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Northern Michigan in Focus: Stroll Through History in Boyne City

A place steeped in so much history it needed a self-guided tour just to cover it all.

It’s called Stroll Through History and it’s bringing the past to life in Boyne City.

Michelle Dunaway and chief photojournalist Corey Adkins take us along for a tour in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

Charming, quaint and beautiful are some of the words you’ll hear when you listen to people describe downtown Boyne City.

“We moved here 20 years ago and the thing that really struck us is just driving down Water Street, and just immediately we felt like we were home. It has just such a homey, I don’t know what it is, but everybody is super friendly. It’s such a tight-knit community,” says Kecia Freed, Stroll Through History.

You can also add historic to that lists.

“The history of the town, I was surprised to find out and learn it was just a booming downtown industrial center around the turn of the century. Big lumber industry, but they also had major chemical plants, and brickyards, and pig iron and, of course, the lumber mills brickyards, and they even had a cigar factory here, just all kinds of stuff,” explains Freed.

Almost every building you see has ties to the past and Boyne City Main Street has come up with a way all you history buffs can learn these stories. It’s called Stroll Through History and it’s all free.

“We put together a self-guided walking tour of the downtown historic district, or at least of the downtown buildings, so there are 52 locations. So, we made these brochures and there’s also an audio description of each location. The brochure has a map in it and each location is on the map, then you can page through and we’ve tried to include photos of what the original building look like that or what was there before that building,” says Freed.

Like the Dilworth Hotel, once called The Wolverine, or the Old Masonic Temple.

And yes, there is an app for that!

“You can download this free app from iTunes and listen to the audio descriptions of each location on your phone as you go around,” explains Freed.

A fun way for technology to take you on a trip back in history to Boyne City’s roots.

“I hope that they would get the same way I felt when we moved here in just a learn how much was here. I mean, it’s so cool and it opens your eyes and suddenly you’re looking at everything differently and trying to imagine what it must’ve been like, it’s almost enchanting to feel that way.” 

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