Kristyn Balog

The Historical Society is pleased to welcome Kristyn Balog to our staff as the organization’s Development & Campaign Manager. Balog is a nonprofit leader with over 20 years of communications, marketing and fundraising experience. Previously, she was an executive director of an arts center and a pediatric cancer program.

“We are thrilled to have Kristyn’s experience and expertise in growing nonprofit organizations,” said Mary Cummings, Historical Society executive director. “We welcome Kristyn aboard as the Historical Society charts a new and exciting course for our future.”

Kristyn is an active member with a number of community service organizations in Harbor Springs/Petoskey area and enjoys year-round outdoor sports, music concerts and ongoing creative art projects. Her greatest joy is her son, and modeling a life of service to him is her mission.

“The best use of your life is to invest your life in something that will outlast it,” Balog said. “I am excited to be working directly in the community where I have lived for 26 years. I look forward to helping foster appreciation and understanding of Harbor Springs’ history, in children and adults.”

Next time you visit the Harbor Springs History Museum be sure to head upstairs to the Historical Society's offices and say hello!

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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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The year 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the historic Shay Hexagon House located at 396 East Main Street. Ephraim Shay, notable creator of the Shay geared locomotive, built the Hexagon House in 1892 where he lived until his death in 1916. But this year marks another important reason to celebrate this remarkable stamped-steel building. The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society (HSAHS) is excited to announce that it has acquired the historic Shay building from previous owner Mary Cay Bartush Jones.

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“The Historical Society is honored and humbled by this ultimate gift of history,” said Mary Cummings, executive director of the Historical Society. “Mary Cay Jones has entrusted us with this historic treasure, and we will continue to steward the building as she has done during her 30-year ownership.”

The Shay Hexagon House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was renovated in 1990 just after Jones first acquired the building. The outright gift of the building to the Historical Society has sparked its board of trustees to look toward the future, both for the historic structure and for the organization as a whole, now in its 27th year.

“The Historical Society has a wonderful opportunity with the Shay House,” according to Tim Tippett, current HSAHS board president. “We plan to explore potential uses for the building that both strongly align with the Historical Society’s mission as well as serve and benefit our entire community. We thank Mary Cay for recognizing the Historical Society with this generous gift.”

The 14-member board of trustees has already embarked on a strategic planning process that includes the Shay Hexagon House and is currently exploring a future comprehensive campaign to complete needed renovations to the Shay House with an endowment component to be able to maintain both it and the museum building for generations.  At the heart of the Historical Society is its mission to connect learning about the past with appreciating the present by preserving our histories and traditions.

For more information about the Historical Society, please call (231) 526-9771.

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Business Hours

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Exhibit Hours

Friday and Saturday
11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Museum Address

349 E. Main Street
    Harbor Springs, MI 49740

(231) 526-9771

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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