History Day celebrates Baldwin's Sesquicentennial

Lake County Historical Museum hosted historical re-enactors, as well as artifacts from the mid- to late 1800s

BALDWIN — Throughout the past few weeks, the community has been invited to enjoy events hosted by the Lake County Historical Society in honor of Baldwin's Sesquicentennial. On Saturday, Aug. 27, History Day at the Lake County Historical Museum was a hit with community members and visitors to the area. 

Along with historical re-enactors Julia Wheelock, of the Civil War era, portrayed by Marty Corson; Baldwin saloon keeper Hank Rudd, portrayed by Bruce Micinski; and Marlborough Inn cook, Adelaid Hoskins with her famous Marlborough pie, portrayed by Rose Dionne; guests also enjoyed visiting Smokey the Bear.

Michigan State University Extension Lake County 4-H Director Aaron Meyers offered hands-on instructions of old-fashioned games in the museum yard, and people were able to try and guess the names and functions of different antique gadgets and tools with the "What is it?” contest.

One of the highlights of History Day was the unveiling of three new artifacts to the museum - a ladies bicycle from the 1890s and a circa-1870 fire hose cart.

"What is so exciting is this photograph from the museum of the Baldwin Fire Hall, which is about where Pandora's is, but there is a fire hose cart just like this one," said LCHM Curator Jill Engelman, comparing the old photo to the artifact.

A third artifact was a dugout canoe from the 1800s recovered from the Lake County area. It is on life-loan to the museum from the historical museum in Manistee.

"This is a circa mid-1800s dugout. It is not as crude as some you may have seen pictures of, but very similar to a lot of these in photos which were made in that time-period," Engelman said. “The LCHM are looking into radio-carbon testing it, and also plan on doing restoration and stabilization on the canoe during the winter.”

She added, the item was recovered from the local area, so it was probably either used by the Ojibwe or the Odawa Indians. 

“It may have been made by an early pioneer," she said, mentioning how Martin Johnson, a pioneer in Irons, made a dugout canoe around 1890.

In addition to History Day, folks came out Sept. 10 to listen to interviews of third-generation Baldwin business owners at the museum boathouse stage. Baldwin Lumber Company was featured with Jane Allison, the Duffing Barber Shop with Noel (Duffy) Duffing, and the Lake-Osceola State Bank with Deborah Smith-Olson.

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, Bruce Micinski, in character as Baldwin Saloon Keeper Hank Rudd, gave a tour through downtown Baldwin, telling stories of the "old days." Despite the rain, 12 people enjoyed the tour.

For more Sesquicentennial fun to come, check out the Lake County Historical Museum Facebook Page for information and updates.