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

September 2019
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 1-4 PM
Call for appointment for other access

View Brochure for complete schedule

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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The Black History 101 Mobile Museum exhibit is open to the public now until 7 pm at the school. If you miss tonight it will be on display tomorrow evening 7-9 PM at the Community Center. ... See MoreSee Less

From the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library photo archives: the Beaver Island Lumber Company mill at the site of today's Beaver Island Marina, circa 1910. The original archival image is notated "Pere Marquette Engine C" in reference to the steam locomotive pictured, suggesting it was used by that railroad either before or after it's use by BILCO.

On the left side of the photo can be seen massive stacks of sawn lumber awaiting loading onto the docked schooner for delivery to mainland ports. Note also the wooden water barrels situated at the peak of the mill's roof; during a fire in mills of that era, workers would climb ladders secured to the roof to release water from the oak casks - or in extreme situations, even fire shotguns at them to douse the flames.

Until a street re-paving project in 2001, the remains of old railroad ties were still visible under the asphalt road here, running at an angle from the present marina's pole barn to the old harbor-front mill site, almost exactly where the locomotive sits in this photo.
... See MoreSee Less

From the University of Michigans Bentley Historical Library photo archives: the Beaver Island Lumber Company mill at the site of todays Beaver Island Marina, circa 1910. The original archival image is notated Pere Marquette Engine C in reference to the steam locomotive pictured, suggesting it was used by that railroad either before or after its use by BILCO. 

On the left side of the photo can be seen massive stacks of sawn lumber awaiting loading onto the docked schooner for delivery to mainland ports. Note also the wooden water barrels situated at the peak of the mills roof; during a fire in mills of that era, workers would climb ladders secured to the roof to release water from the oak casks - or in extreme situations, even fire shotguns at them to douse the flames.

Until a street re-paving project in 2001, the remains of old railroad ties were still visible under the asphalt road here, running at an angle from the present marinas pole barn to the old harbor-front mill site, almost exactly where the locomotive sits in this photo.

From the collection of Brendon Baillod comes a vintage photo of the schooner Waleska, a lumber hauler which ran out of more than one Lake Michigan port in it's lifetime - including Beaver Island while under the ownership of 'Bowery' Bill Gallagher, circa 1880. According to the October 2006 Beaver Beacon, the Waleska sank off Beaver Island just after 1900. (The year of the photo, names of it's crew, and location of the vessel aren't noted in this image, though it was not taken in Beaver Island Harbor.) ... See MoreSee Less

From the collection of Brendon Baillod comes a vintage photo of the schooner Waleska, a lumber hauler which ran out of more than one Lake Michigan port in its lifetime - including Beaver Island while under the ownership of Bowery Bill Gallagher, circa 1880. According to the October 2006 Beaver Beacon, the Waleska sank off Beaver Island just after 1900. (The year of the photo, names of its crew, and location of the vessel arent noted in this image, though it was not taken in Beaver Island Harbor.)

Comment on Facebook

My grandfather,William Belfy made his first trip to Beaver Island aboard the schooner, Waleska.

September 11 Picnic at the Point is canceled and will resume on Wednesday September 18. The topic will be Strang in Charlevoix and our speaker will be Trevor Dotson from the Charlevoix Historical Society, 12-1 in the St. James TWP hall. ... See MoreSee Less

Ruby John and Dane Hyde on the Print Shop porch, as part of this weekend's Emerald Isle Irish Feili. ... See MoreSee Less

Ruby John and Dane Hyde on the Print Shop porch, as part of this weekends Emerald Isle Irish Feili.

Comment on Facebook

I miss the porch and the great music people play there

Aaron Engel

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Photography by Frank Solle / Stillpoint Photography