2023 Calendar of Events

“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
Virtual Event Registration: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JItRjn0TTYiFH_ofxRgh0Q

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!

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.

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

Check back often! – More events to be announced.


Water, Sand, and Sky – Community Premiere

April 21st 2022, 3pm
Hosted by Leland Township Public Library & Leelanau Historical Society Museum
Presented by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
In Person Event: Munnecke Room 203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654

The Leland Library & Leelanau Historical Society is partnering with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to host this free community premiere of Water, Sand and Sky.

Water, Sand and Sky explores the stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and captivating history of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This 71,199-acre national park hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, where miles of sand beach, towering bluffs, lush forests, and clear inland lakes, make up the natural world and provide the setting for a rich human history. Sleeping Bear Dunes is part of the world’s largest freshwater dune ecosystem. The immense sand dunes are the products of vast glaciers that covered the landscape thousands of years ago. Today, the land is cared for by the National Park Service, making it possible for us all to enjoy adventures in this breathtaking, ever-changing environment. Water, Sand, and Sky makes Sleeping Bear Dunes more accessible than ever before with 4K cinematography, 5.1 surround sound, and rarely seen archival imagery. The film brings the sights, sounds, and stories of the park to vivid life, transporting viewers back in time and inspiring a deep appreciation for this extraordinary corner of the earth.

A Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Representative will be introducing this 25 minute premiere.

“Harborless” by Poet Cindy Hunter Morgan

April 12th 2022, 7pm
Presented by author Cindy Hunter Morgan

Join author and poet, Cindy Hunter Morgan discussing her new book Harborless.

Harborless, a collection of poems informed by Great Lakes shipwrecks, is part history and part reinvention. The poems explore tragic wrecks in rivers and lakes, finding and forming artistic meaning from destruction and death. Each poem begins in a real, historical moment that Cindy Hunter Morgan transforms into an imagined truth. The imaginative element is essential to this work as it provides a previously unseen glimpse into the lives affected by shipwrecks. The poems in Harborless confront the mysteries surrounding the objects that cover the floor of the Great Lakes by both deepening our understanding of the unknown and teaching great empathy for a life most of us will never know.

Morgan creates a melodic and eerie scene for each poem, memorializing ships through lines such as, “Fishermen wondered why they caught Balsam and Spruce / their nets full of forests, not fish,” and “They touched places light could not reach.” Most of the poems are titled after the name of a ship, the year of the wreck, and the lake in which the ship met disaster. The book’s time frame spans from wrecks that precede the Civil War to those involving modern ore carriers.

“The Farrants of Glen Haven and Empire: A Story Restored”

May 3rd, 4pm
Presented by authors: Mae Keller, Kay Bond, and Andrew White
Hybrid Event
In-person Attendance: Munnecke Room 203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654
Zoom (Virtual Attendance): https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-CVx65r-TACEeh3AjQkqJA

Join us for a presentation marking the release of this new local history book. Take a step back in time and learn about the Farrants of Glen Haven & Empire. Copies will be available for purchase at event. 

This book is a lens on the life and times of the Leelanau Peninsula, 1860’s-1930’s, told through several generations of the Farrant Family.

“Through this thorough documentation of the Farrant family, Mae Keller, Kay Bond, and Andrew White have provided a rich view of life in the Sleeping Bear Region – full of detail and color relating to the Farrants and their neighbors. It is an extensive chronicle and a great pleasure.” -Tom Van Zoeren

Who Was Jane Johnston Schoolcraft?

June 15th 2022, 7pm
Presented by Author Robert Dale Parker

Robert Dale Parker will introduce the life and writings of Bamewawagezhikaquay/Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (1800-1842), the northern Michigan poet and fiction writer who was the first Native American literary writer.

Author Bio: Robert Dale Parker is a scholar of American literature, including Native American literature. His book The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was selected by the Library of Michigan as a Michigan Notable Book. It includes a cultural biography of Bamewawagezhikaquay/Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, along with her poetry, fiction, and other writings. Parker has also published books about the history of Native American literature, the writings of William Faulkner and Elizabeth Bishop, and a book called How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies. An award-winning teacher, he is the Frank Hodgins Professor of English at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Guardians of the Manitou Passage

July 12th 2022, 4:00pm
Presented by Author Jonathan P. Hawley
Hybrid Event: In-Person & Zoom attendance options.
In-Person: Leelanau Historical Society, Munnecke Room, 203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654
Registration: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WyJKsvb6ReqxIsPTkPuLNw

Join author and historian Jonathon P. Hawley for this presentation about his newly released book (2022) Guardians of The Manitou Passage, A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners 1840-1915. His work is an insightful account of lifesaving services by US lightkeepers and surfmen who battled high winds and wavs, frigid temperatures, and icy shores during their mission to protect lives on Lake Michigan. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

Sugar Loaf Discovery Day

Sat. July 23rd 2022, 10:00-4:00pm
Leelanau Historical Society, Munnecke Room, 203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654

Are you a Sugar Loafer?

Join us for a workshop in the Munnecke Room (203 E. Cedar St. Leland) Where our team of archivists will be on hand to scan, record, & photograph your Sugar Loaf documents, artifacts, and oral histories.

Sugar Loaf, during its heyday, was the center of community life, work & play. Join LHS for a community curated exhibit. Gather up your memorabilia, photographs, stories, & help LHS tell Sugar Loaf’s story. Open House from 10:00am -4:00pm. No appointment needed.

Free Museum Admission on 7/23. View Sugar Loaf artifacts on display & learn more about the Loaf’s early history.


How does the Sugar Loaf Discovery Day work?

Whether you have 2D objects (ex. photographs, documents) 3D objects, (ex. ski gear or memorabilia) or verbal stories to share, LHS has the tools to scan, record, and archive your contributions.

Bring your items in on Sat. July 23rd. and let us know how you’d like your contributions submitted:

  1. Donate the artifact(s) to the Leelanau Historical Society’s permanent Collection.
  2. Loan the artifact(s) to the Leelanau Historical Society for the duration of the Sugar Loaf Exhibit.
  3. Digital Donation (ex. photos can be scanned, originals returned, LHS retains the right to use the digital file for future use.)


Can’t make it on this date?
Fill out this online form & tell us what Sugar Loaf history you
want to contribute and We’ll follow up with you.

Questions? Please contact us at info@leelanauhistory.org | (231) 256-7475

Annual Port Oneida Fair

August 12-13th 2022, 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 featuring early Leelanau Maps, and Lighthouses of the Manitou Passage. You can find us at Site #2 Kelderhouse Farm both Friday & Saturday. Learn more.

Golfathon Fundraiser

September 6th 2022, 2022
 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.
Learn More & Donate.

North Manitou Island Day Trip 2022

September 12th (Rain Date September 13th)
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. 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. Daily schedule and speakers to be announced.
$85 for members or $110 for non-members.
Learn More

Registration Closed

Wood Boats on The Wall & Leelanau Maritime History Festival

September 17th 2022, 10-3pm
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 inaugural year of this festival celebrating Leelanau Maritime history. Tents/tables will be set up on the back lawn of the museum along the Leland River. Enjoy live music by Song of the Lakes and a food vendor while visiting each tent and learning about the many organizations and individuals who bring maritime history to life.

Participating Vendors Include:
Maritime Heritage Alliance, Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Lake Leelanau Lake Association, Vintage Views Press, Author Kathy Firestone, Author & Shipwreck Hunter Ross Richardson, Basile’s Workshop, Sweeties Homemade Baked Goods, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Hot Dog Lunch Vendor.

Interested in being a vendor? Email Kim at info@leelanauhistory.org

In addition, the Leelanau Historical Society’s indoor exhibits will be free of charge that day, September 17th, 10-3pm.

Annual Meeting of the Leelanau Historical Society

September 21st, 3:00pm
In-Person Event: Munnecke Room, 203 E. Cedar. St. Leland, MI 49654

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.

Anishinaabe History Program

October 10th, 4pm
Presented by JoAnne Cook
In-Person: Munnecke Room, 203 E. Cedar. St. Leland, MI 49654

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Oct. 10th) join the Leelanau Historical Society with speaker JoAnne Cook who 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.

JoAnne, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians, is from Peshawbestown, MI. Her previous professional experience includes one term on Tribal Council (2012-2016) and with Tribal Courts as a Tribal Court Judge for two tribal communities (1994-2011). She received her Business Administration degree from Ferris State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin School of Law. JoAnne was involved in the organization and development of two alternative courts: Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court). The alternative courts utilize tradition and culture which allows for healing and restoring balance for those involved. She has begun consulting with native and nonnative communities who are either developing Peacemaking or a Healing to Wellness Court. She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinaabe way of life and has continued her learning about the Three Fires people.

JoAnne has presented to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. In addition, she previously taught Business Law for Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and a course at NMC Extended Education, titled Native Law and Culture.

Shipwreck Week | Nov. 7th-11th, 2022

Join the Leelanau Historical Society Museum in honoring Leelanau’s rich maritime history with a week of maritime-themed trivia with prizes, a virtual presentation, and maritime & shipwreck movies played at the museum. Special additions to the Shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage Exhibit will also be featured for the duration of the week. Starts Monday Nov. 7th and runs until Friday Nov. 11th.

Shipwreck Week Schedule:


  • Nov. 7thMaritime Trivia Begins! Tune into the Leelanau Historical Society’s Facebook Page to see the daily trivia questions. Starts Mon 11/7, and ends Friday 11/11. Test your knowledge and win some maritime swag from the LHS Gift Shop. The first, most accurate answer in the comment section will be considered a winner, and will be notified at the end of the Shipwreck Week via Facebook messenger.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook to partake in the daily trivia questions
and other maritime-related articles & content.


  • Nov. 8th, 3:30pm, at the museum (203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654)
    Film Screening of “The Wreck and Rescue of the Schooner J.H. Hartzell”.
    Directed by Richard Brauer, Written by William D. O’Conner, Starring Henry Scheidewind. Duration 43 min. Join us afterwards for a Q&A with the Director, Rich Brauer.

    This is a free screening – movie snacks and comfy seats will be made available. Donations are gratefully accepted.
The Wreck and Rescue of the Schooner J.H. Hartzell (1988)

“It was dark as pitch at 3:00 am October sixteenth, 1880. The night was calm and the winds were light. Captain William Jones skillfully guided his big schooner toward the Frankfort harbor. He chose to wait for daylight before entering. It was a tragic decision. With unbelievable quickness, the winds shifted and a raging storm descended over Lake Michigan. In the furious darkness, Jones found that he could not control his ship. It soon ran aground on a sandbar, directly in front of the Elberta bluffs. In an effort to escape the violent surf, the crew took refuge in the precarious rigging. The cook, Lydia Dale, was weak with illness and was carried aloft through the extraordinary efforts of the crew.

The rescue that followed went down in history as one of the most heroic and challenging of the United States Life Saving Service. The bitter wind and snow, the howling seas, and the logistics of the wreck site all took their toll on both victims and rescuers. Endorsed by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History.”


  • Nov. 9th, 7:00pm – Virtual Event “November Gales” by Ric Mixter
    In this very popular virtual lecture, Ric Mixter shares not only insight and rare survivor interviews from autumn gales, but also first hand accounts of dives to freighters lost to the winds.


  • Nov. 10th, 3:30pm at the museum (203 E. Cedar St. Leland, MI 49654)
    Documentary Screening of “Storm Warriors Heroes of the Shipwreck Coast”
    Directed & Written by Scott Erlinder. Duration 60min. Join us afterwards for a Q&A with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore representative, Matt Mohrman.

    This is a free screening – movie snacks and comfy seats will be made available. Donations are gratefully accepted.
Storm Warriors: Heroes of the Shipwreck Coast (2004)

Storm Warriors: Heroes of the Shipwreck Coast chronicles stories and events along the southeastern stretch of Lake Superior shore where over 150 ships have gone down – including the 700 foot long Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. “Alone on a lonely shore, the men and women of the Shipwreck Coast were on constant watch from the late 180’s to the 1940’s. Their deeds have been largely unheralded and many of their stories lost. This saga of people of dedication, of sacrifice and of valor at a time of national expansion and the settling of what is still a remote and lonely island. Vital to the commerce of two nations, Lake Superior and its shore continue to be a challenge for all those who sail her waters and brae her fickle weather. Dedicated to the fortitude of sailors, the members of the U.S. Light House Service and , especially the U.S. Saving Service, Storm Warriors is a step back in time in character – when regulations stated “You always have to go out”, they say nothing about coming back.


November Gales – Virtual Program

November 9th 2022, 7pm
Presented by Ric Mixter
Virtual Zoom Lecture:
Register Here

Autumn storms are notorious on the Great Lakes and Ric has studied their devastating effect for over 25 years. This lecture features storms in 1905, 1913, 1940 and the wrecks of the Fitzgerald, Morrell, and Bradley. Rare interviews with survivors as well as footage from each of the ships makes this spellbinding lecture very special.

The witch of November has terrorized the Great Lakes since the first Americans paddled the shorelines. Fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and chilled by an Arctic jet stream, these storms wreak havoc on the lakes and bring notorious storms that have sunk the largest freighters lost on the inland seas.

In this very popular lecture, Ric Mixter shares not only insight and rare survivor interviews from autumn gales, but also first hand accounts of dives to freighters lost to the winds. From his dive to the Edmund Fitzgerald and help in rediscovery of the Carl Bradley to the unique destruction of the Daniel J Morrell and miraculous survival of Dennis Hale, Ric Mixter shares details and underwater footage that you’ve never seen in any other lecture on the topic. Chronicling modern storms from 1905 to 1975, this lecture is very popular anywhere in the midwest, as it features many of the wrecks that have been chronicled in countless books. Ric shares what it’s like to dive the shipwrecks from submarines and with SCUBA and he brings 30 years of award-winning research to the podium.

Included in this are his exclusive interviews with two sailors who took on 126 mile per hour winds during the 1940 Armistice Day Storm.

Energetic and knowledgable, Ric is one of the most requested speakers on the Great Lakes, not only based on his personality but also on his ability to dig for details that other lecturers have missed.

Bottled Goodbyes

November 30th 2022, 7pm
Presented by Ric Mixter
Virtual Zoom Lecture: Registration Closed

CSPAN Streaming of Event : https://www.c-span.org/video/?525072-1/bottled-goodbyes&fbclid=IwAR2HAR6-U8Snrw8PXfvxJE-yX4-Y-zA7naljblfJSmcY-Xr3JA8Bv0Tpyvs

Based on Ric’s brand-new book, this first-ever compilation covers famous messages from Titanic to the Great Lakes, including haunting messages from the Great Storm of 1913. Ric also covers the newly discovered Pere Marquette 18, and how radio squelched the fad of floating farewells. Also includes messages from PT Barnum’s balloonist that was lost over Lake Michigan.

Bottled messages have been discovered on shore nearly as long as glass containers have been invented. They bring tidings from ocean voyagers, invitations for pen-pals, tragic attempts for rescue and floating farewells from long lost souls.

Based on Ric Mixter’s new book, Bottled Goodbyes chronicles the most famous messages ever recovered, including three bottles found after the Titanic disaster. One of those messages was allegedly from a White House aide who served two U.S. presidents!

Ric also investigates five messages that floated ashore from the Great Storm of 1913 and shares in-depth information on the barge Plymouth and Lightship 82 notes. Both ships were lost with their entire crews, so the messages recovered made national headlines. Each of the Great Lakes are highlighted, making this a lecture that can be shared anywhere on the inland seas. Of particular interest are the near crashes of Balloonist Washington Donaldson in lakes Ontario and Michigan and the final flight that took his life off the Michigan coast in 1875.

Ric also investigates the development of radio on the Great Lakes and how that led to a decrease in bottles recovered. The rescue of the Pere Marquette 18 Carferry is specifically highlighted as an example. That ship was discovered in the summer of 2020 in 500 feet of water off the coast of Wisconsin.