The Exhibit Hall

Lumbering in the Arcadia Area

When lumbering was the key industry in northern Michigan, every community near Arcadia seemed to be centered around a sawmill, the jobs it provided, and the goods and services needed by sawmill workers and their families. This exhibit introduces the earliest sawmills in the Arcadia area, the process involved in lumbering and how that was practiced in the area, and three key sawmills in Arcadia.

Arcadia's Railroad

When I was a kid, I heard about a narrow gauge railroad used to haul timber, but I had no idea Arcadia had its own standard gauge railway. At one point, Arcadia's railroad carried freight daily and passengers twice a day. This exhibit provides a glimpse into the history of the railroads in Arcadia in words, pictures, and memorabilia.

Early Arcadia Area Schools

Probably the first school in the Arcadia area was a log school on what was then the Hotchkiss farm on what is now the Manke farm. By 1883, Arcadia Township had four school districts. In the late 1890s, the Burnham School was moved to Arcadia next to the Arcadia Village School to for the Twin Schools. In 1892 the Lutheran School opened. In 1910, the Twin Schools were replaced by the Arcadia High School that taught grades 1-12. This exhibit includes maps and photos of these and many more schools.

Shipping in Early Arcadia

Shortly after his arrival in 1880, Henry Starke began building a bridge pier at the end of Lake Street in Arcadia, Michigan. In 1892, he began building a channel between Lake Michigan and Bar Lake. When the channel opened in 1893, ships like the John D. Dewar, the Arcadia, and Pere Marquette No. 6 used Arcadia's safe harbor to carry passengers, mail, lumber, fruit, potatoes, and other products between Arcadia and the rest of the world. This exhibit summarizes shipping in Arcadia beginning in the late 1800s and ending when the channel officially closed in 1925.

Shipwrecks Near Arcadia

This exhibit tells the brief story of the Minnehaha, the 200-foot, four-masted schooner whose wreckage is still visible along the shore of Lake Michigan. We have learned that there were four ships called Minnehaha that sailed the Great Lakes early in the last century. The one that sank near Arcadia was the largest by far.

The Arcadia Furniture Company

When Dad was growing up in Arcadia, it seemed as though practically everyone in town worked for the Arcadia Furniture Company in one way or another.  This exhibit summarizes the birth and growth of the company, shows furniture sold through the factory's first solo catalog, and includes a variety of artifacts including blueprints of the factory at its peak, sample furniture catalogs, and a pay stub from 1944.

Baseball in Arcadia

Baseball was Arcadia's sport. The first ballpark in Arcadia, Michigan was built in the early 1900's out on the point. On the 4th of July people arrived by ship and by train to enjoy the festivities, which always included a baseball game or two along with a parade, speeches by local dignitaries, band concerts, and picnics.

Aviation Pioneer Harriet Quimby

William Quimby and his family were among the first settlers in the Arcadia, Michigan area, and their story is representative of the difficulties encountered by many early settlers. William Quimby's daughter, Hattie or Harriet Quimby, grew up to become a pioneer aviatrix.

The Arcadia United Methodist Church

This article summarizes the first 100 years of the history of the Methodist Church in Arcadia, Michigan. It is based on a brochure published as part of the celebration of the church's 100th anniversary.

A Brief History of the Lutheran Church

This article summarizes the early history of the Lutheran congregation founded in 1881, the now-historic Trinity Lutheran Church finished in 1887, the Lutheran school, and more.

Arcadia Days... The Old Way

Arcadia Daze is an annual three-day event in Arcadia, Michigan featuring a variety of events, music, food, arts & crafts, dancing, a parade, and more. Early in the last century, our ancestors gathered for Arcadia Days, but as the following program from 1918 illustrates, only the name is similar.