Jack’s Journal: Celebrating Historic Fishtown

The Leelanau Historical Society and Museum is celebrating a new addition to its building, opening up more display room. 

To celebrate, there is a special exhibit on through the end of the year, celebrating photographers of the county, past and present. 

With tourism of Leelanau County dating back to the 1890s, these photographers have been drawn to the area’s changing views.

 “I guess the seasonal nature of it, every season we get new venues to paint or photograph and the connection to people’s heartstrings,” explains curator Kim Kelderhouse.

And with that many of the great views of the county are highlighted in the new gallery. 

Those photo’s all complement the pen and ink art of resident Keith Burnham, who used his professional news cartoon skills to highlight photo’s showing the history of historic Fishtown. 

One of the great stories is Captain Cook from the turn of the century. A distinguishing feature of the captain was that he only had fingers on one hand.

“The popular story was that he got them caught in the nets pulling in the fish. The nets twisted and took off his fingers. When in fact someone was pulling him in a wagon on the 4th of July, he threw out a bomb and it blew up in his hand,” explains Keith.

Keith, with his sidekick Biscuit, is known around the county and he enjoys sharing the stories of these commercial fisherman and the area known as Fishtown. 

Never planning on his work being displayed in a museum, he rolls with it in his usual easy style.

“It’s nice, it’s my legacy. I’m 83 years old and it feels good!” says Keith.

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