When lumbering was the key industry in northern Michigan, every community near Arcadia seemed to be centered around a sawmill, the jobs it provided, and the goods and services needed by sawmill workers and their families. This exhibit introduces the earliest sawmills in the Arcadia area, the process involved in lumbering and how that was practiced in the area, and three key sawmills in Arcadia.
Probably the first school in the Arcadia area was a log school on what was then the Hotchkiss farm on what is now the Manke farm. By 1883, Arcadia Township had four school districts. In the late 1890s, the Burnham School was moved to Arcadia next to the Arcadia Village School to for the Twin Schools. In 1892 the Lutheran School opened. In 1910, the Twin Schools were replaced by the Arcadia High School that taught grades 1-12. This exhibit includes maps and photos of these and many more schools.
When Dad was growing up in Arcadia, it seemed as though practically everyone in town worked for the Arcadia Furniture Company in one way or another. This exhibit summarizes the birth and growth of the company, shows furniture sold through the factory's first solo catalog, and includes a variety of artifacts including blueprints of the factory at its peak, sample furniture catalogs, and a pay stub from 1944.
When I was a kid, I heard about a narrow gauge railroad used to haul timber, but I had no idea Arcadia had its own standard gauge railway. At one point, Arcadia's railroad carried freight daily and passengers twice a day. This exhibit provides a glimpse into the history of the railroads in Arcadia in words, pictures, and memorabilia.
Shortly after his arrival in 1880, Henry Starke began building a bridge pier at the end of Lake Street in Arcadia, Michigan. In 1892, he began building a channel between Lake Michigan and Bar Lake. When the channel opened in 1893, ships like the John D. Dewar, the Arcadia, and Pere Marquette No. 6 used Arcadia's safe harbor to carry passengers, mail, lumber, fruit, potatoes, and other products between Arcadia and the rest of the world. This exhibit summarizes shipping in Arcadia beginning in the late 1800s and ending when the channel officially closed in 1925.
Violent storms made Lake Michigan a dangerous place particularly in the spring and fall, and until 1883, when Arcadia's channel opened, there were no safe harbors between Frankfort and Manistee. Many ships were lost. This exhibit summarizes more than a dozen shipwrecks in the Arcadia area between about 4 miles south of Frankfort and about 5 miles north of Ludington.
Baseball was Arcadia's sport. The first ballpark in Arcadia, Michigan was built in the early 1900's out on the point. On the 4th of July people arrived by ship and by train to enjoy the festivities, which always included a baseball game or two along with a parade, speeches by local dignitaries, band concerts, and picnics.
This is a series of articles in which people from the Arcadia area provide a personal perspective of family, events, and life in general from an earlier time. If you have memories to share, see Collecting Oral Histories, or please contact the Arcadia Area Historical Society. (How? Click here.)
The walking tour is about 1.5 miles long with 35 points of interest. It is intended to acquaint you with an earlier, more vibrant time in the village. The tour begins with the Museum on Lake Street. The virtual version of the tour starts by clicking here.
Imagine walking west along Lake Street in Arcadia, Michigan in the early 1900's. That's what a photographer did, and the photos in this exhibit show us the photographer's view of Arcadia at the time.
William Quimby and his family were among the first settlers in the Arcadia, Michigan area, and their story is representative of the difficulties encountered by many early settlers. William Quimby's daughter, Hattie or Harriet Quimby, grew up to become a pioneer aviatrix.
This exhibit tells the brief story of the Minnehaha, the 200-foot, four-masted schooner whose wreckage is still visible along the shore of Lake Michigan. We have learned that there were four ships called Minnehaha that sailed the Great Lakes early in the last century. The one that sank near Arcadia was the largest by far.
Arcadia Daze is an annual three-day event in Arcadia, Michigan featuring a variety of events, music, food, arts & crafts, dancing, a parade, and more. Early in the last century, our ancestors gathered for Arcadia Days, but as the following program from 1918 illustrates, only the name is similar.
This article summarizes the first 100 years of the history of the Methodist Church in Arcadia, Michigan. It is based on a brochure published as part of the celebration of the church's 100th anniversary.
This article summarizes the early history of the Lutheran congregation founded in 1881, the now-historic Trinity Lutheran Church finished in 1887, the Lutheran school, and more.
In the late 1800s, north of Arcadia just below what we call Inspiration Point today was the town of Burnham, Arcadia's closest neighbor to the north. Like many other lumbering towns, Burnham didn't last long after the lumber was gone.
If you're planning on visiting the museum or simply curious about what it has to offer, these pages should help. They show the layout of each floor, identify exhibit areas, and include pictures of each area in recent history.
Visit the real museum on Lake Street in Arcadia, Michigan. You can spend hours, if not days, examining old photos, documents, furniture, and other artifacts from local history.
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