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Harbor Springs loves its traditions particularly those associated with holidays. In 2015, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of a community Christmas tree placed in town, a tradition started by local contractor George B. Hartung. As a young man, Hartung cut and hauled a Christmas tree into downtown Harbor Springs for the townsfolk to enjoy. 

Of the first community Christmas tree gathering, the Petoskey Evening News reported in their December 27, 1915 issue that two thousand people were in attendance at the event held on Christmas Eve in Zorn Park. “Ideal weather conditions combined with 100 percent pure Christmas enthusiasm made Harbor Springs’ first municipal Christmas tree a grand success and an event long to be remembered.” 

Hartung's grandchildren remembered him fondly. "It was his idea that Harbor Springs needed a city tree and he had the equipment," said granddaughter Mary Booth. "He was just a lumberjack at heart." George Coveyou remembers his grandfather as a very honest and good man. "It was a great experience to grow up and spend time with him."

The Evening News wrote further about that first gathering in 1915. "The address of welcome was followed by several well selected musical numbers by the children from the public school, and then came Santa Claus with 2,400 sacks of candy and nuts which were distributed by this genial old friend to the good children of this community. Much credit is due the band for their efforts in making the entertainment complete. The idea of a municipal Christmas tree seems to be a good one. Our citizens joined in the movement regardless of religion or politics and stood united, with one aim in view; namely, the dispensing of Christmas cheer among the people, both young and old of the community.”

image2 Hartung grandkidsAt left, George Hartung holding his grandson George Coveyou with his wife Ida May holding granddaughter Mary Booth at the 1941 Fourth of July Parade.

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You've survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday and now the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society invites you to join an international movement connecting nonprofits like us to donors like you - it's #GivingTuesday! The official #GivingTuesday website describes this unique holiday as "a global day dedicated to giving back" when "charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate giving and to give." This December 1, 2015 is #GivingTuesday and we wanted to take a moment to encourage you to give to the Historical Society on this special day.

We've partnered with Network for Good to make your donation go even further. For one day only, on #GivingTuesday, the Network for Good will match a percentage of any donation you make to the Historical Society! This is a great way to make your dollar go even further while supporting history's home in Harbor Springs.

Click the button below to donate!

Donate

Why donate?

The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society is a private nonprofit that relies on your generosity to sustain our efforts. With your support in 2015 we have shared stories both large and small, old and new with thousands of people.

During our popular Harbor History Talk series, we reached back in time to share stories of the NM, the Northern Michigan sloop and tapped our feet to the tunes of the Beach Boys while learning about clubs Manitou and Ponytail.

We celebrated stories through special events too including Shay Days (which honored inventor Ephraim Shay), our third annual Blessing of the Fleet and Summer White Party on Harbor Springs' historic waterfront and our special Haynes 100 show and sale honoring what would have been beloved local photographer Virgil D. Haynes' 100th birthday. 

Won't you consider making a donation to the Historical Society on this unique day of giving?

If you've already given this year, know that we sincerely appreciate your support. Thank you!

HSAHS 2015 6670  HSHS 2015 8498 web  HSAHS Anishnaabek IMG 0321 web

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We are honored to announce that the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council (MHC). MHC awarded nearly $600,000 in grants to 26 Michigan organizations in the first round of funding for the Heritage Grants program.

Heritage Grants support projects that bring the authentic voices of cultural identity groups to the foreground and help the people of our state understand cultural differences by sharing local stories about race and cultural history. In Harbor Springs, this means supporting the Historical Society's next exhibit, Anishnaabeck Art: Gift of the Great Lakes, which is set to open on Tuesday, June 30 at the Harbor Springs History Museum. 

The exhibit showcases Anishnaabek (Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi) art from throughout the Great Lakes region, focusing on various media, styles and tribes. Using handcrafted items such as wooden tools, quill boxes, baskets and beadwork, the exhibit will explore the political, religious, cultural, and social changes the Odawa and other native groups navigated throughout their history. The exhibit and accompanying programs will also explore stories of assimilation, forced removal and discrimination as well as the stories of leadership and perseverance in tribal communities.

"We are honored to be among the recipients in the first year of MHC's Heritage Grants program, " said Mary Cummings, executive director of the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society. "Working on this exhibit has been an amazing collaboration with collector Bob Streett and Eric Hemenway, director of archives, records and repatriation with the Little Traverse Bay Band. We are looking forward to sharing this exhibit with the public." 

In addition to the exhibit, plans are currently underway to offer several presentations and workshops on specific types of Native art including quill work and bead work presented by local, traditional artists such as Yvonne Walker Keshick and Daniel Chingwa. 

The museum will host a special exhibit opening for Anishnaabeck Art on Tuesday, June 30 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Admission will be free and light refreshments will be provided. 

MHC Heritage Grant

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In this post we are taking you inside our archives to look at some of the most beautiful artifacts in our collections - small, handmade quill boxes. These unique Native American objects are still made today by the local Odawa people and have a rich cultural tradition that dates back centuries.

Quill boxes are constructed using birch bark, sweet grass and porcupine quills. Traditionally, the Odawa used birch bark for making boxes and baskets because its natural antibacterial properties made it perfect for storing food. Porcupine quills were harvested from animals hunted for food. Nowadays they are gathered from animals killed on the roadways. When moistened, the quills become highly pliable and easy to work with and can also be dyed. 

What began as a simple and effective means of storing food became an art form at the turn of the century as the Odawa created thousands of these quill-decorated boxes for the tourist industry. Today the art is still highly sought after and admired. The Historical Society has several quill-decorated objects in our collections including the items pictured below. You can view these and other objects in our online collections database on our website. You can also visit the National Endowment for the Humanities site to read about renowned local quill artist Yvonne Walker Keshick. 

Stay tuned! We will be installing a new exhibit about Native American art, culture and traditions at the Harbor Springs History Museum this summer. Do you have quill boxes or other Native American artwork you’d be interested in seeing in our upcoming exhibit? Please contact Mary Cummings at (231) 526-9771 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any inquires. 

Be sure to "like" us on Facebook and check out our website for updates on the exhibit and other events at HSAHS.

1997.011.74 2 Square Bark and Quill Box 3 web  1997.011.68 Floral Quill Box 2 WEB  1997.011.3 Quill Art Box 1 web

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You've survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday and now the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society invites you to join an international movement connecting nonprofits like us to donors like you - it's #GivingTuesday! The official #GivingTuesday website describes this unique holiday as "a global day dedicated to giving back" when "charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate giving and to give." This December 2, 2014 is #GivingTuesday and we wanted to take a moment to encourage you to give to the Historical Society on this special day.

We've partnered with Network for Good to make your donation go even further. For one day only, December 2, Network for Good will match a percentage of any donation you make to the Historical Society! This is a great way to make your dollar go even further while supporting history's home in Harbor Springs. Click the button below to donate today! Please feel free to donate after December 2 as well, every donation helps!

 

Donate

Why donate?

The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society is a private nonprofit that relies on your generosity to sustain our efforts. With your support in 2014 we have shared stories both large and small, old and new with thousands of people.

We told the story of the passenger pigeon—once the most abundant bird in North America and now extinct. Through a national movement called Project Passenger Pigeon, we developed a special exhibit focused entirely on this bird.

During our popular Harbor History Talk series, we reached back in time to share stories of the NM, the Northern Michigan sloop, for its 80th anniversary and tapped our feet to the tunes of the Beach Boys while learning about clubs Manitou and Ponytail.

We celebrated stories through special events too including Shay Days (which honored inventor Ephraim Shay), our second annual Blessing of the Fleet and Summer White Party on Harbor Springs' historic waterfront and our tour of the Little Traverse Lighthouse.

Won't you consider making a donation to the Historical Society on this unique day of giving?

If you've already given this year, know that we sincerely appreciate your support. Thank you!

3 MrsHunt IMG 5072  Canim Bridge 1 web  2014 HSAHS 5626

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Business Hours

Tuesday-Friday
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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