What do E.M. Sathre, Francis Spinner Arnold, Elizabeth Ridenour Arnold, Andrew Aubolee, Earle A. Barker and Donna Lycan have in common? All six lived in the Bemidji area in the 1920s. All were significant individuals in the community. And all six are 2019 History Mystery “suspects.”
The Beltrami County Historical Society will hold its sixth annual History Mystery event on New Year’s Eve at the Beltrami County History Center. Dubbed a living Clue game, it invites attendees to solve a fictitious murder at the depot. The “suspects,” portrayed by local actors, will share information about their lives. This year’s actors are Kevin Cease, Judy Dvorak, Sasha Almendinger, Gary Rozman, Terry Holter and DeeJay Arens. Then attendees will attempt to solve the crime to determine who did it, where was the murder committed, and what was the murder weapon. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place and for best costumes.
It all starts with social time, snacks, pizza slices from sponsor Keith’s Pizza, and beverages at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the History Center, which is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Only 75 tickets will be sold. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the decade of the 1920s.
Cecelia McKeig, who has been a part of all six History Mysteries and has provided most of the research and writing about the "suspects," says the event is meaningful because it introduces attendees to key figures from the past. That fits the mission of the Historical Society.
“It’s just so fun for people to pretend that they’re actually meeting a character from Bemidji that was important in the history,” McKeig said. “We have a file of characters at the museum that we can go through and say ‘this one might work.’”
One of those characters, Andrew Aubolee, is an example.
“Mr. Aubolee this year is not so well known,” McKeig said, “but when you read his biography and read his obituary, go back through the Bemidji Pioneer issues of the early days, he was very prominent in Bemidji. He had the Viking Boat Company, but he was quite a leading citizen, so when we pull the file and look at what we have on him, we know that someone will enjoy playing that character.”
That someone is Holter, a former Beltrami County District Court judge. He will bring Aubolee’s character to life. Holter is a Historical Society board member and has been an actor in previous History Mystery events.
Proceeds from the event help to keep Beltrami County history alive through BCHS publications, programs, collections, research opportunities and assistance, along with museum exhibits.
Sponsors for the event are Kraus-Anderson, Paul Bunyan Communications, Wes’ Plumbing, Keith’s Pizza, McKenzie Place, Sathre Title & Abstract, Target and the family of Irvin and Hazel Nordquist.