Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Beaver Island Historical Society’s Marine Museum

You have to look back sometimes to see how far you’ve come.

It’s one reason many are so interested in history.

There’s plenty of it on Beaver Island, and there are fascinating stories as well.

Corey Adkins takes us to a place where you can learn more in this week’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.

Paradise Bay, Beaver Island.

From the air, the harbor looks like two welcoming arms.

You can almost hear the stories that have happened in these waters of days gone by.

In the harbor lies a place where you can hear those stories: The Beaver Island Historical Society’s Marine Museum.

“Logging, farming and fishing, which was primarily around the harbor, was important.”

One of the museum’s volunteers is long time resident of Beaver Island, John Runberg. He can tell you the tales, like what brought his family here.

“The fishing was so abundant that it was the reason people moved, including my ancestors, from Mackinac Island to Beaver Island,” says John.

Or, his memories of the lighthouse as a child.

“I have memories of my entire life of that lighthouse going on and off. I could lie in my bed as a small child and see through a hall window the light going on and off. It probably put me to sleep,” says John.

Or, you can hear about a not so great moment in Beaver Island history on January 1, 1937 when a boat called the Marold II was siphoning high test gas off of the grounded Oswald Boyd.

“An explosion blew the Marold, a then passenger boat, up on top of the Oswald Boyd, and all five crew members on the Marold were killed. It was deeply felt in this community,” explains John.

It’s those happy and sad times that make this such a special place. If you visit the Marine Museum you almost feel a part of the island’s history, and John will be happy to share it with you. 

 “The experience of what life was like, it’s still a beautiful place," says John. "It was a pleasure to tell you about my favorite place.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus