Beaver Island Historical Society Welcomes You to Our Past

The Beaver Island Historical Society was founded in 1957 to collect and share the fascinating history of Beaver Island. A remote island in Lake Michigan, it has witnessed many interesting and unique historical events, and has been home to various groups including Native Americans, a Mormon branch known as the Strangites, Irish immigrants, fisherman, lumberjacks, and many more.

King Strang

King Strang

The Historical Society currently operates two museums on the Island, the Print Shop Museum and the Marine Museum, as well as two additional historical sites: Heritage Park and the Protar Home. We offer several resources and services to our visitors, including genealogical research, copies of archival photos, and a series of historical journals and other books for purchase. Additionally, we host many events throughout the year to promote the Island’s history.

Explore our history, find out about the king, fishing, shipwrecks, island life, natural history, our Irish heritage, and much more.

For an overview of Beaver Island History please visit: http://www.beaverisland.net/beaver-island-history

Museum Hours

The Print Shop is closed until May.
The Marine Museum can be toured until Nov 15 by appointment.
In the spring: May 1 - June 20 by appointment.
Museums will open for regular hours on June 21, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

Please call 231.448.2254 for more information.

Self Guided Walking Tour

View or download the map

Construction Update

Mormon Print Shop ConstructionThe Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that a legacy benefactor, George Bisbee of Jackson MI, provided the Society just over $500,000, which will be used for financing the Print Shop Addition, including some of the exhibits. The Board is also grateful to the many Island benefactors who have supported the expansion concept and contributed to the capital campaign already and to those future benefactors who will continue to support the Society in fulfilling the vision to share the unique historical stories of the Archipelago through the renovated and expanded museum.

Architectural services are being provided pro-bono by Ebersoldt + Associates Architects, and its owner, Vince Ebersoldt, a long-time Island visitor, Island property owner and benefactor, as well as a BIHS Trustee. The Board of Trustees are extremely grateful to Vince and his team for the work they are doing on behalf of the Society, helping to keep Island History Alive!
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From Our Facebook Page

View the most recent updates at https://www.facebook.com/BeaverIslandHistoricalSociety/

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3 weeks ago

Beaver Island Historical Society

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A special moment of memory for a late, legendary local builder - mixed, literally, with the new:

After wooden forms for the foundation of the new Mormon Print Shop addition are made, the concrete pour begins. Added to the cement are some of the ashes of beloved Beaver Island mason Dick Burris, who passed in 2018. For decades Dick gave his time, talents, and enormous skills to the Beaver Island Historical Society in countless ways, working on all it's buildings including the original Print Shop Museum.

Dick's wife Amy is the daughter of the late Joyce Bartels, the dedicated and exacting BIHS archivist who volunteered for decades, in-season and off, to collect and preserve untold numbers of precious island documents and artifacts until her passing in 2016. Amy worked alongside Dick on a great many BIHS projects, and visited the building site yesterday to bring some of her stonemason husband's ashes.

As Kevin McDonough Construction crew member Brian Cole shared yesterday, "Dick Burris worked on the old museum foundation and helped shore things up. Now he will be holding up the new addition also. Pretty sure he's happy smiling down from heaven today."

Sometimes things come full circle in fitting and poetic ways here on our little island world.

Our gratitude to Dick, Amy, Joyce, and all who have given and give now their blood, sweat and tears to keep this vital institution a living, breathing, and growing gift to the community here and beyond. We thank you all.

(Photos courtesy of Lori Taylor-Blitz and Brian Cole)
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Comment on Facebook

What a nice thing to do.

Thank-you for such a beautiful and loving tribute to my Dad! He LOVED Beaver Island and all of her people....thank-you for remembering him. I carefully watch all of the posts about Beaver Island....and now this print shop will be my favorite! I appreciate the love shown here today......please remember to hug his beloved Amy !

So sweet. Thanks for sharing.

A fitting memorial. Nice to see those footings going in.

All around wonderful!

What a moving tribute to Dick. He will forever be a part of the museum now. It was a privilege to have known him, and I am proud to have called him my good friend. The world is a smaller place without him in it. ❤

How awesome!! He was one in a million!!❤️

That is beautiful. Thank you.

Hope you put up a information piece on site to tell his history for visitors. We enjoyed our visit years ago. We learned a lot about the McCormicks and O'Donnells on our visit. Many thanks to the B.I. people for your help.

I am so touched by reading this. Loving Beaver Island -- and its people -- is part of my DNA...

Beautiful! Thank you!

So awesome to do such a wonderful thing for such a good person. I'm blown away.

That is so sweet. Can't wait to see what they do. Beaver island is always in my heart

Danielle Burris- Have you seen this post?

Such a very special way to remember our beloved friend.

❤️

How awesome

beautiful

Amazing 😍. It made me tear up reading this.. Dick will always be in our hearts an memories for ever as In lil mans as well, I cherish the one pic I do have of Dick holding little Bryan for his first an then his last meat fest...

Roger Burris, Betty Burris, Amy Hansen, Jeremy Fortier, Renee Fortier Mount, Holly Jade Burris, Patrick Morgan Danielle Burris

Thank you Amy, and all who was a part of this wonderful memorial! Warms my heart!

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A glimpse of the original Fourth-Order Fresnel (pronounced 'fray-NEL') lens that had long operated in St. James' Whiskey Point Lighthouse. The ornate, high-quality-glass refractive device was eventually replaced by a modern LED beacon atop Whiskey Point Light. In the summer of 2016 the lens was removed from the lighthouse and placed in a new bay-window display in the corner of nearby St. James Township Hall, facing the entry to the harbor. A small lamp was placed in the Fresnel, which still blinks its red light into the bay at night in a visual echo of it's former elevated service to mariners.

Called "the invention that saved a million ships", the Fresnel lens was developed in the 1820's by French physicist and optics researcher Augustin-Jean Fresnel. Several different types of them served as essential navigation aids in countless lighthouses across the world for generations, until more advanced technology rendered most of them obsolete - though some remain today in towers declared historic sites.

An equivalent Fourth-Order Fresnel lens served the Beaver Head Light at the island's south end until 1962, when it was removed and placed in the lighthouse keepers' dwelling, where it too can be viewed today.
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A glimpse of the original Fourth-Order Fresnel (pronounced fray-NEL) lens that had long operated in St. James Whiskey Point Lighthouse. The ornate, high-quality-glass refractive device was eventually replaced by a modern LED beacon atop Whiskey Point Light. In the summer of 2016 the lens was removed from the lighthouse and placed in a new bay-window display in the corner of nearby St. James Township Hall, facing the entry to the harbor. A small lamp was placed in the Fresnel, which still blinks its red light into the bay at night in a visual echo of its former elevated service to mariners. 

Called the invention that saved a million ships, the Fresnel lens was developed in the 1820s by French physicist and optics researcher Augustin-Jean Fresnel. Several different types of them served as essential navigation aids in countless lighthouses across the world for generations, until more advanced technology rendered most of them obsolete - though some remain today in towers declared historic sites. 

An equivalent Fourth-Order Fresnel lens served the Beaver Head Light at the islands south end until 1962, when it was removed and placed in the lighthouse keepers dwelling, where it too can be viewed today.

Comment on Facebook

I love the art in this.

A lovely guiding light.

Lovely!

John H Gieseking

Lovely fresnel!

Thanks for posting

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'Picnic at the Point' this Wednesday, October 16, from 12-1 pm, at the St. James Township Hall:

Local boat builder Dan Burton talks about boat building in St. James, from it's early days to today.

Bring a lunch and take in some tales of craftsmanship !

(Photo courtesy of Mary Acker)
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Picnic at the Point this Wednesday, October 16, from 12-1 pm, at the St. James Township Hall: 

Local boat builder Dan Burton talks about boat building in St. James, from its early days to today. 

Bring a lunch and take in some tales of craftsmanship !

(Photo courtesy of Mary Acker)

Comment on Facebook

We bought one of the buckets from this place in 2006. It’s beautiful

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Photography by Frank Solle / Stillpoint Photography