Lake County recognized by State for Sesquicentennial

Historical Society called it a 'great week of fun activities'

BALDWIN — "One-hundred-fifty-years, and our story is still unfolding," was the motto in Lake County during its observance of its Sesquicentennial.

Planned and spearheaded by the Lake County Historical Society, the week-long celebration was a collaborative effort of many organizations, municipalities and business owners throughout the county in a united effort to celebrate the county's past.

Even the State of Michigan joined in the milestone occasion with Melissa Fish, of the governor's office, presenting a Sesquicentennial certificate to Lake County Clerk Patti Pacola, and Bruce Micinski, president of the Lake County Historical Society, on Oct. 1 at the Lake County Historical Museum.

"Let it be known, that it is with utmost joy and great pride that we honor the Sesquicentennial anniversary of Lake County. Throughout its history, Lake County has made its mark as an essential tourist destination and memorable spot to enjoy its rich natural resources," the opening paragraph of the document signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist stated.

Following the presentation of the certificates, the group went to the courthouse to look at the 37-star American flag presented to the town of Baldwin by Gov. Baldwin in 1872, for using his namesake.

Other enriching activities during the week included a cemetery tours of the Peacock Cemetery by Mary Westerhoff and the Chase Township Cemetery by Sid Woods.

A program, "A Look Back in Carr Settlement," featured a panel of long-time residents of Carr Settlement, including Vicki Anthony, John LaPointe and Marcia Merklinger, sharing stories and memories, as they were interviewed by Micinkski on Sept. 29. At the Luther Area Public Library, Karen Neiger took her audience back to the days of logging in Lake County and Luther.

On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 30, author Ron Stephens led a driving tour through Idlewild, stopping at historic landmarks.

On Thursday evening, Midwest folk artist Christ Vallilo performed a range of songs from the 1870s to the 1910s at the boathouse stage at the Lake County Historical Museum.

Vallilo referred to the museum as a very special place, and how he is impressed with the efforts to preserve the local heritage.

On Friday, Oct. 1, the Baldwin community was treated to a car show downtown. Folks were also encouraged to check out window displays with Sesquicentennial themes and artifacts, and restaurants with specials to commemorate the celebration.

Baldwin Lumber even had a railroad express wagon used for baggage and mail from the Pere Marquette Railroad, and a horse-drawn McCormick wagon displayed outside.

A Chili Cook-off at Webber Town Hall on Friday raised $204 in donations, and a first place prize of $100 gift certificate, also donated by the winner of the cook-off, to help a firefighter family.

"We had a steady turnout and everyone had a good time," said Webber Township Supervisor Ernie Wogatzke. "Thank you to everyone for volunteering and donating to help our firefighter family get back on their feet."

Saturday, Oct. 2, concluded the week-long celebration in a big way, with fun old-fashioned games hosted by Lake County 4-H at the Lake County Historical Museum, and the What is it Game, where people guess the antique. In Luther, a fancy time of tea, appetizers and entertainment was enjoyed by many, with proceeds to benefit the Luther Area Museum and Luther Lions Club. A founder's tribute, honoring descendants of 23 founding families, with music by Pine Stump Savages, and ice cream from Jones', was a fitting finale for the milestone occasion.

"Thank you Bruce, Jill, Helen and everyone who put so much time in putting this all together," said Pathfinder Library Director Bonnie Povilaitis to members of the historical society during the closing event, also thanking donors and others who participated. "That's why we're all proud to be from Lake County."

The Lake County Historical Society also thanks volunteers, organizations and businesses all over the county for their participation in the Lake County Sesquicentennial Celebration, calling it a "great week of fun activities."