It's Ugotta Regatta weekend in Harbor Springs and our town is filled with boat enthusiasts and community members eager to watch the racing. Did you know that this annual tradition dates back to 1891 when the Little Traverse Boat Club (now the Little Traverse Yacht Club) was first established?

An article in the Daily Resorter from July 21, 1891 reads "IT'S A GO. THE AUGUST REGATTA AN ASSURED EVENT. Organization of a Permanent Association to be Known as the Little Traverse Boat Club." August Regatta assured event

The article chronicles the history of other boat races on Little Traverse Bay, like the regatta held a year earlier, but mentions that none of these events gained much traction and none managed to build up enough enthusiasm to become an annual tradition. Finally, Commodore J. I.  Hair of Chicago and Harbor Point managed to organize the Little Traverse Boat Club and began this annual regatta tradition. 

You can read the entire newspaper article on the front page of the paper at this link: The Greenwood Cemetery in Petoskey has done a truly outstanding job of digitizing these old newspapers and making them available for researchers. This fun find about the regatta is just one gem we have uncovered here at the Historical Society by using Greenwood's newspaper research page. 

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The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society's Board of Trustees has selected Kristyn Balog to serve as the organization’s Executive Director. “After an extensive search, the Board of Trustees is excited to welcome Kristyn Balog to lead the Historical Society into the future,” said David White, President of the Board. “Kristyn has been with the Historical Society since April 2018 serving as the organization’s Development & Campaign Manager. More recently, she has been serving as Interim Executive Director. She is innovative, energetic and has great experience with community building. Under her leadership, the Historical Society has already taken steps to implement our new strategic direction, as we advance our mission of bringing history to life. We look forward to Kristyn helping build the organization and having a greater impact in the Harbor Springs Area.”


Ms. Balog has over 20 years of experience with non-profit programming, fundraising, organizational polices and volunteer engagement. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Michigan State University in Design & Photography. She is an active volunteer with a number of community service organizations in the Harbor Springs/Petoskey area, and enjoys year-round outdoor activities and ongoing creative art projects. The pairing of her professional and volunteer experiences helped lay a foundation for what has become a career in nonprofit leadership.

"I am looking forward to bringing my enthusiasm, fresh perspective, and experience to the dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the Historical Society. Together we will explore new ways of connecting the museum’s collections and the Shay House with local and regional audiences, and enhancing our role in the community through collaboration and partnership. This is an exciting time for the Historical Society and I am honored to have been chosen to provide leadership as Executive Director," Balog said.

Since joining the organization, Ms. Balog has deepened her understanding and broadened her awareness of the Historical Society’s needs and its role in the community. Her knowledge of the organization's operations and her strong interpersonal skills make a great fit for the position, the group's leadership noted. 

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Imagine the excitement local residents experienced in December 1909 when an authentic Civil War cannon arrived by rail in the Village of Harbor Springs. For over a century, the cannon in Zorn Park has stood sentinel along our historic waterfront yet it speaks little of its own history.  The IX-inch Dahlgren cannon saw service in the Union Navy during the Civil War aboard the USS Powhatan. It weighs over 4½ tons and was capable of throwing a 90-pound shell two miles. Many decades after its Civil War service, the cannon arrived in Harbor Springs.

On December 7, 1909, the Petoskey Evening News reported that “the cannon and balls secured for the village through the efforts of Congressman Loud arrived here Wednesday and were deposited in the village hall yard for the present.”  The cannon was moved shortly thereafter to the recently established Zorn Park.  As a naval cannon, it stands in silent vigil facing the water and honors the veterans of our armed services.

As part of the Smith-Hoover American Legion Post’s annual Memorial Day services, the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society will rededicate the cannon with a bronze plaque giving voice to its history. The Historical Society is honored to shine a light on this unique piece of our community’s and our nation’s history and invites the public to attend. The Memorial Day service will be held Monday, May 28, 2018, immediately following the Memorial Day Parade down Main Street which begins at 10:00 am.  The plaque was made possible with support from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and the Smith-Hoover American Legion Post 281.

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2017 HSAHS presidents Tippett White

Last month, the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society's Board of Trustees welcomed its new president, David C. White. White succeeds past president Tim Tippett who finished two terms on the Historical Society’s board. 

“This is an exciting time for the Historical Society,” said Tippett, a Harbor Springs graduate and elementary educator. “2017 was a big year with the gift of the Shay Hexagon House. I’m proud of the progress we have made as an organization.”

Incoming president David White and his wife Cathy retired to Harbor Springs about three years ago after many years of visiting northern Michigan. A Michigan native, White brings over 42 years of banking experience with Comerica Bank holding executive leadership positions in Detroit, Chicago, and, most recently, California.

“It’s my honor to be part of the Historical Society,” White said. “This organization has established itself as an essential part of the fabric of Harbor Springs. We have a unique opportunity to continue our service to the community with the Shay House.”

Joining White on the society’s board are vice president Tom Graham, secretary Jan McDonald, treasurer Dave Roche and trustees Amelie Dawson, John Fergus-Jean, Tim Jardine, Molly Jones, Jordan Karlis, David Lyle, Mary Beth Masimore, Vince Mihalik and George Tippett. Together with Historical Society staff, the board has embarked on a strategic planning process that includes preservation of the Shay Hexagon House and long-term goals for the organization to best serve the community at large.

Tim Tippett (left) turns over the gavel to current board president
David White in the museum’s Local History Gallery. 

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The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society invites the public to submit original artwork for our summer 2018 exhibit titled Memories and Art in the Making: Celebrating the Community We ShareThis juried exhibit will run from July through September 2018 at the Ephraim Shay Hexagon House at 396 E Main Street, Harbor Springs.

Individuals aged 16 and older are encouraged to submit two-dimensional artwork for the exhibit. (One piece of artwork per artist, please). Types of art which will be accepted include but are not limited to: paintings, sketches, mixed-media, and photographs. Pieces should not be larger than 24" x 30" and should come ready to hang. 

Submissions must relate specifically to the Harbor Springs area, and artist applications are due by May 1, 2018. Detailed submission guidelines and applications are available at the Harbor Springs History Museum, 349 E Main Street or online here. The show will include cash prizes for first, second and third places.

The Shay Hexagon House, recently gifted to the Historical Society by previous owner, the late Mary Cay Jones, will serve as the exhibit’s home. Ephraim Shay, the inventor of the Shay geared locomotive, built the Hexagon House in 1892 and lived there until his death in 1916. The Historical Society is pleased to open this storied building to the community as a place where the memories and stories help celebrate the rich history of the Harbor Springs area.

For more information, please contact the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society at (231) 526-9771 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tanya Graham loan

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Exhibit Hours

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11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Office Hours

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January 1, 2020

Museum Address

349 E. Main Street
    Harbor Springs, MI 49740

(231) 526-9771

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