2024 Calendar of Events


Maple Syrup Workshop

Hosted in partnership with the Leelanau Conservation District
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 6-8 PM
In-Person Event:
Leelanau Government Center (Downstairs)
8527 E Government Center Dr, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

Learn about the history of Leelanau COunty’s hardwood forests and maple syrup production. Registration is free!

Come enjoy some pancakes and community while learning about the history of Leelanau county’s forests and maple syrup production. Leelanau Historical Society Staff will be giving a short presentation “Tapping into History: Maple Syrup in Leelanau”, a history of maple sugaring in Leelanau County beginning with the Anishinaabek. Featuring historic images and artifacts from the region.

We’d love to have an idea for a headcount, please RSVP to Karen Long at the Conservation District Office (231-256-9783 | klong@leelanau.gov).


Women of the Manitou Islands – Virtual Program

Presented by Stacie Longwell Sadowski
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 7 PM
Virtual Program: 
Zoom Online
Register Here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rY_VWMINTDaFAGoc_XPnVg#/registration

Celebrate Women’s History Month by learning about the strong and determined women of the Manitou Islands. The North and South Manitou Island are places of mystery, with many shuttered old homes and ruins, evidence of a once-thriving community. Now a destination for summer vacationers on day visits or
camping trips, its rich history is frozen in time in the aging structures, hidden roads, agricultural landscapes and remote beauty. Join us as we explore island life in the late 1800s through the late 1900s, through the stories of the women who lived and worked there, building families and communities on the islands. From the women who arrived with early European settlers to those who stayed well into the establishment of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, hear the history of the islands through their stories. Featuring North Islanders Arlene Fluelling, Rita Hadra Rusco, Katie Shepard, and Zella Hutzler; and South Islanders Florence Hass, Mollie Anderson, Bertha Peth, and Margaretha Hutzler.

About the Presenter
Stacie Longwell Sadowski is an avid North and South Manitou Backpacker and Historian, Outdoor Writer, and Volunteer with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She is also employed at the Leelanau Conservancy as an Executive Administrator & Board Liaison, and serves on the boards of the Leelanau Historical Society and Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. Stacie and her husband Vince are co-owners and creators of Two Weeks in a Hammock, an education and outreach initiative to inspire regular folks to get out into nature.


Workshop – Researching Digital Newspapers

April 4th 2024, at 1:00pm | Glen Lake Community Library  
10115 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630 

The Leelanau Historical Society is offering a free workshop for the public to learn about Central Michigan University’s Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal. The portal is a free website for researching Michigan’s historic newspapers.

The workshop aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal as a research tool. 
  • Educate the community of current newspaper preservation efforts.  
  • How to use this free resource for your research needs.
  • Opportunity to work with historical society staff on your research questions.

Interactive Workshop
The workshop will consist of a short presentation on Leelanau’s historic newspapers and the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal. Staff will walk attendees through a sample research prompt before letting them explore the portal and have their questions answered. Registration is required.

The workshop will last about an hour and is held in person. (See schedule below). Workshops are led by Leelanau Historical Society Staff and volunteer historians who have worked extensively with the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal. 

Options for workshop attendees:

  • Bring your personal laptop/tablet, or
  • Sign up for a laptop provided by the Library.
    (available on a first come, first service basis), or
  • Just observe and participate in the Q&As, or
  • Bring a friend and learn together! 

We encourage each participant to come prepared with a specific Leelanau/Michigan-based historic topic, person, or event they wish to research.

Questions about the workshops?
Contact Leelanau Historical Society Staff at (231) 256-7475 | info@leelanauhistory.org
*This workshop will be repeated again Fall 2024. Dates and locations to be announced.

About the Digital Michigan Newspaper Collection
The Leelanau Historical Society partnered with the Clarke Historical Library in 2017 to add Leelanau County’s historic newspapers to their Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal. This free online database contains 87,985 newspaper issues comprising 916,798 pages collectively from 32 Michigan Counties and counting. For nearly 50 years, the Clarke Historical Library has been actively preserving Michigan’s historic newspapers through microfilm. Over the last decade, it has begun to convert the treasure trove of historical newspapers found on microfilm both here and around the state into digital formats that can be accessed on-line. View the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal.


 Check back often! - More events to be announced. 


PAST 2024 EVENTS


Maritime Pursuits of the House of David

January 23rd, 2024 at 7:00 pm
Virtual Program: Zoom online program
Program Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6CNW9DYOgo

Join Robert Myers of the Historical Society of Michigan for a virtual program about the House of David’s Great Waters Transportation Company.  In 1903, millennialist preachers Benjamin and Mary Purnell founded the Israelite House of David religious order in Benton Harbor. Seeking ways to fund their communal society, they set up logging camps at Aral, Michigan and, later, on High Island, and created a shipping company to transport the lumber. Join us on Zoom to learn about the House of David, its maritime pursuits, and the tragic ends of all three of its vessels.


PAST 2023 EVENTS


Diving Leelanau with Chris Roxburgh

December 6th, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Virtual Program: Zoom online program
Registration Link: Zoom Registration

Join us for a virtual program featuring Chris Roxburgh’s pictorial journey of diving Leelanau’s waters. Chris Roxburgh grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and has combined his love of adventure, diving, and photography, to share with us what lies at the bottom of the lake. 

About the Photographer
Chris Roxburgh, a renowned underwater photographer and author, has gained widespread recognition for his exceptional work capturing shipwrecks in the Great Lakes region. His remarkable photography and environmental efforts have been featured on local and national news platforms multiple times. He is the author of the highly acclaimed hardcover nonfiction book “Leelanau Underwater,” which has become the top-selling book in Northern Michigan. This book vividly showcases the shipwrecks in his hometown of The Manitou Passage, situated in Leelanau County, Michigan. Chris’s impressive work has been featured in several prominent publications, including the History Channel, Outside magazine, and The Smithsonian, among others, as he continues to document shipwrecks throughout the Great Lakes region. In addition to his artistic accomplishments, he is actively working to raise awareness about the growing problem of plastics pollution in the Great Lakes, and he is a passionate advocate for preserving and protecting our precious waters.

A Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe History Project Summary: talking about the past for the present (and the future)

November 29th, 2023, 6:00 – 7:30pm
In-Person Event: Suttons Bay High School Auditorium, (310 S Elm St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682)

Join the Leelanau Historical Society and the Omena Historical Society for a free event open to the public.

The Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe History Project was started in 2021 by Emily Modrall in an effort to bring greater visibility and awareness to the very long history of this region as an Anishinaabe homeland. Her presentation this evening summarizes this project and its outcomes as the project enters its final months.

Kchi Wiikwedong (Grand Traverse Bay)
Anishinaabe (Original People)

About the Speaker:
Emily Modrall grew up in Suttons Bay. She completed a PhD in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, during which she worked in Italy with research teams from American, Canadian, and European universities. Her own research, supported in part by a Fulbright grant, focused on ancient indigenous communities in southern Italy during periods of war and colonization. Since 2018, Emily has worked in Traverse City in communications, public relations, and philanthropy. She serves on the board of the Traverse Area Historical Society.

Artwork by Sarah Agaton Howes

Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe History Project in the Press: Leelanau Enterprise, The Ticker.



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

2023 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.

Indigenous People’s Day Program

October 9th, 12:00-2:00 pm
Free In-Person Event at
Old Art Building
111 S. Main Street, Leland, MI 49654

Leland Cultural Campus Welcomes Indigenous Peoples’ Day Speakers

The Leland Cultural Campus, comprising the Old Art Building, Leland Township Public Library, Leelanau Historical Society, and Fishtown Preservation Society, proudly announces a special event in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 9, 2023. This event will feature three local speakers who will shed light on various aspects of Indigenous culture, history, and activism.

Program Details:

12:00 PM : Doors open, Jamie John artwork for sale
1:00 PM : Speaking Event begins, featuring JoAnne Cook, Holly T. Bird and Jamie John
2:30 PM : Speaking Event concludes

Jamie, Holly and JoAnne shall remain afterwards to answer questions and continue conversations.

Speakers:

JoAnne Cook is an educator and Chief Appellate Judge for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. Cook has presented to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinaabe way of life and has continued her learning about the Three Fires people. Her extensive background includes a Business Administration degree from Ferris State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin School of Law. She has been instrumental in the development of alternative courts, such as Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court, which incorporate tradition and culture to promote healing and balance. Cook’s commitment extends to consulting with native and nonnative communities seeking to establish these alternative court systems.

Holly T. Bird has a rich history of community activism, having championed both environmental and Indigenous causes. She served as Acting Chief Judge / Associate Judge for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians from 2008 to 2011. Bird’s accolades also include becoming the first Native American arbitrator in the US, awarded the prestigious American Arbitration Association’s 2013 Higginbotham Fellowship. Ms. Bird served as Co-Executive Director for the Water Protectors Legal Collective and founded and serves as the Executive Director for the MI Water Protectors Legal Task Force, a project of the National Lawyer’s Guild. Currently, Ms. Bird serves as Co-Executive Director for Title Track, a Michigan nonprofit dedicated to clean water, racial equity, and youth empowerment, and maintains a private practice in Traverse City.

Jamie John, a two-spirit trans and queer Anishinaabe and Korean-American multi-disciplinary artist, brings a unique perspective to the event. Dual-enrolled as a tribal citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the United States, Jamie’s journey of identity and belonging weaves through their art. Their work addresses the complexities of colonialism, Indigenous worldviews, gender variance, and intergenerational trauma. Jamie’s art serves as a poignant reminder that we are not in a post-colonial society. Their work uplifts stories of Indigenous resistance, kinship, and collective survival, shedding light on contemporary Indigeneity. Prints, zines and original art will be for sale at the event.


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

FREE EVENT

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

RED CARPET PREMIERE! FRIDAY, JUNE 16 (SOLD OUT)
SATURDAY, JUNE 17
SUNDAY MATINEE, JUNE 18

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:
LCHP.com


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:
RubyEllenFarm.org
231-590-9304


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
klong@leelanau.gov
231.256.9783


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!