The fur trade in Michigan attracted some of the earliest Europeans to the area and led to the earliest interaction between these Europeans and Native Americans. Muskegon County with its many lakes and rivers was a destination for the animals valued by the fur traders and Native Americans alike. On today's episode we dive into the history of those fur traders who came to Muskegon County.
In 1918 a new strand of the influenza virus reached Michigan and Muskegon. This Spanish Flu as it was called would become the worst pandemic the world has seen. The response to the pandemic in Muskegon and Michigan has many similarities with our current pandemic, this is the story of what occurred during that year.
Henry Holt was one of Muskegon's most preeminent politicians serving as mayor, state representative, and Lieutenant Governor. Holt was also an avid traveler and "collector" of antiquities. His life provides us into an insight of the politics of 1870s Muskegon and Michigan.
Pigeon Hill named for the now extinct passenger pigeon was once the most recognizable landmark of Muskegon from both land and lake. At over 200 foot tall it was a popular sight seeing destination, but this massive sand dune was also target of many businesses looking to use its sand for various products.
Dr Eames was an important figure in the early 1900s in Muskegon. Among her accomplishments was the creation of the Y.W.C.A. in Muskegon, serving on the Women's Club, and most importantly her work on public health which was centered around improving the lives of mothers, children, and infants.
Newcomb McGraft came to Muskegon hoping to make his fortune, a feat which he achieved. While not as well known as other lumber barons he played a pivotal role in the history of Muskegon heading up the booming company, being mayor, and most importantly kicking off the industrial bonus fund which would help revitalize Muskegon after the decline of lumbering.
The Industrial Bonus Fund provided money and incentives for business to relocate to Muskegon. This fund was very successful at this goal and managed to propel Muskegon forward going into the 20th Century after the decline of lumbering.
A visit to the beach 100 years ago in Muskegon would have been a very different experience. With a roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, stage, and many more amusements, a trip to the beach and Lake Michigan Park was like going to an amusement park that had a water park the size of Lake Michigan. Today we examine the spectacle that was the beach escape, Lake Michigan Park.
The youngest brother of famous lumber baron Charles Hackley, Porter Hackley was also involved in the lumbering business. He served many years as bookkeeper for the family firm and taught Thomas Hume the ropes. However his fortune would never grow vast like the other two as he lived a tumultuous life full of booze and run-ins with the law.
Helen Hume was the daughter of lumber baron Thomas Hume. She was also an avid traveler and writer. Her letter home contain insight into various sights around the world but also let us look at what was going on with the Hume family as she response to various letters sent to her. Join us to hear more about Helen's adventures and what was happening in Muskegon.
The Hackley Manual Training School would be the first of its kind in Michigan and would train generations of youth on manual skills. Learn how this great school got its start and what it taught its students.
In 1891 Shaw Electric Crane opened in Muskegon Heights, it would stay in that location for 119 years. During that time it produced cranes, hoists, and lifts that were used in many keystone building projects throughout the world.
Edward Gifford Crosby started out working in a sawmill and saving his money until he managed to purchase his own tugboat. From there he formed a partnership that would led to him owning a shipping line and becoming exceptionally wealthy. This wealth would play a part in his death however, as Captain Crosby would die in the most famous shipwreck 108 years ago today.
Before electricity and refrigerators keeping food cool was a tough task. One of the main ways this was achieved was by using blocks of ice. That ice though had to come from somewhere and had to be available all year long. Listen in as today's podcasts explains how this was done.
The Occidental Hotel was for a long time the largest and most elegant hotel in Muskegon. As time went on this hotel endured many hardships and changes until it was forced to close, leading to its implosion. Many Muskegon residents still have fond memories of this one time Muskegon landmark.
Catherine Hackley-Holt was one of the early pioneer women in Muskegon County. She lived through the ups and downs of lumbering and the beginning of the industrial period in Muskegon. Even though she had many stories to tell, very little is known of her life besides the accomplishments of her husbands. Listen in as we try to dissect the history of this early pioneer and discover why so little is known about her.
Around 10,000 years ago the last Ice Age giants became extinct, leaving only their remains to let us know they were once here. One of the most commonly found remains belongs to a creature that looked like a hairy elephant, I'm talking of course about the mastodon. These large creatures bones can be found across the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, including in West Michigan were several remains have been uncovered. Join with us as we tell the story of two of these mastodons discoveries.
Grand Rapids Public Museum Link
Born in Muskegon, Haddon Sundblom would go on to create print ads for some of the biggest companies in the 1930s-1960s. His most famous ads were a series of artwork he create for Coca-Cola that featured St. Nicholas. These ads would help shape our modern view of Santa and are still identifiable and cherished today.
While Major Noah Ferry had a relatively short life, his and his families impact can still be seen in Western Michigan. Tune in to learn about the life of Noah Ferry, how he met his end on the battle field of Gettysburg, and how he is still remembered today.
Of all the pilots that have lived in or visited Muskegon few have the credentials to match those of Cecil Sinclair. Born in 1888, Cecil or 'Sinnie' as he was commonly known was alive for the birth of flight and became an earlier pioneer in it. He was one of the first 1,000 pilots licensed, and he rubbed shoulders with the most famous fliers of all time including Charles Lindbergh. Learn the amazing story of this early pilot and how his journey brought him to Muskegon, a place he ended up calling home.
Ruth Thompson born in Whitehall, Michigan would become a trail blazer for women across West Michigan and the United States. She began her career in law and became the first female member of the Muskegon Bar Association. She would then go on to politics to become the first female state representative for Muskegon County. Ruth would eventually run for congress, winning, and become the first female to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.
For 35 years the Muskegon Civic Theatre has been putting on shows for residents and visitors a like. Join us as we interview Jason Bertoia managing director of MCT to learn more about its history and what's involved in putting on a show.
To learn more about MCT visit
To learn more about the exhibit and opening visit
On today's podcast we interview Eric Petersen and Amber May-Petersen the husband and wife duo behind the Fish Monger's Wife. Listen in as they discuss the history and future of commercial fishing in Muskegon.
Last year we examine the streets of the county and those whom they were named after. We also asked you for any other street names you were curious about. Well you delivered,so here is part two of the street names of Muskegon County.
For over 100 years the red Union Depot building has stood out from its surroundings on Western Avenue. When it first opened its importance to bringing in tourist, visitors, and new residents was immense. Over the years its importance declined but thankfully the building remained to be transformed into the center of tourism again in Muskegon as the Muskegon County Convention & Visitor's Bureau and now the home of Visit Muskegon.
This month we dive into the fascinating history of one of Muskegon's wealthiest residents' of all time. Learn how John Torrent earned this title and also how he earned the title of villain and scoundrel.
100 years ago the Great War came to an end. The cost of the war was terrible for all involved including Americans and Muskegon County residents. On today's episode we learn about the experiences of Muskegon County men and women during the war.
The pointed roof and large stone arch entrance way of the Century Club have been a feature of Western Avenue for over a century. Today we examine the long history of the building and the club who called it home.
Helen Hume was the daughter of Muskegon Lumber Baron Thomas Hume. In 1908 Helen and her friend Francis Ford, along with a chaperone, took an around the world journey. While traveling, Helen wrote many letters to her family which paint a journey of amazement, hilarity, and tribulations. These are some of those stories.
Giles, McCracken, Ruddiman, and Peck are among the many named streets of Muskegon County. But who are the people behind these names and what are their stories? Jackie Huss seeks to answer many of those questions on today's episode.
Today's episode looks at who could be the most interesting and controversial person to ever live in Muskegon County. During his life he corresponded with world leaders, did research for the U.S. government, and self-published several books. So, listen in and share your thoughts, memories, and stories of our mysterious figure.
For over 100 years the Hackely School, now Hackley Administration Building has been part of downtown Muskegon. Listen in this month as we cover the history of the school from the plan of Charles Hackley to its present situation.
Today's episode will follow the history of the Michigan Theater. From its construction and glory days, to its near demolition, and finally its transformation into the Frauenthal Theater we know and love today!
In today's episode we have a discussion with documentary film makers Jim Schaub and Ron Pesch on their project Buster Keaton: Home. Follow along as we talk about Buster's time spent in Muskegon, the film, and the upcoming Buster Keaton convention in Muskegon. To find out more or to donate to the project visit http://www.busterkeatonhome.com/. To learn more about the convention go to http://www.busterkeaton.com/ and be sure to stop by the Lakeshore Museum Center to see our Buster Keaton display.
This episode features Gwen and Wendy from Michigan's Heritage Park. Listen in as they discuss alcohol throughout history in Michigan and learn about rum’s role in the fur trade, Michigan's earliest home brewers, and other topics. Grab your favorite drink, sit back, and enjoy.
In this episode Aaron Mace the Assistant Program Manager of the Historic Sites discusses his research on the theory that the lost Confederate Treasury was brought to Muskegon and acquired by Charles Hackley among others.