Old Fashion Day Offers Fun, Education of Past
September 30, 2018
Clare County History Museum Bids Adieu to 2018 Season
By Dianne Alward-Biery
Cleaver Staff Writer
HARRISON – The Clare County Historical Society welcomed the public Saturday, Sept. 29 to explore the many historical delights to be found at the History Museum, the Dover School, blacksmith shop and Ott Family log cabin. The day also included a static display of the City of Clare Fire Department’s Ladder Truck No. 47 and antique vehicles ranging from two John Deere tractor to a Model T Ford hauling a trailer with gasoline can, a Ford Woody Wagon and an International Harvester Travelall.
“That Model T – he’s out there right now – he came from Lake City, drove it here!” said Joe Bradley, CCHS member and proud owner of a 1917 Model T. “He didn’t trailer it like I do.”
Live music for the afternoon was provided by Northern Michigan musical duo Indigo Moon comprised of Jeff Lange and Lee Anne Whitman. Their professional byline is “From our hearts to yours.”
Over in the Dover School, author Mark Jager spoke to, and fielded questions from, a room full of people who were interested in his topic: mysteries to be found in Michigan. Jager has written a series of seven books which highlight the many odd and oft times unexplained phenomenon to be encountered in this state, i.e., a road where vehicles placed in neutral appear to roll uphill, the inexplicable green Paulding Light and sinking cities, to name but a few. He also is the author of “Mystic Michiganders” which includes a segment on historic local icon Spikehorn Meyer.
Also speaking that day was local scale model-building shipwright Gene Bodnar whose topic was the new HMS Clare. His detailed replica of the ship has been on display in the museum. Beginning as the destroyer USS Abel P. Upshur (D-193), which launched in 1918 and was commissioned in 1919, it was in service in the U.S. Navy and then traded to Great Britain in September 1940 and renamed HMS Clare.
Inside the Ott Family log cabin were Historical Society members who ladled hearty bean or cheeseburger soup for visitors to sample along with cranberry or banana muffins. It was a well-timed treat on such a chilly autumn day, and no doubt was appreciated by all. Hand-warming cups in hand, visitors peeked into the humble cabin which is graced by many aged cast iron implements, period furnishings and table service pieces.
Many of the visitors braved the chill to head out on a tractor-pulled hayride for a tour of the property.
Saturday’s event was the last hurrah for the season at the History Museum, which is located at 7050 Eberhart Road (at Dover Road). The facility will open again next spring/summer offering weekend fun for the history-minded and those who simply want to know a bit more about their own neck of the woods, as well as some of those whose efforts laid the groundwork for the Clare County community that exists today.
Old Clare County and Odd Michigan
Clare County Historical Society Hosts Annual ‘Old Fashion Day’ Sept. 29, with special guest Mark Jager, author of Mystic Michigan series of books.
Some who visit the Clare County Historical Museum complex on Old Fashion Day may think learning in a one-room schoolhouse, living in a log cabin, using a manual typewriter or needing a blacksmith as “old.” But this year's visitors will also learn about “odd,” as author Mark Jager talks about such things as sinking cities, floating islands, bottom-less lakes, tornados of fire, green sunsets, and other natural phenomenon and oddities that exist throughout the state.
“While the focus at Old Fashion Day is providing visitors with the opportunity to go back in time for a day, we also want to expand our offerings and we're thrilled to get Mark to come and talk to our members and guests,” said Carron Nevill, CCHS board member who arranged for his visit.
“Kids and adults love his books. Plus, he also wrote Mystic Michiganders, which has a segment on Spikehorn Meyer, who was from Clare County,” she added.
Shipwright Gene Bodnar also will give a talk on the H.M.S. Clare, a WWII destroyer that was named after the City of Clare. Bodnar recently built a detailed replica of the ship that was given to Great Britain at the start of the war. The recently completed ship is on display at the museum.
Old Fashion Day will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clare County museum complex at the corner of Dover Road and Eberhart Avenue, north of Clare. Along with guest speakers, there will be blacksmiths, farm equipment, tractor rides, animals, music, good food and more. Visitors will have one last chance before all buildings close for the 2018 season to tour the museum, the historic one-room schoolhouse and the small log cabin where the Ott family raised 18 children.
Admission to all speakers and activities is only $3 per person. Children 12 years and under admitted free. Proceeds benefit the museum.
The Clare County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, advancing and disseminating knowledge of the history of Clare County and the surrounding areas. Visit the Clare County Historical Society on Facebook or go to clarecountyhistory.org to learn more about the event, our organization and local history.