A Researcher’s Journey – Visiting the Research Center

Researchers metaphorically take a trip through time when looking to uncover information from the past. Another kind of journey a researcher partakes in is in locating artifacts, stories, and publications that provide them with the information they seek (sometimes even more than they bargained for!).

Here at the Leelanau Historical Society we aim to simplify the research process for researchers through free online resources, one-on-one staff assistance, and connections with other regional resources.

Mark Smith is a local historian and board member of the the Omena Historical Society as well as a Member of the Leelanau Historical Society. His keen interest in Leelanau’s past has brought him into the Research Center on many occasions in search of supporting images or documents for his various articles and presentations, and also just to satisfy his personal curiosities.

His latest trip into the Research Center started with his interest in learning more about Porter’s Landing, a point on the eastern side of north Lake Leelanau. Named for John Porter, an early Leelanau County surveyor and active community member. Mark’s interest stemmed from John Porter’s connection to another one of Mark’s historical interests, Omena’s Grove Hill School.

Mark’s deep dive into the LHS Collection resulted in a beautifully summarized blog of Porter’s Landing weaving in the other aspects of the East Leland community. His blog titled “Porter’s Landing” is published on the Omena Historical Society‘s website. Be sure to read it!

"One photograph showed a group of teen girls in East Leland walking up Horn Road, back when it was still sandy and prone to washouts. In this photo from the 1920’s it is a beautiful summer’s day, about noon based on the shadows. Nine girls wearing loosely fitting, white, short-sleeved blouses with black sashes and knee length black bloomers are laboring up Horn Road in the heat, up the “view hill” from Porter’s Landing on Lake Leelanau. Most of the girls wear wide-brimmed white stetsons. The caption states that the girls were part of a camp, Camp Oshibwa, and they are on an excursion. This was the start of my investigation. This snapshot, this fascinating slice of life from over 100 years ago, inspired me to start digging. I wondered who these girls were, and what it was like to be young and alive under the sun on that beautiful day so long ago...."

Below is a sampling of the LHS Collection Images related to Mark’s area of research.

The Leelanau Historical Society Collection contains over 20,000 objects, photographs, and documents pertaining to the history of Leelanau County, MI. The community is largely to thank for helping collect these artifacts since 1957.

The last 20 years have been spent making these archival materials accessible via online platforms.
This ongoing digitization project is possible thanks to the generous support of LHS members and community donors.

The LHS Collection Contains:
Historic Newspapers
Plat Maps
Oral Histories
Genealogy Records

Special Collections:
Anishinaabek Baskets
Erhardt Peters Photography
James B. Hendryx Collection
Leland Iron Works Ledgers

3D Objects:
Implements & Housewares
Fine/Folk Art

Learn more about LHS research services: