Northern Michigan in Focus: Pickford Area Historical Museum

Situated about 20 miles south of the Soo is a little town. If you blink, you might drive through it without noticing.

But as Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Pickford has had some pretty amazing people live there.

“I am passionate about preserving the history for generations,” said Dianne Schmitigal with the Pickford Area Historical Museum.

If you’ve ever driven through Pickford, it’s a town that seems to be caught in time. It’s the namesake of one man: Charles Pickford.

“Pickford was settled back in 1876. People came here mostly from Canada, because they found lumbering and logging was good in this area. It’s a great agricultural area, the farming is great,” explained Dianne.

But what may surprise you is how many other great things came from this small town, like the creed used by Rotarian’s worldwide.

“His name was Herbert Taylor, the Pickford boy in the 1930s, and he wrote the four-way test. Anyway the Rotary International adopted that for their creed and motto, and that is their motto to this day,” said Dianne.

One of their new exhibits is a diary from Clarence Libby.

“Clarence was in World War II on a Navy ship and he kept a very detailed diary while he was in the Navy. His family, fortunately, saved all his papers and they copied it and we made it available to all our guest to read. It’s a very detailed and wonderful acquisition,” explained Dianne.

What they call their crown jewel is a picture of a dinner party for President Wilson, hosted by Charles Pickford’s son Thomas.

“He ended up being the host for President Wilson and his entire cabinet at a dinner party. And it happened to be there was a gentleman named Mr. Taylor there, and is a photographer and he took a photograph of this dinner party and sent the photograph back to his parents here in Pickford,” said Dianne.

Walking through the Pickford Area Historical Museum is like walking through the past of this town, like its collection of wedding dresses for instance.

“1876 is the oldest one, and I believe it came from Scotland, I think its cashmere,” said Dianne.

So if you’re ever headed up 129 from Cedarville to the Soo, take a few moments to stop in Pickford.

“Just take a hard right at that little blinker light and about a block and a half down the street to a halt, come on in. It’s free it’s informative.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus