Category Archives: News from the Societies

Articles in this feature concern coming events, people and future plans of historical societies and museums from around the region.

Family History Month: Annual Meetings, Women, and Arts

Artist Ann Loveless to address Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan, October 15th

“Landscape Art Quilt Journey” is the theme of a talk by Ann Loveless at the next Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 15. Loveless will share her ideas and experiences as a quilt artist and tell how she discovered this unique art form.  Her work has received wide recognition, including several Grand Rapids ArtPrize awards.
Location:  Parish Hall of the Grace Episcopal Church (341 Washington St).  Parking is in back.
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   Lunch will be catered by Centre Street Café
***RESERVATIONS REQUIRED by October 10th! ***
Cost is $15 for WHPNM members and $20 for non-members.  Please mail check to WHP at P.O. Box 4463, Traverse City 49685.  For more information, call 947-5178

Exhibit, The Leelanau Woman, at Leelanau County Historical Society

The exhibit, The Leelanau Woman, opened September 10th, but there is still time to see it! This worthy exhibit, a collaboration between Meg Simpson of Meg Ashley Photography and Kim Kelderhouse, the museum’s Curator of Collections, focuses on women’s vintage fashion and places of historical significance around Leelanau County. Bring the family along, as there is something here for everyone! Standing exhibits include the Traditional Anishnabek Arts Room and Shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage.

Plan your visit, starting at the Leelanau County Historical Society website:

Educator Rachel Wicksall to address Traverse Area Historical Society at the Annual Meeting, October 16th

Educator Rachel Wicksall will address the TAHS membership, speaking on “Bringing Traverse City Area History Back to our School-Age Children.” Also, Board Chair Stephen Siciliano will address the membership on news from the Society, with a look back in the year’s accomplishments, and a look forward at what is to come. Meeting will be held in the McGuire Room in the Traverse Area District Library at 610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City, MI, on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 1:00pm.

More information, as well as the agenda and ballot for Board Elections (members only), available at

New Exhibits, Hands-on Fun and Walking Tours in September

Downtown Traverse City Historic Walking Tours Every Saturday

Don’t miss the Traverse Area Historical Society’s Downtown Historic Walking Tours! The tour will be offered every Saturday in September, starting at 10:30am.  The tour will last approximately 90 minutes.  Please meet  in front of Horizon Bookstore, 243 East Front Street, 20 minutes before the start time. The cost is $10 cash or check; with all proceeds benefiting the Historical Society.  Reservations (at 995-0313) are appreciated but are not necessary.

Oakwood Cemetery Tours Every Sunday

The Traverse Area Historical Society will conduct walking tours of Oakwood Cemetery at 4:00 PM on all Sundays in September and on October 2 and 9. The tours will focus on the unique history of the area and the early pioneers who began the process that led to the community we know today. The tours are geared towards an adult audience and last 1 ½ hours. The cost is $10 per person and all funds raised will benefit the programs of the Historical Society. Participants are encouraged to wear shoes suitable for hiking over uneven terrain. They should meet with docents on the sidewalk outside the cemetery at the corner of Eighth Street and Steele approximately 15 minutes prior to start time. For additional information call (231)941-8440.

Specific Dates: September 4, 11, 18, and 25; October 2 and 9

National Parks Continue Celebrating their History

Sleeping Bear Dunes, August 2011. Image courtesy of Rodney Campbell,
Sleeping Bear Dunes, August 2011. Image courtesy of Rodney Campbell,

Would you like to attend a star party, witness a shipwreck rescue reenactment, hear some excellent live music, and volunteer to help restore biodiveristy in our region? Then get involved with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the National Park Service as the celebrate 50 (for the Dunes) and 100 years of service to us! Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (like some residents of the Dunes), you’ve probably heard about the celebration, but with the winter months coming on, the last few days to enjoy our collective conservation history is upon us. Don’t wait!

Click here to see the calendar of events for September 2016

New Exhibits on TC Paralympian and Traveling at TADL, Woodmere

Join us on the 2nd Floor of the Woodmere Main Library, Traverse Area District Library, for two fantastic exhibits, never before seen in Traverse City:

Tommy Kelderhouse was a Paralympic athlete from Traverse City. Archery was just one sport he medaled in.
Tommy Kelderhouse was a Paralympic athlete from Traverse City. Archery was just one sport he medaled in.

Tommy Kelderhouse, 1970s Paralympic athlete and Traverse City son, is featured on several interpretive panels courtesy of Port Oneida Community Alliance and the Kelderhouse Family.  Tommy Kelderhouse was the great great grandson of Thomas Kelderhouse, founder of Port Oneida. Enjoy this piece of history, just in time for the Paralympic Games, beginning on September 7th in Rio, Brazil. This exhibit is in the primary display space to the right of the 2nd Floor Reference Desk.

Profuse thanks to the Port Oneida Community Alliance for the privilege of displaying Tommy’s work and achievements. Port Oneida Community Alliance is a nonprofit organization providing hands on opportunities for education, recreation, and celebration of historical knowledge, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture that honor and perpetuate the legacy and community spirit of the resilient subsistence farmers who called Port Oneida their home.
Also, a brief exhibit on how passengers in Grand Traverse County fared on various modes of transport, from the 1850s to the 1920s. Learn more about Traverse City’s own auto manufacturer and more! This exhibit is immediately at the top of the stairs on the 2nd Floor.

August Events for History Lovers

Downtown Traverse City Historic Walking Tours begin in August

Don’t miss the Traverse Area Historical Society’s newest offering, our Downtown Historic Walking Tours! The first tour will be offered on Saturday, August 6th, starting at 10:30am.  The tour will last approximately 90 minutes.  Please meet  in front of Horizon Bookstore, 243 East Front Street, 20 minutes before the start time. The cost is $10 cash or check; with all proceeds benefiting the Historical Society.  Reservations (at 995-0313) are appreciated but are not necessary.  Subsequent tours will be offered each Saturday of August.  Information on Fall tours will be available at a later date.

Interlochen Center for the Arts History at Benzie Museum


“Historic Photos and Stories from the Interlochen Center for the Arts” by John and Margaret Beery at 7pm on Thursday, August 11 at the Mills Community House. The Berrys will share the dreams and vision, through photos and stories, of Dr. Joseph Maddy, founder of Interlochen Center for the Arts and examine the stories and personalities of such recognizable Interlochen folk as Aaron Copland, John Philip Sousa and Percy Granger. Margaret is the managing director of tours, and John has been on the Interlochen summer staff for 33 years and acts as curator of the Greenleaf Instrument Collection.

Concert to Celebrate 100 Years of National Park Service

NPS cent band poster Aug16-27 (1) (1)The National Park Service Centennial Band will be performing a concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service on August 18 at 2:00 at the Traverse Area District Library, and at 7:00 at the Fountain Point Resort at Lake Leelanau. The band will perform songs related to National Parks around the nation. A family event, fun for all, so bring your kids, friends and neighbors! Click on the image (right) to see the full schedule.

Making Waves: Michigan’s Boat-Building Industry, 1865-2000: Leelanau County Historical Society’s “Literature on the Lakeshore” program with Scott M. Peters

makingwavesOn Saturday, August 20th at 4pm, join your friends at the Leelanau Museum for a nautical adventure! In this 2016 Michigan Notable Book, Scott M. Peters, Curator of the Michigan Historical Musuem, explores the intriguing story of Michigan’s Illustrious place in boat building that changed boating across the world.

At the Leelanau Historical Society Museum, 203 E Cedar St, Leland, MI 49654

WWII Veterans in Their Own Words: Leelanau County Historical Society’s “Literature on the Lakeshore” program with Larry Martin


On Thursday, September 1st at 5pm, Larry Martin will present the memories of Edgar Harrel, a marine aboard the USS Indianapolis. On July 30th 1945 the USS Indianapolis was hit by several torpedoes from a Japanese submarine. She sank in 12 minutes in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. There were 1197 men aboard and about 300 died during the sinking, putting about 900 men into the ocean. Hear Edgar tell what it is like to be lost at sea for about 112 hours.

In addition Larry will have several tables of WWII memorabilia on display! At the Leelanau Historical Society Museum, 203 E Cedar St, Leland, MI 49654

The Comedy of Crystal Lake with Dr. Daniels

Author and Archibald Jones-reenactor Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels.
Author and Archibald Jones-reenactor Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels.

The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) will host a special presentation and book signing event on August 5, 2016 at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, MI with Stacy L. Daniels, author of the book “The Comedy of Crystal Lake”. Dr. Daniels will present a program in the visitor center auditorium beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by a book signing that will last until 1:00 p.m.

You might remember guest contributor to the GTJ and author Dr. Daniels. If you’ve missed his Archibald Jones impersonation in the past, now’s your chance! Your Editors still considers Daniels’ hefty tome to be well worth your time to read… what a story!

Dedication Service honors Dr. David Wilson Cousins, Union Veteran, Colored Infantry in Mayfield Township

cousinsAlthough a bit late for this publication, Your Editors hope you will make the trek to Down Cemetery, to honor Dr. David Wilson Cousins, Union Veteran Company H 102nd Colored Infantry, and members of his family. Dr. Cousins was laid to rest 107 years to go, without the Veteran gravestone he justly deserves. Our good friends at the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society and Robert Finch Camp #14 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have worked together to identify his resting place, and fund the erection of the grave marker.  This event took place on Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 10am, Down Cemetery, County Road 633 and Harrand, Mayfield Township, Grand Traverse County. You may have missed the unveiling, but it’s never too late to honor our deserving veterans, and a cemetery is a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic with friends new and old.

July Events For History Lovers

Oakwood Cemetery Tours

Love meeting new people? What about dead ones? Traverse Area Historical Society invites all those interested to meet some of our favorite deceased Traverse City residents! Colorful characters once roamed our streets, including William “Wild Bill” Germaine, known better for brawling in the street than his political doings, and  our first female doctor, Augusta Rosenthal Thompson, who pursued her education with such passion that her husband divorced her. This tour is a packed one-and-a-half hours, and never dull!

Oakwood cemetery tours begin on Sundays at 7:00pm, beginning on July 3rd. Participants should meet at the northwest corner of the cemetery at the intersection of Steele and 8th Street. It is best to park on Steele street. Cost is ten dollars per person, payment to be made by cash or check. All proceeds go to benefit the Traverse Area Historical Society. You may preregister by sending an email to (preferred) or phoning (231) 995-0313. Drop-ins accepted if numbers permit. Rain or shine.

“The Lumber History of Frankfort Harbor”

Join the Benzie Area Historical Society for a lecture on “The Lumber Industry of Frankfort Harbor,” by Andy Bolander, at 7:00 pm on Thursday, July 14 at the Mills Community House. The lecture will focus on the development of Frankfort Harbor and the industries along its shores. Particular attention will be paid to the manner in which the building of the Soo Locks inspired a chain of investment by eastern capitalists in Benzie County that culminated with the creation of the Frankfort & South Eastern Railroad. Andy Bolander, a railroad and car ferry enthusiast and a volunteer at BAHS, has spent a year gathering photographs, maps, news clippings and county records information for this lecture.

Leelanau Historical Society, Exhibits and a New Gallery

IMG_20160624_173609188Leelanau Historical Society and Museum packed in the crowd at their recent dedication for the Norbert Gits Family Gallery and Bluestone Conference Room! LHS&M invites all interested in seeing their beautiful new space to come visit. Please check out their website for Museum hours.

Of particular interest to many is the new exhibit displayed in the Gits Family Gallery, titled “In Focus: Photography, History, Art,” featuring the art of Keith Burnham and other area photographers from past to present. One of Your Editors has had the pleasure of viewing the exhibit, which features some of this publication’s favorite photographers of old, Orson Peck and Edward Beebe. It is not to be missed!

If you would like your event featured in Grand Traverse Journal, please email details to

From Sea to Cemetery: History is Happening in Leelanau County, Picnic in Grand Traverse

This month’s “News from the Societies” features our wonderful neighbor to the north, Leelanau County! Whether you’re looking for a fun exhibit for all ages, or you’re looking to do some hands-on history conservation, June in the “LC” is where it’s at! Special thanks to Stef Staley, Director of Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and Kim Kelderhouse of Port Oneida Community Alliance, for keeping us informed through their newsletters and Facebook pages. You, dear reader, can also stay informed directly at their respective online presences, linked below for your pleasure.

Also, join the newly re-named Traverse Area Historical Society at their first summer picnic! See below for details.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

Image courtesy of Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

The Lake Michigan Aircraft Carrier Exhibit has been wildly popular for the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you are seriously overdue! But, lucky you, the Lighthouse plans to continue the exhibit for the 2016 season (“with key additions,” teases their website). The exhibit features the history of the USS Sable (IX-81) and USS Wolverine (IX-64). Both were converted to freshwater training aircraft carriers, used on the Great Lakes between 1943 and 1945. 20,000 pilots and landing signal officers were qualified on those vessels. There are awesome stories, sweet replicas, and whole myriad of photographs and histories to look at. Don’t wait, get on up there in June!

Port Oneida Community Alliance

For hands-on fun, look to the Gravestone Preservation Workshop, hosted by the Port Oneida Community Alliance, in partnership with Cleveland Township, Leelanau County. A number of local cemeteries could use a little help in preserving their headstones, so consider getting trained at this event, and Your Editors will be glad to point you where your expertise is needed!

Cemetery Flyer

Traverse Area Historical Society

Blackman School Picnic, 1903.
Blackman School Picnic, 1903. Image courtesy of the Floyd Webster Historical Photograph Collection, Kingsley Branch Library, Kingsley (Mich.)

Join the Traverse Area Historical Society at our first social picnic of the year, at the  Civic Center Pavilion on Sunday, June 26, 2016, from 12-4p.  The Society is hosting this favorite event of years past, to bring their members together and reminisce about the simpler times. Your presence will make the picnic a success! Please bring your stories and a dish to pass! Place settings and beverages provided.

Bruce Catton Historical Awards Reception Celebrated Students April 8th

The Ninth Annual Bruce Catton Historical Award Reception was held at Mills Community House on Wednesday, April 8th.   Families of the freshman authors and community residents came to honor the young authors and their teachers, Ms. Rebecca Hubbard, English teacher, and Mr. Dave Jackson, history teacher who inspired the authors. The students were assigned to write about a special event in their life, trying to create a memorable experience that would delight an audience. The readings given by ten adult readers proved the students had succeeded. Similar to Bruce Catton’s memoirs that included many of his life experiences as he grew up in Benzie County during the early years of the 20th century (WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN), the students included many descriptive details in essays that reminded their audience of similar experiences in their own lives. The final reader of the program, Bob McNabb, mentioned how many essays related to the wonderful waters that are such a big part of the lives of Benzie residents.

The students who were honored as the Top Ten Authors were: Sam Buzzell (Snow Day on Cliff Face), Gabe Johnson (Days Off), Shianne Knoch (Walking in the Footsteps of the Past), Peggy Morrow (Simple Things) Emily Perkins (A Pluviophile’s Dream) Genevieve Pomerleau, (What Goes Up Must Come Down,) Matthew Stefanski (A Cold Day on Lockhart Field) Keziah Stockdale (The Incident) Olivia Tomaszewsi (Fudgie to Local) , Bowen Stoops (Dredging).

Steve Elrick, President of the Mills Board of Directors, assisted Kay Bos, (Coordinator of the Awards) with presenting the awards. The First Place winner was Genevieve Pomerleau, Shianne Knoch took Second Place, and Third Place was awarded to Sam Buzzell. All students were presented with certificates for participating in the contest.

Shianne Knoch: 2nd Place, Genevieve Pomerleau:1st Place, Sam Buzzell: 3rd Place
Shianne Knoch: 2nd Place, Genevieve Pomerleau:1st Place, Sam Buzzell: 3rd Place

Members of the Mills Board of Directors served refreshments at the end of the program.

Deep appreciation to Kay Bos for the article, photographs, and for encouraging our children to be excellent in all they strive towards. Thank you also to Stewart A. McFerran for the header image, taken at the Bruce Catton Award Reception on April 8, 2015. On the far right is Kay Bos, Coordinator of the Bruce Catton Awards, then Steve Elrick, President of the Mills Board of Directors, with student winners.

News from the Societies for April 2015


NMC – LIFE Lunch Series features “Legends of Traverse City”

This Life Lunch Series is held monthly on Fridays. Each session provides a casual atmosphere for highlighting people, places, and ideas of intrigue. You will also meet like-minded people and enjoy a buffet lunch. If you prefer, bring a brown bag. Beverages are provided.

You know the typical history of Traverse City — Perry Hannah as the “Father of Traverse City” and Captain Boardman purchasing the land we call Traverse City. But there are many tales and legends that helped shape our city. Join Maddie Lundy, as she guides us through a history of interesting facts and stories of the well- and lesser-known residents that made Traverse City what it is today.

Fri., April 17, Noon–1:30 p.m.
University Center Rm. 215/217
$19 with buffet, Code: 3296
$10 without lunch (bring your own), Code: 3297
LIFE Discount does not apply.

TO REGISTER, CALL (231) 995-1700

Elk Rapids Historical Society & Museum hosts “History of the Elk Rapids Fire Department”

chiefpeteOn Thursday, April 9th at 7:00pm, Chief Pete Van Den Berge will discuss the early history of the fire service in general and the history of the Elk Rapids Fire Department from 1889 to the present.  Presentation will feature historic photographs, and will be held at the Elk Rapids Museum, 301 Traverse Street at the corner of Pine Street, Elk Rapids.
Admission Fee:  Elk Rapids Historical Society Members – Free!
Non-Members: A $5.00 suggested donation for adults,
$2.00 suggested donation for students (under age 18) is requested at the door. Children are free.
All proceeds benefit the Elk Rapids Area Historical Society’s building preservation.

For more information contact Dan LeBlond, President, Elk Rapids Area Historical Society;
Tel. 231-264-8984 or send e-mail to
Visit our website: to view a listing of our 2015 meetings and events.

Benzie Area Women’s History Project presents “Herstory: Reflections on Women & Poetry,” a Benzonia Academy Lecture by Karen Anderson


Virginia Woolf said that a woman needed a “room of one’s own” in order to be a serious writer. She has also needed a voice of her own— and the “herstory” of women’s poetry traces the discovery of this room, this voice, this language that is the unique expression of women’s lives. Karen Anderson will reflect on the journey of women poets—sharing poems and ideas and inquiries along the way.

The program will be held Thursday, April 9th, at 4pm, at the Mills Community House, Benzonia.

There is no admission fee for the program but basic donations of $5 or more are gratefully received for the lecture series. Check out our website, please call 231-510-1721 with questions. Access to listening devices, interpreter services, or enhanced text is available by texting 231-590-4671.
Presented by The Benzie Area Women’s History Project in collaboration with the Benzie Area Historical Society.


March Events in Frankfort and Traverse City Celebrate Women and Architecture

Benzie Area Women’s History Project


In celebration of International Women‘s Day, the Benzie Area Women‘s History Project will present the film, I Am a Girl, on Saturday, March 7, at 4:00 PM at the Garden Theater in Frankfort.

The most persecuted people in the world today are not from a particular race or religion. They are not political activists. They are girls. The simple fact of being born a girl makes a person more likely to be subjected to violence, disease, poverty and disadvantage than any other group on the planet.

I Am a Girl is a beautifully crafted documentary that paints a complex picture of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century. In this remarkable film we hear the stories of six girls on the brink of womanhood, through a patchwork of diverse cultures and issues. This is an excellent movie for anyone of teen age on up. For more information and to see a preview, go to

Our film showing has been underwritten by Suzy Voltz of C21 Sleeping Bear Realty and by the West Michigan Bank & Trust. Admission to this film is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted. The money raised supports a scholarship given each year to a non-traditional female student at Northwestern Michigan College.

The Garden Theater is wheelchair accessible and provides a hearing loop. For more information, see our website:, or email, or phone (231) 510-1721. The Benzie Area Women‘s History Project is a committee affiliated with the Benzie Area Historical Society.

History Center of Traverse City


Like History? “Like” these Societies!

Local historical societies understand your attention is in demand. Every available cultural event abounds in the Grand Traverse Region. Thankfully, many of these societies will “push” their media announcements to you, in exchange for a simple “Like”!

Facebook remains our region’s go-to for nonprofit organization social media pages. If you didn’t join over a decade ago (February 4, 2004 to be precise), it’s never too late to join up and become informed about what your favorite groups are up to.

My new favorite is Leelanau Peninsula History Network, founded in October 2014. Not only do they push their members’ activities (which includes most of the local societies in the county), they reach out to other regional societies, like the History Center of Traverse City, and repost their announcements as well. A very active group indeed!

Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum has some fantastic programs coming up in January and February, on “Rome’s Sacred Spaces” by Dr. Louis Yock and “Lizzie Borden Revisited” by Al Bryant, if you are looking for some non-local history. Search for their Facebook page and give them a “like” to stay in touch.

Finally, History Center of Traverse City‘s new monthly programs are gaining in popularity at every meeting. Chautauqua remains locally-focused, while the Megatherium Club ranges through time and space for their history topics. Like many local groups, History Center typically announces new events on Facebook before their website, so “like” once and you’re in the know.