Lake County Historical Museum reopens for the 2022 season 

The History of the Pere Marquette River, with timeline and artifacts, is an exhibit at the Lake County Historical Society.

The History of the Pere Marquette River, with timeline and artifacts, is an exhibit at the Lake County Historical Society.

Courtesy of the Lake County Historical Society

BALDWIN — The Lake County Historical Museum is open again for the 2022 season with new exhibits to see and experience. As this is the Village of Baldwin’s Sesquicentennial, we are celebrating with exhibits featuring 150 years of our history and are planning numerous community events throughout the year.  


“Spread the Word” exhibit: One of the exciting displays that has been completed this spring is an extensive collection of Village of Baldwin advertising. The exhibit “Spread the Word” will take you on a journey down memory lane with everything from calendars, thermometers, business cards and invoices, menus, hand held fans, and many commemorative items given away by local businesses.  Larger items such as the metal sign “Baldwin” are joined by signage advertising various businesses. 

“The Doctor Is In…..” exhibit: Another fascinating exhibit is “The Doctor Is In…..”  This display records the history of physicians and healthcare in Lake County since the 1870s.  

  • Dr. Isaac Howe came to Ellsworth Township in Lake County in 1873 and set up his medical practice, frequently making house calls in his horse and buggy.  At the same time Dr. Howe was elected sheriff of Lake County.  
  • Dr. George Field often received cattle or hogs for his services as patients were not able to pay his fees in cash.  
  • Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was an important physician not only to Idlewild, but to the entire United States. He was the first to open a chest cavity and to preform heart surgery.

These are just three of the county’s doctors with stories to tell.  The exhibit features 13 physicians, both men and women, who served our area.  In addition to their stories, their surgical instruments, medicine bottles and medical furniture are on display.    

"History of The Pere Marquette River" exhibit: An exhibit sure to get a lot of attention this year is the History of The Pere Marquette River.  The display takes the visitor on a tour of the evolution of the river from the time of Father Jacques Marquette’s visit in 1675 through the settlement of the Ottawa Indians, the logging industry’s impact, and through the early years of the trout fishing industry. All made the Pere Marquette River what it is today.  

Come find out the story about the 1893 birch bark wood plaque of a monster brook trout and how it found its way from Canada to the Little South Camp along the Pere Marquette River.  Special items in the exhibit include two of Don Ingle’s original fishing cartoons, trout files custom tied by Josephine Sedlecky and a Fly Shop sign from Ivan’s Pere Marquette Camp.  

Lake County Sheriff exhibit: Our first Lake County Sheriff was elected 151 years ago. George Collier served two years: 1871-1872. He is followed by 35 men and women who continued to serve and protect our community.  Photos, stories, artifacts including hand cuffs, sheriff stars, constable badges help tell the story of their service.  Cartoons of re-election campaigns are of special interest – one illustrates caricatures of various Lake County people.  Come see who you can identify.  

Baldwin's 100th Anniversary exhibit: As Baldwin is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, we felt it appropriate to show how the community celebrated 50 years ago at its 100th Anniversary.  This display includes numerous photographs, mounted newspaper articles and commemorative items including some pieces from Harold Allison’s glass blowing demonstrations.  


Returning exhibits: These new exhibits join several displays held over from last fall. Marlborough and the Great Northern Portland Cement Company; Idlewild history; The story of the stealing of the safe (and thus the county seat) from Chase; the Boat House boat collection; and more. 

Folk Fridays: The Museum’s FOLK FRIDAYS concert series will return with performances beginning Friday, July 29 and continue the next three Fridays in August.  More information to follow.

Calendar of events: We will soon publish the yearly calendar of events for the Sesquicentennial activities. Watch for details of Baldwin Historical Walking Tours, Cemetery Tour, Lake County History Day, Baldwin Street Fair, MSUE Native Plant Workshop, Pathfinder Library story hours, book and bake sales, Shrine of the Pines picnic, special Troutarama events and much more.  


Join us to explore your local history.  Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.  

  • Hours: The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The Research Library is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoons or by appointment.  
  • Location: 915 N. Michigan Ave., Baldwin (northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Eighth Street).
  • More: For more information or to make an appointment, please call the Museum at 231-898-6500.   

— This article was submitted by Jill Engelman, museum curator at the Lake County Historical Society.