Editors note: The following essay was written by Bevier student Antonio Prokup following the early Thursday morning fire that destroyed the Pear Tree Restaurant and Bevier Black Diamond Museum Building. Antonio is the son of Jamie & Janet Prokup of Bevier.
Ashes in my church have significant meaning and today, November 29, 2012 ashes signify the loss for some in my home of Bevier, of a dear friend. To most it was the loss of a building but to some much, much more.
Today the Black Diamond building is gone. A terrible fire raced through the structure taking 21 years of restoration with it. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the loss very much felt by the citizens of this small community.
For years citizens of this close knit town have worked tirelessly to preserve a piece of history. Fundraising for the Black Diamond restoration was as annual as the Bevier Homecoming. And little by little, their efforts were noticed. Beautifully carved beams exposed, roof repaired, windows replaced, brick walls secured and floors refinished. Parties, wedding receptions, reunions etc. have found happiness within these walls. Happiness of course, but I have seen pride as well, in the eyes of the people when walking through the door of this magnificent building. Only pride can bring people together to accomplish so much. And pride is what will remain.
When I looked at the destroyed building this morning all I could see were visions of activities that used to surround that building. Christmas is a time when activity was great. Decorations placed in the huge wonderful windows was something I looked forward to each year. The decorations seemed to make the old building breathe again of the life it must have felt daily.
If I feel such sadness, I can only imagine what the citizens of Bevier older than me must be feeling. I heard today that many citizens were at the fire last night trying to desperately save the historical items from the burning building. When I picture that, I am filled with honor to live in this town. Knowing that the building was in danger, many risked harm to themselves to save as much as they could. I'm sure each of them were thinking of their special memories of this building as they faced the heat and raced against time.
Now all that is left is ashes and of course memories. What has not burned with the building is our pride. Somehow, someway, we, the citizens of Bevier will not let this devastate our future. Bevier has always been a community of strong traditions and the people of our town will carry on with those same traditions.
Traditions in Bevier are expressed most this time of year. Take a stroll down main street. Yes, there is a blank spot, but look around our lights are still glowing! Especially the train. I feel the pride of Bevier oozing from every Christmas light on our beloved train.
Page 2 of 2 - We will rise again from the ashes!