wilde
Advisory Board of Directors
Jim Pomajevich
Are YOU interested in serving?
A Non-Profit 501(c) (3) Corporation 81-0437386
36094 Memory Lane Polson, MT 59860 406-883-6804
February 2012
Ramona Holt of the Holt Museum in Lolo donated
this nicely-preserved Glacier Park pennant from
the 1930s
Cory Allen -
beautiful 5 gal. H. Earl Clack, (Havre)
kerosene can, circa 1930's
WWII military metal
shipping container;
American Legion
- card table advertising early day
Polson businesses;
John Campbell
-Vintage flying or cycling goggles,
leather shotgun case;
Dupuis Lumber Co -
Structural lumber for building
Earl Hanneman
- aluminum cans for antique can
crusher and recycling;
Dottie and Jack Meyerhoff
in memory of
Dr. JL
, donated a spiffy commodore cap from the
1934 Polson Regatta Club; sweet cherry box sticker
and 1940 check blanks from "Station Creek
Showboat Cinema
-1951 movie projector since
theaters have gone digital. They also donated a huge
"Cars 2" poster;
Don Smart
- wooden military shipping container.
Lonnie Haack -
of Sod Buster Sales hauled a huge
diesel engine here. Years ago, Lewis Dielman from
Box Elder offered to loan us the engine of the same
style used on the Paul Bunyan. It was about half the
size, but the same model and configuration. Not
wanting to waste the freight of a 6-7 ton engine that
would only be a "loaner," Gil put it in the back of
his mind. Years passed and Lewis notified Gil that it
would be sold at auction and they would accept a
phone bid. Gil won it for a $100 bid. Finding a
truck or trailer rolling back empty at the precise
time when Lewis' big loader was available took
several more years. Finally, last summer, Lonnie
hauled it here. It is now displayed near the Paul
Bunyan's stern.
Joe Arnold
Carpentry & cement finishing
Jim Burrowes
- Carpentry - foundry building
Jim Eastham
- Museum receptionist
Richard Beauchamp
- making picture frames and
Museum receptionist
Lee & Afton Moss
- Museum receptionists &
inventorying camera collection
Jim Phillips-Glacier Lake Sand & Gravel
fractured rock (rock chips)
Jack Cram Trucking
delivered the rock
Howard Hudson
is top "picker" of the quarter.
Last trip down from Kalispell, he brought 27 new
parade/vehicle American Flags, several cans of useful
spray paint, keyed padlocks, historical papers, etc.
On that note, when you're cleaning out the attic,
basement, garage, or storage shed, let Gil pick it first,
because there might be something useful or
recyclable. Cans or bottles of oil or Prestone can be
used in the old stationary engines, leftover lumber or
nails from a building project often become useful.
Even broken antique toys might be restorable or parts
usable in a restoration project.
Polson, Montana
Newsletter layout courtesy of
Carmine Mowbray of
Gil Gets "Tanked"
Gil's major vehicle fall project has been building a
late 40's-early 50's belly tank racer or "Lakester"
which was the type to set land speed records on the
Bonneville Salt Flats. During WW11 and subsequent
wars, pilots flying long-range missions would carry
extra fuel in tanks under their belly or the wings.
Before going into combat they would drop the empty
In the Pacific Theater, natives loved finding these
and building boats from them. After WW11, hot
rodders used the streamlined aluminum tanks as
bodies for their racers. Speeds of close to 200 mph
were obtained using souped-up Ford or Mercury
flathead V8 engines. Even though it is a tight fit, Gil
enjoys driving it.
Those donating or discounting parts or labor,
include the following:
Jim Beyer, Bishop Sign
Works, Crosier Kinetics, Jerry's Custom Engines,
Art Mangels, Gary McGraw, and Parts Fathers.
The tank was originally purchased by us thanks to the
alertness of Don Smart who spotted it in the back of a
scrap yard.
Built by old school standards, Gil used a Model A
Ford front axle and drilled it and the radius rods to
lighten up the suspension.
Ken Bales
made the 1939
Mercury rear axle affordable.
Beacon Tire
formed the
roll bar
When Gil was growing up on the farm just three
miles south of the museum, his dad purchased a
wrecked 1953 Mercury car to use the engine in a 1951
Ford farm truck. Gil would put on thousands of miles
driving that old truck hauling water, hay bales,
potatoes, grain, or rocks picked from the field.
Last year the truck became a donor
vehicle by giving up its steering box,
battery box, instrument cluster,
radiator, and engine. The engine, -
while still running - was very tired, so
it was completely rebuilt and souped
up with a high-lift cam, balanced
crank, high compression heads, and
extra carburetion. This may be seen on
You Tube under "Polson Lakester."
Gil's belly-tank racer. To see it and
hear it, watch Gil's YouTube video at:
We salute our
Sustaining Members
Philip L. Barney, MD and Sandra
Senator Carmine Mowbray
Henry C. Orr of Gaylord Bros
Bob Skans
Family Members
Richard and Karen Anderson
Katherine Johnson and Richard
Dwight (Pat) and Mary Deyo
John and Toni Erkkila
Paul Fugleberg
Bob and Charlotte Marshall
Larry and Judy Sagers
David and Mary Sergent
Kenneth Soward
Lifetime Member
In keeping with our policy,
Bob Skans
become a Lifetime member by donating $1000
over a several year period. However, he, like
most other
Lifetime Donors
continues to
donate and we are very grateful.
$100 In memory of "Snowshoe Polly"
from "Buckhannon Billy" (her husband,
) the cedar shake hand splitter.
(Already Sustaining Members) "Polly loved
being here on Live History Days, and enjoyed
seeing all the wonderful exhibitors, and
$15.00 in memory of Frank Stolle (The late
Jerry Stolle's father) from
Betty Osterhouse
Upcoming Events:
"A Romp In The Arts" April 21
"Live History Days" July 21 and 22
In spite of the difficult economy and partially
because of it, our Endowment fund needs to be
enlarged. Only the interest income is used each
year and the banks are presently not paying
much. The board is again asking that you please
consider donating the museum 1% to 5% of your
estate to the Miracle of America Museum
endowment fund. If enough folks choose this sort
of gifting it would help insure continued
preservation of our collections and displays for
your posterity to enjoy. If you agree, please
consider discussing this with your estate planner
or lawyer.
Thank you very much for your support
Postage Paid
Polson, MT
Permit #89
Miracle of America Museum
36094 Memory Lane
Polson, MT 59860
Membership to the Miracle of America Museum
is tax-deductible and allows you free admission,
newsletters and 10% discount in our gift shop.
We really appreciate our supporters who
remember to send donations.
A star beside your name on the address label
means this may be the last newsletter you receive
unless we hear from you. If you wish to remain on
our mailing list, please let us know.
Family membership: $25 to $99
Annual Sustaining: $100 to $199
Corporate Sustaining: $200 to $999
Lifetime: $1000 or above