Jack’s Journal: The Harsha House

If you drive by, you might notice the Queen Anne style home at 103 State Street in Charlevoix. If you stop in, you will find that it is anything but a normal vintage home. 

The Harsha House was built by Horace Harsha in 1891 and was donated to the Charlevoix Historical Society in 1978. 

In 1980, after some additions, it became the home of Charlevoix’s history.

“The artifacts were scattered everywhere. So they needed a focus and this is what did it. Charlevoix has such an enormous history,” says David Miles, Charlevoix Historical Society.

The exhibit area is all about the county’s rich history: Ernest and Hadley Hemingway’s marriage license (it was Ernest’s first marriage), the beautiful light house lenses from Beaver Islands Grey’s Reef Light House. Big Rock Nuclear Plant was the first in Michigan and the fifth in the nation. Oh, and a very fine wire manufactured locally took Charlevoix to the moon.

“It ultimately ended up in a space suit via the space suits of the Apollo space program that went to the moon. So, when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in 1969, Charlevoix was right there with him in his boots, gloves and protective material under his backpack,” explains David.

There is pride in the number of fish, lumber and ice exported from Charlevoix over the years.  

David is proud of the county’s accomplishments and admits people don’t think about the past enough, but they should.

“They have no idea the enormous history, the breath, the scope, the depth of Charlevoix’s history; what it meant, not only to its self and region, but the Midwest and the United States,” says David. 

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