Friday, April 27, 2012


Herb and Marianna Gibson, Hoyt Purinton
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

When fire badly damaged Gibson's West Harbor Resort last November, Hoyt Purinton was one of the firemen inside the building.  His experience crawling around in the smoke came to mind several weeks later when he was scavenging at the Island Exchange (the dump) where he spotted a badly damaged vacuum that had been tossed on the scrap pile.  This unit had a look somewhat similar to one he had seen in the fire that evening, including the badly melted cord and warped plastic parts.

Believing it was the same Gibson vacuum, Hoyt took it home, then called the Kirby vacuum cleaner company in Cleveland to see if their Lifetime Warranty would still apply.  It would, except that the vacuum had actually been registered to Marianna's mother, Bernice Hansen.  However, a paperwork shuffle and an a price to refurbish the vacuum with new parts was agreed to, and in a few months the Kirby Company shipped the like-new unit to the Ferry Line office, but now registered under the Gibson name.  (There was great assistance from the gentleman at Kirby who at one time sailed for Cleveland Cliffs, and he recalled looking toward the island and West Harbor as his ship passed our shores. He then Googled West Harbor, while on the phone with Hoyt, to see what the harbor looked like on the satellite image. The Kirby Company is to be thanked for standing behind their quality product.)

Responding to my request to discuss some ideas, Herb and Marianna came to the Ferry Line office this morning and were reunited with their vacuum.

From the Gibson's description of progress at the Resort, furniture and mattresses are being moved in, with most construction work having been shifted to outdoors.  Their deadline for opening Memorial Day weekend still looks promising, although there is still much work to be done before its ready for customers.

We wish them well and hope the wayward vacuum will help in the reopening process.

[An added note: Bernice Hansen purchased this vacuum after her husband, Art, died, according to Marianna.   Bernice was living at that time in a ranch home on 11th Place in Sturgeon Bay.  When my younger sister, Martha, moved to Sturgeon Bay from Florida two years ago, by coincidence she bought the home formerly owned by Bernice and Art Hansen, where the vacuum would first have been used.]

 -  Dick Purinton

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