2023 Lecture Series ​​

Thank you to  Dan Musser III, for a very entertaining event last night.

Monday, October 9, 2023, 7 PM

October 9th, join Bill Marvin as he talks about the past, present, and future of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society!

In-person Meeting  Mackinaw Area Public Library and Zoom


Meeting ID: 551 997 0204

Passcode: history



​​​​Past Programs


 Presenter  Captain Jennifer Doweker
“Nautical North Family Adventures”

Captain Jennifer Dowker holds many titles. Mom, entrepreneur, author, a USGC licensed captain, and owner of Nautical north Family Adventures, to name a few. As a part of a homeschooling business class, she and her three boys developed a business plan and implemented it successfully. Today, she is literally captain of her own ship, the Yankee Sunshine, that takes passengers out on the Great Lakes to peer through the glass bottom at all the wonder and history our area has to offer. She began Nautical North Family Adventures in 2018 with the intent of sharing her passion for our area with others and providing an exciting way for all to explore the Great Lakes and the interesting history that lies beneath the surface. She has many stories to share with us!

Monday January 9, 2023 7 PM 

Presentation: Mackinac Straits - a Raptor Superhighway
Presenter: Scott Davis, Executive Director, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch

Presentation Description: The Straits area is quickly becoming known as one of the most important raptor migratory corridors in the county. Come learn more about the tens of thousands of hawks, eagles, owls and even butterflies that cross over the Straits every spring and fall, and why the Straits area is so important to their migration.

Nov, 2022

Dr. Lynn Evans, presented the findings for the year 2022 at Fort Colonial Michilimackinac. 

Monday, Sept. 12, 2022  7 PM​
Fur Trade Tales
with Larry Youngs

Aug 2022

Kyle Bagnell Carrier Pigeons 

Once the most numerous bird species in the world, Passenger Pigeons thrived in Michigan for millennia. On September 24, 1889, Stewart E. White recorded the last pigeons ever seen on Mackinac Island, and the species slipped into extinction on September 1, 1914. Join Kyle Bagnall, MSHP Park Naturalist, as he shares the story of this incredible species through first-person accounts, lithographs, paintings, and photographs. Along the way, you’ll encounter pigeons at Mackinac through the eyes of familiar characters such as Alexander Henry, John Askin, Peter Pond, and John Tanner. This one-hour multimedia presentation brings to life a part of Michigan’s North Woods which disappeared over 130 years ago but still has important lessons for the 21st century.
About the Presenter: Kyle Bagnall joined Mackinac State Historic Parks as Park Naturalist in February 2021. Previously, he presented environmental history programs in Midland, Michigan at Chippewa Nature Center (1995-2017) and Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens (2017-2021). Kyle served as Michigan coordinator for Project Passenger Pigeon from 2011-2014. The project was an international effort to commemorate the extinction centenary of this amazing species, dedicated to building a more sustainable future.

Monthly Lecture Series 2022

Monday May 9th, 2022

Lumber mills were filled with hard-working characters who used various tools to harvest the precious timber for building ever-growing industries.
Join Dan McDonough as he shares stories from
the era of the great timber boom.
Dan is a champion log roller and owner of the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show.

April 11, 2022
Join Frank Boles, retired Director of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University and new resident of Mackinaw City on Monday night as he discusses the Mission and Outreach of The Clarke.  Frank will also discuss his current research project, a history of tourism in the Straits area.

Febuary 14, 2022 Jim Tamlyn Great Lakes Light House Association:  Lighthouse Stories

January 10, 2022  Kyle Bagnell January 10, 2022
Water, Trees & Stone: A Mill Creek Story
An unassuming stream just three miles from Mackinaw City, Mill Creek meanders about four miles before flowing into Lake Huron. Join Kyle Bagnall, Park Naturalist for Mackinac State Historic Parks, to hear how the story of this little waterway is larger than it seems. Our tale will flow with the current as we listen for sounds of ax and saw, step ashore with surveyors, fly with flocks of passenger pigeons, and cast a line while swatting mosquitoes. We’ll witness a landscape transformed as the swish of a scythe turned to blasts of dynamite, while a pulverizer crushed bedrock into powder. Today, visitors can enjoy a restored landscape that blends history and nature together at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park.
   Kyle Bagnall grew up in Richmond and Highland Michigan. He first started at Mackinac State Historic Parks as a member of the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp from 1984-1989, with Troop 168 of Port Huron. From 1990-1994, Kyle worked as a Historical Interpreter at Fort Mackinac. While there, he also completed an internship for MSHP and the City of Mackinac Island by platting interments in Ste. Anne’s Catholic Cemetery. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Public History from Western Michigan University in 1993, with research focus areas in historic cemetery interpretation and one-room schoolhouses.

   From 1995-2017, Kyle worked as Manager of Historical Programs at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Michigan. At CNC, he presented environmental history programs on a wide range of topics that highlight our human connection to the natural world. Features there include a reconstructed 1870s farm, log schoolhouse, maple sugarhouse, and wigwam. He also led many birding, paddling, backpacking, and snowshoeing field trips throughout Michigan, and workshops such as snowshoe lacing, fire-by-friction, and cordage-making. In July 2017, Kyle was named Program Manager at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, also in Midland. Features of Whiting Forest include the nation's longest forest canopy walk, trails, and interpretive center.

   In February 2021, Kyle accepted the position of Park Naturalist for Mackinac State Historic Parks. There, he creates programs, exhibits, and publications for people of all ages at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, Mackinac Island State Park, and as part of the winter outreach program at area schools.

Monday May 10th: Roger LeLievre comes by his interest in Great Lakes ships naturally – he grew up just blocks from the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and spent his summers at his grandparents' cottage on the St. Marys River. When he turned 18, he shipped out on a Great Lakes freighter, but rather than making a career working on the boats he wound up writing about them instead. A long-time Michigan newspaper writer and editor now retired, he has been editor and publisher of the annual Great Lakes shipping field guide "Know Your Ships" since 1995. He has written for a number of other publications, including Michigan History and Inland Seas. An avid ship photographer and historian, he has been president of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit since 2004 and is a member of so many ship groups, Facebook pages and historical societies that he’s lost count. "Know Your Ships" published its 62nd edition in 2021

Monday, April 12th What’s New at MSHP in 2021 with Craig Wilson

Monday, March 15th, None Cabin Fever Dinner to Go March 11th

Monday, Feb 8th Libby Ives presented Pleistonce (ice Age) History of the Headlands

Monday, Jan 11th Dr. Robert Sharon presented Pandemic Then and Now


September 14 Monday • Historical Society, Lynn Evans presentation, Zoom, 7 pm

“History in our Backyard: Recent Archaeological Excavation at Michilimackinac”. The presentation will cover the basics of the archaeological process and provide an overview of our current project, a fur traders’ residence, including finds from the recently-concluded field season at Colonial Michilimackinac."
Mackinaw Area Historical Society is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Feb 10, 2020: Bird Stories with Tanya Procknow
Tanya Procknow will talk about how she got started with bird rehabilitation. What the legal requirements for
rehabilitating birds along with stories about caring for sick, orphaned and injured birds over the past year, both
good and bad.


November 11: The Edmund Fitzgerald - 

The Stories, The Song  with Mike Fornes

Hear the stories of the crew members, their families and the ironies of a doomed ship in one of the worst storms in Great Lakes history. Learn how the hit song “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” was written, recorded and performed by Gordon Lightfoot. 
Hear the mesmerizing song played live by Mike Fornes, who performs as Lightfoot live in concert.


~~~On Monday,  September 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
​Dr. Martin Reinhardt and Tina Moses 
An important presentation and discussion about Indigenous foods. Martin is the principal investigator of both the Decolonizing Diet Project and a subsequent study called Indigenous Foods TEKnology in the Great Lakes Region. He and Tina will share their experiences with both studies and plans for next steps.

Dr. Martin Reinhardt and Tina Moses are Anishinaabe Ojibway citizens
of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Dr. Reinhardt is a professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, and serves as the president of the Michigan Indian Education Council.

Mrs. Moses is a co-owner and manager of Reinhardt & Associates. They are part of the band Waawiyeyaa (The Circle), or which Mrs. Moses is the manager and Dr. Reinhardt acts as lead singer and songwriter.

Their current research focuses on revitalizing relationships between humans and Indigenous plants and animals of the Great Lakes Region. They have two daughters, Nim and Daabii, and they reside in Marquette, Michigan.

​~~~ August 12, 2019, Johnny Appleseed, a Quintessentially American Character, with John Dwyer Learn about the real person, John Chapman and the legend Johnny Appleseed built up around him.  Did he really spread apple seeds around the country, was he really a missionary, and did he really carry a Bible under a tin pan hat, presumably to keep it from disintegrating in the weather?

~~~ June 10, 2019, 300th Anniversary of Fort Michilimackinac with Craig Wilson

~~~ May 13, 2019, Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan with Barbara Barton, the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live here and the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality surrounding this sacred plant and why many of the historic wild rice beds that once existed in Michigan have disappeared, and the efforts of tribal and nontribal people to restore and protect Manoomin across the landscape.  

​~~~ April 15, 2019, The Mackinac Bridge Then and Now with Kim Nowack

~~~ February 11, 2019, The Story in Our Stars with Mary Stewart Adams

~~~ November 12, 2018, "Diving in the Straits" by Joe Lavender

​~~~ September 10, 2018, "The Legend Lives On" S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald. by Bruce Lynn

~~~ August 13, 2018, "Beyond the Far Horizon,” by Dr. Charles Cleland

​​~~~ July 9 , 2018, John M Dwyer, The Torch Has Been Passed:  Birth Pangs of the Peace Corps

​​~~~ June , 2018,  Sandy Planisek & Jim Tamlyn, Mackinaw City's A-Frame

​​~~~ May 14, 2018, ​Richard Wiles, Rainbow Inn

​~~~ April 9, 2018, Keeney Swearer & Craig Wilson, Exhibit Development Start to Finish using the soon to open Railroad Ferries project as an example. 

~~~ February 12, 2018, Mackinaw Raptors, MSRW

~~~  January 8, 2018,  Eric Hemenway & Phil Porter, Mackinac Island, The Biddle House

~~~  November 13, 2017, Biboon Nini ( Winter Man)  also known as Tony Grandin, Annishinaabeg Ogichidaa ( Native Warrior )

​~~~ September 11, 2017, Bill Richardson, World War I, My Fathers War: Its Hopes, Its Horrors, Its Shattered Dreams 

​~~~ August 14, 2017, Dr. Susan R. Martin, Early Metal Working in the Upper Great Lakes: The Technology of Working Copper by Native Americans

~~~ June 12, 2017, Bob Tagatz, The History of The Grand Hotel 

~~~ April, 2017, 
Tony Davis, Life in Good Hart & Middle Village from Native American Perspective

~~~ February 13, 2017, Dr. Lynn Evans, on Current Archaeological Research at Michilimackinac

~~~ November 14, 2016, Veterans Remembered, American Legion

~~~ September 12, 2016, Patrick E. Martin, PhD on Early Days of Archaeology and History at Mill Creek

​~~~   August 8, 2016, Dr. George A. Colburn, historian and filmmaker, on Hemingway in Northern Michigan
more information about Dr. Colburn at

~~~   July 11, 2016, Sandy Planisek on Eber Ward – The Struggle to Succeed.   After the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, New Yorkers began to flood into Michigan. But some Yankees arrived earlier. They pushed the frontier and grasped at opportunities, all suffered and some excelled. July’s presentation of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society will tell the story of Eber Ward. He is one of the early immigrants who is remembered today as being the lighthouse keeper at Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse and as the father of Michigan’s first millionaire, a son who spent several years of his young life at the desolate lighthouse on Bois Blanc. Sandy Planisek, author of the book Frontier Entrepreneur about Eber Ward.

~~~   June 13, 2016, Bill Shelper on Transportation to Mackinac Island from 1500 to 2016.

~~~ May 9, 2016, John W. Childs, PhD on Historical Background and Development of the Mackinaw Area from the Ice Age to 1917. This Power Point lecture was originally developed by Dr. Sandy Planisek, former MAHS Board member, for presentation to the 2015 Road Scholar visitors out of Traverse City. Dr. Childs is currently delivering the program and will again be presenting to the 2016 Road Scholars. 

~~~ April 11, 2016, Don Gezon on the “Early Days of Northern Michigan Railroads & Other Tidbits of Railroading”

~~~ February 8, 2016, Richard Wiles on The Anatomy of the Murders: A 2016 Remembrance of the Robison Family Murders at Good Hart

​~~~ January 11, 2016, Jonathon Wright on maple syrup harvesting. 

~~~ November 9, 2015, Camp Grayling—Military Training in the North Woods” by Lieutenant Leese.

~~~ September 14, 2015, Burt Lake Burnout by Eric Hemenway​. His presentation will was about “A Fire That Never Dies: Indigenous Land Issues in the United States”. The Burt Lake burnout represents one of the most brutal land grabs in Michigan history, an act that epitomizes the land loss of tribes in the United States. Hemenway’s presentation looks at the larger picture of native land issues during the turn of the 20th century and how the land related and still relates to treaties. 

​~~~ August 10, 2015, "WELCOME” Back:
The history of the British Armed Sloop Welcome at the Mackinac Straits 1973-201
5 by Richard A. Wiles. Mr. Wiles is a local Tip of the Mitt historian who was one of the first workers employed in March of 1973 to begin the reproduction of the Mackinac sailing sloop named the “Welcome.” It was originally built along the shoreline of the Mackinac Straits by and for Michilimackinac trader John Askin in the summer of 1774. In the summer of 1778 (during the height of the American Revolution) the sloop was purchased by the British Army stationed at Fort Michilimackinac to be reconditioned into an “armed sloop.” It was used to help prevent an American attack at the Straits of Mackinac and move Ft. Michilimackinac over to Mackinac Island.  ​After the program we were given the opportunity to walk over to the Headlands
and see the Welcome!

​~~~ July 13, 2015, David Dwyer interviewed Betsy Alker and Earl Dow  who have rich memories of the Mackinaw Area which go back, almost to the time period represented by Heritage Village.  ​Betsy Alker (90) from Cross Village served as an Army nurse and lived some time in Japan before moving back to Harbor Springs with her husband.  Her mother was Anishinaabe from Canada while her father was born in Good Hart.  Ida would love to share her many memories of growing up in Northern Michigan. Earl Dow (90) is from Carp Lake.

​~~~ June 8, 2015, Wayne Bloomberg, Inland Waterways 

~~~ May 11, 2015, Matt Friday, Duncan Bay and introduced his new book on the subject. 

~~~ April 13, 2015, Rand Shackleton shared Ernest Shackleton's harrowing 1914 expedition to the Antarctic. While Ernest Shackleton failed to fulfill the goal of the expedition, he was able to rescue and return the entire crew home after three years trapped in Antarctica.  Through a Public Broadcasting film, we witnessed the story. A short presentation followed.  Rand is a descendent of Ernest's.  

~~~ February 9, 2015, Bob Vande Kopple, Bug Camp, The Founding of the UofM Biological Station

~~~ January 12, 2015, David N. Duncan, Growing up at Cecil Bay in the 50's.

~~~ November 10, 2014, Denny Beach, Growing Up at Fort Michilimackinac. Being the son of the Park manager, Denny shared a variety of stories of his youth while watching and occasionally helping his dad care for business within the Fort.

~~~ September 8, 2014, Dr. James M. McClurken, Odawa Sovereignty Day:  Community, Culture and Sovereignty, from 1821-1994.

~~~ August 11, 2014, Jane Cardinal shared the story of the energetic and charming “The Incredible Father Weikamp”, who came to Cross Village in 1855 under the blessings of Bishop Baraga.

~~~July 14, 2014, Tamara Stevens presented "Emmet County Veterans, Their Stories in Their Own Words".

 ~~~June 9, 2014, Chuck Hoover from Saginaw presented "The Saginaw Voyageurs". This is an historically accurate hearty group of fellow's from the Saginaw region who, once a summer, take a lengthy canoe trip somewhere in the Great Lakes region.  As they go, they tell their story of how the voyageurs lived, worked and played.

~~~May 12, 2014, Roger LeLievre presented "Know Your Ships: 54 Years Covering the Waterfront". Mr LeLievre spoke about the history of the "Know Your Ships" book, the process of putting it together, and distributing it every year.​ Roger LeLievre comes by his interest in Great Lakes ships naturally - he grew up just blocks from the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. marie, Michigan. He shipped out on the Great Lakes ships naturally - he grew up just blocks from the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. marie, Michigan. He shipped out on the Great Lakes as soon as he turned 18, but rather than making a career working on the boats he wound up writing about them instead. He is editor and publisher of the annual Great lakes shipping field guide "Know Your Ships," and also a writer for "Great Lakes/Seaway Review" magzine. An avid ship photographer, he has been President of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit since 2004. Mr. LeLievre is also one of the directors of Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping On-line Inc. (BoatNerd.com) and an associate member in the International Shipmasters' Association.

 ~~~April 14, 2014, Charlie Vallier, chairman of the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum, Naubinway, Michigan, spoke about their museum and the history of snowmobiling. The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum of Naubinway, Michigan, is a non-profit corporation.  With the help of many volunteers, various funds and donors, they have established an antique & vintage snowmobile museum in Naubinway, Michigan on the north side of US-2 across from the business district.  They currently hold two major antique snowmobile events annually that are suitable for the entire family. The Annual Top of the Lake Swap Meet and the Antique & Vintage Snowmobile Show and ride. Both are held in Naubinway, Michigan. 

~~~February 10, 2014, Robert Foulkes addressed the topic of the importance of saving old barns and what we can learn by keeping them. Foulkes has been a partner in the firm of Sam Marts Architects & Planners, LTD. chicago,Ilsince 1991. He has been owner of White Oak timber Frames since 1976 to present, and he has been involved in Foinse Research since 2012, which provides a platform for third level research, with specific interests in forests, woodlands, blanket bogs, geology, archeology, speleology (caves), and hydrology, dedicated to advancing understanding through research, science-based environmental education. His own environmental education includes a B.A. in Documentation from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois. He is a member of the Timber Framers Guild, and Architects, Designers & Planners for Social responsibility. His particular interests are forest restoration, urban planning issues, such as housing access and affordability. His multiple projects have included recycling and restoration of historic faarmhouses; designing walkable neighborhoods around traditional components of small lots, streets, sidewalks and alleys; forest restoration in Wicklow and Cork Counties in Ireland; and the restoration of numerous barns, homes, and boathouses. 

~~~January 13, 2014, featured speaker was Phil Porter, Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks, on The Straits of Mackinaw Shipwreck Museum.  Mr. Porter presented an illustrated program as an overview of the history of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and Mackinac State Historic Park’s plan for reconstructing the original lighthouse fog signal building and using it to tell the story of shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac.

​~~~November 11, 2013, featured speaker was Dixie and Kris Stewart on the Toonerville Trolley. 

~~~September 9, 2013, featured speaker was Larry W. Stephenson, M.D., ISMA  Lodge #7 Member. Dr. Stephenson spoke about his adventures on Great Lakes Ore carriers.

~~~August 12, 2013, featured speaker was Wendy Spray. Mrs. Spray is the teacher of the one room schoolhouse on Bois Blanc Island.

~~~July 8, 2013, featured speaker was David Curtis Skaggs, Professor Emeritus of History at Bowling Green State University, Aftermath of the Lake Erie Victory: The Recovery of Detroit and Invasion of Canada, 1813