Lake County prepares for sesquicentennial celebration

Events run Sept. 25-Oct. 2

In 1871 — 150 years ago — Lake County was organized into a formal county. Now, the county is celebrating with week-long events and activities, which are designed for the entire family.

The Lake County Sesquicentennial Salmon Run will kick off the week’s activities on Saturday, Sept. 25. Register for the run at 8 a.m. at the Baldwin Village Hall.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the Shrine of the Pines Furniture Museum will hold a Scavenger Hunt on along their property’s Nature Walk. This event is tentative, depending on completion of storm damage clean up.

At noon, the 1876 Spears Grove one-room school north of Chase, the one-room 1901 Eden Township Unit School in Irons, and the two-room 1907 Big Bass Lake School — now the Sauble Township Hall — on Big Bass Lake will be open for tours until 3 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to see the inside of these historic schools. The Lake County Historical Museum has the new publication “One-Room Schools of Lake County, a history and self-driving guide” on sale in the gift shop.

Also on Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., Civil War re-enactors from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Finch Camp of Traverse City will be at the Lake County Historical Museum. The men and women will be in uniform and have variety of exhibits for the public to view.

While you are at the museum, make sure you see the new Life in the 1870’s exhibit – a cabin filled with all the earthly belongings of an immigrant family who just arrived in Lake County. A working scale model of the Lake County Logging Railroad and lumber mill will be on display as well – and the public can watch the trains in motion and the ongoing work at the mill.

The Pathfinder Community Library in Baldwin will also celebrate the grand opening of their garden with cake and cider for visitors on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. Check out the special display of Lake County and Michigan history books while you are there.

Another event not to be missed is the Chase Township Library Pickle Fest. The Wallace family was instrumental with the creation of the library, taking the former Chase Township School and repurposing it as the public library.

The Chase area was known for growing cucumbers and selling the resulting pickles all over the Midwest. Thus, the Pickle Festival was born. This fundraiser is something the entire community looks forward to each year.

From 1-5 p.m. the library will host a book sale, kid’s games, a bake sale, prince and princess pageant, a pickle cook off and a pickle tasting. Sesquicentennial Pickle Fest t-shirts, designed by Shanna Avery, will be available at the event.

The Chase Township Historical Museum will present a Native American Program by Sid Woods on Sunday afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. He will share the stories behind numerous artifacts found on his family’s properties in Pinora Township. Following the program there will be a tour of the Gould Native American Cemetery.

Two other cemetery walks will also be held. Mary Westerhof will lead visitors through the Peacock Cemetery on Monday evening and Sid Woods will highlight the graves of Civil War Veterans to those attending the Chase Township Cemetery walk on Tuesday evening. Many early settlers in Lake County, especially along the eastern half of the county, were those who had served in the war and subsequently received land grants.

On Wednesday, the Lake County Historical Museum will present the first of several programs “A Look Back”. This week’s program will feature Carr Settlement. At 6 p.m. Bruce Micinski will interview several long-time residents to learn what made their community so special, who the founders were, and their stories.

This program will be held at the open doors of the Boat House with the audience outside. Bring your own lawn chairs or you can remain in your cars to hear the discussion. It is the museum’s goal to continue this program on a monthly basis, highlighting different communities throughout the county.

Karen Neiger will present a program on Lake County Lumbering Days at the Luther Area Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The local history of big wheels, logging railroads, shingle mills, log drives and so many other aspects of logging from the 1870s through 1900 will be shared. Stop in to learn more about the logging heritage that was so important to Lake County’s development.

All week long area restaurants will be featuring specials with the Sesquicentennial in mind. Stop and enjoy a Log Dog at Shoey’s Log Bar, or a number of other great specials at Brook’s Corners, Chase Creek Smokehouse and the new restaurant in Baldwin – 876. And, if you’re a bicycle rider – grab a new brochure on the Pere Marquette State Trail that is a self-guided tour of historical points of interest along the trail.

These new trail guides will be available at the Lake County Historical Museum as well as many local businesses. Make sure you do a walking tour of Baldwin too. Local businesses on Michigan Avenue and Eighth Streets will have historically themed window displays. With Duffy’s antique barber tools and Shear Delight’s hair salon items, 1900’s Wash & Iron Day at Pandora’s Box, Ice Cream delights at Jones Ice Cream, vintage construction tools and an old railroad wagon at Baldwin Lumber, a general store at Red Tree Curosities, 1950’s children’s toys at Boyer Insurance, and several more, there is something of interest for everyone.

Commemorative Lake County Sesquicentennial sweatshirts are available at the Lake County Historical Museum, Pandora’s Box and Baldwin Lumber.