2023 Calendar of Events

Annual Meeting of the Leelanau Historical Society

October 11th, 3:00-4:00 pm
In-Person Event: Norbert Gits Family Gallery, Leelanau Historical Society Museum
203 E. Cedar. St. Leland, MI 49654

2024 has been an exciting year! The LHS Board and Staff will speak about this year’s accomplishments and projects. We cordially invite our members, those thinking of joining, and the general public to attend this informational meeting, followed by a short presentation by local historians.

Clues, Tidbits and Surprises in Researching Michigan History
By Christine Byron & Thomas Wilson

In a short presentation, Christine and Tom will share some of the research riches they’ve found over the years. These will include an African American woman who had a restaurant on Mackinac Island in the 1890s; owners of automobiles in 1913 in southwest-central Michigan; hand-written diaries of a Omena cottage owner from 1907-1920; and other interesting finds.

Christine and Tom share a love of Michigan and a fascination with its history. They are especially interested in the history of Michigan’s tourism industry. Their collection of antique postcards and tourist and travel ephemera was the inspiration for their five “Vintage Views” books: Their sixth book, Historic Leelanau was a fundraiser for the Leelanau County Historic Preservation Society.

Save the Date!
October 9th, 1:00pm

Join the Leland Cultural Campus for a program in honor of Indigenous People’s Day | Oct. 9th, 2023. Presented by JoAnne Cook, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians Member. JoAnne will share information about the original way of life of the Anishinaabe; culture, tradition, spiritual view, world view and living as a nation, tribe, and community. She will cover the impact of the changes that occurred in the Great Lakes Region; societal, environmental, legal and how it changed the way of life of the Anishinaabe.

Hosted in collaboration with the Leelanau Historical Society, Leland Library, and the Old Art Building.

Stay tuned for more details.

 Check back often! - More events to be announced. 


Leelanau Maritime History Festival

September 16th 2023
In-Person Outdoor Event: Leelanau Historical Society, 203 E. Cedar. St. Leland, MI 49654

Join us for a day on the banks of the Leland River in the heart of Leland, MI. Walk the ‘wall’ and explore LHS’s annual classic wood boat show, Wood Boats on The Wall.

Leelanau Maritime History Festival. Join LHS for the 2nd annual festival celebrating Leelanau Maritime history. Tents/tables will be set up on the back lawn of the museum along the Leland River featuring vendors and presenters who are dedicated to bringing local maritime history to life.

Interested in being a 2023 Event Partner? Contact Us! info@leelanauhistory.org.

Learn more.

North Manitou Island Day Trip

September 11th 2023 (Rain Date Sept. 12th)
In-Person: North Manitou Island, Leland, MI.

This event is hosted by the Leelanau Historical Society entails a ferry boat ride across the Manitou Passage from Leland, MI to the now uninhabited, North Manitou Island now a part of the National Park Service. Join us for the day to learn about the island’s unique. We promise you will have a unique historical experience! Learn about Cottage Row, the Life-Saving Station, history of rural agriculture, antique apple preservation and other aspects of island life. We will have interesting guides and interpreters volunteering their time who will share their knowledge of North Manitou Island.

Day schedule and speakers to be announced.
Registration CLOSED
Learn More

18th Annual Golfathon Fundraiser

September 5th, 2023
 Ross Satterwhite and Mark Nesbitt will be back on the course to play 100 holes of golf in one day to support the Leelanau Historical Society and Museum.  All funds raised go to support collection care, documentation, exhibit development, educational programs and research projects.  These are critical activities that require significant annual financial support.

In appreciation of your donation, please join us for a reception celebrating Ross & Mark at the Leland Lodge on September 5th, 2023 5:00pm-7:00pm.

Learn More

Annual Port Oneida Fair

August 11 & 12th, 2023 – 10-4pm
In-Person: Port Oneida Rural Historic District, Glen Arbor, MI

Hosted by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, take a step back in time at the Port Oneida Fair and experience life as it was in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Imagine the life of the pioneers as you help bale hay or watch a broom-maker at work. Learn about spinning, basket weaving, soap making, butter making, candle dipping, and fur trapping. Listen as park rangers and local history experts share the area’s history. Watch as teams of oxen and horses cut, load, and haul hay and artists and craftsmen demonstrate their skills.

The Leelanau Historical Society will once again have a tent featuring traveling exhibits and the “new” 1931 Ford Model A. You can find us at Site #2 Kelderhouse Farm both Friday & Saturday.

Leland Parade

July 4th, 2023 at 3:00pm
Downtown Leland, MI

Come celebrate Independence Day with this annual Leelanau tradition. This year’s theme is Red, White, and Leland Blue! LHS will be showcasing our “new” 1931 Ford Model A. Grab a seat along M-22 in downtown Leland and be sure to give our staff, board members, and volunteers a shout as we go by!

The Crib Shines On!

Thursday June 1st, 2023 at 1:00pm
Presented by the North Manitou Light Keepers
Co-Hosted by The Leland Library and the Leelanau Historical Society
In-Person Event: Munnecke Room, 203 E. Cedar St., Leland, MI 49654


The North Manitou Shoal Light Station (aka The Crib) is an offshore lighthouse in Northern Lake Michigan completed in 1935. It marks a shallow shoal in the Manitou Passage, an important maritime channel. First operated by the United States Lighthouse Service and later the United States Coast Guard who manned it until 1980. The light station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The structure stood vacant and uncared for until 2016 when it was purchased at auction by North Manitou Light Keepers, a nonprofit organization, after being deemed surplus by the Federal Government. It remains an active aid to navigation with automated solar powered equipment maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Come learn about the history of The Crib, the restoration project and the community of stewardship for this piece of Michigan maritime history that stands amidst of America’s most beautiful locations.

***Optional tour add-on! The North Manitou Light Keepers will offer a charter to and tour of The Crib for up to 10 people after the program (weather permitting), from 3-6pm. The cost is $150 per person payable the day-of the tour. Please register for the tour by emailing tours@northmanitoulightkeepers.org. Seating is limited.

Breathing Space Play at the Old Art Building

We are thrilled to announce the new dates for Breathing Space, a new comedy written by McAdoo Greer and Rebecca Reynolds


Setting: an upscale lakeside village populated by the 1% and those who serve them. DIANA actively avoids friends and family by attending workshops with strangers. All’s well until her longtime “frenemy” SYBIL shows up at “Breathing Space,” a de-cluttering class at…you guessed it…the Old Art Building. The morning session goes to hell faster than a Marie Kondo meltdown, as old wounds are kept, donated or thrown away like last year’s Lululemon Bucket Hat. #SparkJoy

Learn More & Purchase Tickets

This project has been funded in part by a mini grant from Michigan Arts & Culture Council and the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network

LHS Member Appreciation Party

June 19th, 2023
The Leelanau Historical Society accomplishes its mission of preserving and sharing Leelanau’s history for future generations from the generous support of our members through monetary donations, time and skills. In appreciation, we invite all LHS members for this annual celebration showcasing the best of LHS’s work. RENEW / JOIN

Preservation Day at the Leelanau County Poor Farm

Saturday May 27th, 2023, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Hosted by the Leelanau County Historic Preservation Society
In-Person Event: 1110 W. Burdickville Rd. in the Myles Kimmerly Recreation Area
Maple City, MI

Come visit the Barn at the Leelanau County Poor Farm. Explore the barn’s rehabilitation and celebrate our community partners, donors, contractors, consultants, and volunteers!

-Demonstrations and wagon rides by Northwest Michigan Draft Horse and Mule Association.
-Guided tours through the upper and lower barn.
-Explore the gardens
-Visit the Leelanau Historical Society’s “new” Ford Model A.
-Connect with historic preservation consultants, contractors,, organizations, and dedicated volunteers.
-Bring your own picnic – Lemonade, water and picnic tables will be provided!

FREE Entry | Family Friendly
For More Information:

Plow Day Returns to Ruby Ellen Farm

Sunday May 21st, 2023, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Hosted by the Ruby Ellen-Rex Dobson Farm
In-Person Event: 5946 South Center Highway, Traverse City, Michigan 49684

After a three-year hiatus, Ruby Ellen Farm will once again host Plow Day, in partnership with the Northwest Michigan Draft Horse and Mule Association. The Ruby Ellen Farm is one of Leelanau County’s Heritage Farms created by family heirs as a conservancy committed to preserving some of the area’s rich history and also on the National Register of Historic Places. A new Plow Day feature this year will showcase two Mackinaw boats, “The Workhorse of the Great Lakes”, built mid-20th century a mile from Ruby Ellen Farm, and donated by the Maritime Heritage Alliance.

The Leelanau Historical Society is happy to announce we will be participating in the 2023 Plow Day. Come stop by our booth and say hello!

Event Schedule:
11:00am – Draft horse teams begin plowing front field.
1:00pm – Mackinaw Boats presentation.
2:00pm – Draft horse harnessing demonstration.

Other activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, rope making, snack food sales, two museums to tour, and the Gift Shop will open for the season. Ruby Ellen Farm’s trails, among rolling meadows and forests, are open for hiking throughout the year. National Register of Historic Places.

For More Information:

Maple Syrup Workshop

February 21st, 2023, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Hosted by the Leelanau Conservation District
In-Person Event: Leelanau Government Center (Downstairs)
8527 E Government Center Dr, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

The Leelanau Peninsula has a long history of maple syrup making. Join us to learn more about past and present syrup production!

Join local Maple Syrup Experts,  The Leelanau Conservation District, The Leelanau Historical Society, The Leelanau Conservancy, and others to learn about the basics of maple sugaring and more. Speakers will discuss tree selection, equipment decisions, tree health, the process from sap to syrup and how climate change will impact the industry. Tabling from local organizations and snacks will be available. Come connect with adept individuals and enjoy a fantastic evening steeped in knowledge about syrup production and conservation.

To Register Contact:
Karen Long, Leelanau Conservation District

The Story of the Grove Hill School

March 2nd, 2023 at 1:30pm.

Hosted by Omena Historical Society & Leelanau Historical Society Museum
Presented by Mark Smith of the Omena Historical Society
In Person Event: Munnecke Room 203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654

Mark will explore the efforts of Reverend Peter Dougherty in his establishment of one of the
first residential schools for Native Americans in the country, in 1853, in Omena, MI Find
out how this residential school was more enlightened and attuned to the advancement
of the local Anishinaabek people than the oppressive government-run schools which
would follow. Admission is free. A recording of the program will be made available after the event.

“The Forgotten Iron King of the Great Lakes: Eber Brock Ward, 1811-1875”

April 19th, 2023 at 7:00pm

Presented by Author Michael W. Nagle
View a recording of this event on LHS’s Youtube Channel.

The Forgotten Iron King of the Great Lakes: Eber Brock Ward, 1811-1875 brings the Gilded Age industrialist that became Michigan’s wealthiest resident and helped shaped the nation into the spotlight. Eber Brock Ward (1811–1875) began his career as a cabin boy on his uncle’s sailing vessels, but when he died in 1875, he was the wealthiest man in Michigan. His innovative business activities had Ward engaged in the steamboat, railroad, lumber, mining, and iron and steel industries. In 1864, his facility near Detroit became the first in the nation to produce steel using the more efficient Bessemer method.

Michael Nagle demonstrates how much of Ward’s success was due to his ability to vertically integrate his business operations, which were undertaken decades before other more famous moguls, such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. And yet, despite his countless successes, Ward’s life was filled with ruthless competition, labor conflict, familial dispute, and scandal. Nagle makes extensive use of Ward’s correspondence, business records, contemporary newspaper accounts, and other archival material to craft a balanced profile of this fascinating figure whose actions influenced the history and culture of the Great Lakes and beyond.

Nagle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and Master of Arts degree in history from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He teaches history and political science at West Shore Community College, in Scottville, Michigan, where he also serves as chair of the social sciences division. Nagle is an award-winning teacher and noted speaker covering a range of topics in American history, Michigan history, and student success and retention in the on-line classroom. His first book, Justus S. Stearns; Michigan Pine King and Kentucky Coal Baron, 1845-1933, won the Kentucky History Award. The Forgotten Iron King of the Great Lakes: Eber Brock Ward, 1811 1875 is his second book. Both were published by Wayne State University Press. Nagle lives in Ludington, Michigan.

Purchase your copy of this new release!