Story in the Stones - Bellevue, Michigan

stonesAt the flashing light in downtown Bellevue, Michigan, the Village Hall sits on the northwest corner. It is hard to miss since it is a two story structure that is unique for the stonework on the exterior. There is plenty of parking downtown so it is convenient to walk around this building and study the handiwork of the artisan who carved these stones. As you take in the details you will realize that these were not simply cut and mortared in. There are unusual patterns here and a series of stones cut into circles, diamonds and even a large arrowhead. The arrowhead on the south wall is about three feet long.

 This is all rock faced field stone and is the work of Charles H. Secore. The building was completed in the early 1900's and was originally a bank. It turns out that these stones tell a bit of the history of the area. It is said that the circular stones represent the medicine wheels of the Ojibway and Chippewa tribes who inhabited the area. The diamond is the symbol used to represent the four directions by the Ojibway and the arrow head is a Chippewa reference since they were known for making arrowheads. There are more intricately carved stones including one in the shape of a heart. The entire exterior is a work of art that we would have difficulty producing today.

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The illustration is from the stonework above the main entrance and is by Dawn Baumer.