Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

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Meeting History in Petoskey

Little Traverse Museum exhibit tells Hemingway’s Story

Kristi Kates - September 4th, 2012  

While paying homage to the man considered to be Michigan’s greatest writer, it’s worth noting that the organization behind the Little Traverse History Museum has been around longer than Ernest Hemingway himself.

The Little Traverse Historical Society was founded in 1905. Through the years, these local historians collected hundreds of artifacts and over 6,000 scanned photographs of the region, all of which led to the opening of the museum in 1971.

Still going strong today, the museum offers windows into the roots, growth, and culture of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay View, and Walloon Lake. It’s the perfect fall destination to team up with a leaf-peeping drive before it closes for the season in October.

And it’s your last chance to see the museum’s Hemingway exhibit - run by a true Hemingway expert - before it departs at the end of September.

Did we mention that you also get to visit an historic train depot at the same time?

RAILROAD REVIVAL

“The depot building that now houses the museum was built in 1892 by the Chicago and West Michigan Railroad company,” says Mike Federspiel, the Historical Society’s executive director.

That depot would eventually be taken over by the Pere Marquette Railroad and then later the C&O Railroad. Yet, by the 1960s, trains were no longer running to Petoskey’s waterfront, and there were plans afoot to destroy the station.

“The LTHS stepped in, bought the building and surrounding land, and forged a deal with the city that turned the building over to the city with the Historical Society having ongoing use of it for the museum,” Federspiel says.

The transformation took approximately two years, and in 1971, the Little Traverse History Museum was opened to the public.

PIGEONS TO HEMINGWAY 

Located on the sidewalk path in Petoskey’s Waterfront Park, the museum features permanent exhibits, including Native Americans, lumbering, and passenger pigeons, the latter of which is Federspiel’s favorite.

“Not many people know about how the pigeons were hunted into extinction, and that their last nesting area was the Little Traverse region,” he says. “We have two display cases and a large, hand-painted mural that tell the story, and an extremely rare actual passenger pigeon that was preserved by a taxidermist.”

Elsewhere in the museum the exhibit, Hemingway’s Michigan Story, details the writer’s personal and literary ties to Northern Michigan. Federspiel, who has a background as a history professor, has also served as the Michigan Hemingway Society’s president since 2001, and has authored a book on Hemingway. So the expertise that he brought to the exhibit itself really shows.

“Our Hemingway exhibit has been especially popular,” he says. “In June, over 300 scholars attended the International Hemingway Society’s conference in Petoskey, and that generated a great deal of local and tourist interest in Hemingway.”

REWARDING WORK

Both locals and tourists are part of what keep Federspiel enthused about his work. The interest from new and out-of-town visitors, as well as the feedback that he gets, are just one part of what make his job rewarding. As far as the locals go, he welcomes residents who take the time to learn more about their town. And the efforts of his own team right at the museum is something that he especially appreciates.

“There are two things I like best about my job. The first is working with people - we have a talented core of volunteers that make it possible to run the museum, and I learn something new every day from the people I work with and meet.”

The second, he says, is simple - sharing the area’s history.

“Knowing the past gives an important context for the present, and it’s great when someone realizes how interesting and useful the past can be.”

The Little Traverse History Museum is located at 100 Depot Court in Petoskey’s Bayfront Park, telephone 231-347-2620. They are open M-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturdays 1 p.m.-4 p.m., and are closed Sundays. The museum will close for the season in October.

 
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