Ely Man Writes Letter to President, President Writes Back

By KBJR News 1

January 21, 2013 Updated Oct 19, 2013 at 12:17 AM CST

Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Ely has gained national attention, all because one man in the town wrote a letter to the President. The surprise? The President wrote back.

"I was, obviously, surprised," said Gerry Snyder of the President's hand-written response, "I expected [to receive] something that had been written by someone else and maybe signed by him or maybe auto-signed, like they do with the President's signature, but no, I did not expect a handwritten one [response]."

Snyder wrote to President Obama last March on behalf of the Ely-Winton Historical Society, asking for something to include in a time capsule commemorating the Historical Society and Vermillion Community College (at which the History Museum is located).

"I felt that it [Ely] should make itself more visible throughout the country," said Snyder of the reason he wrote to the President.

Visible is what Snyder got. After finding out about the President's personal response to Snyder's letter, NBC's Today Show ran a story showcasing the small town.

"They didn't know me from Adam, to come out all the way from New York and interview me," said Snyder.

But back at home, the meaning of the President's letter goes beyond any news story. Those at the Ely-Winton Historical Society are grateful that the letter will become a part of Ely's history.

"I can't think of many other historical societies around the state, including the state of Minnesota's historical society that has a hand–written letter from the President of the United States," said David Kess of the Ely-Winton Historical Society.

The time capsule will be sealed in a ceremony at the Ely-Winton History Center this spring.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.