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Muskegon History and Beyond with the Lakeshore Museum Center

Muskegon History and Beyond with the Lakeshore Museum Center

By Lakeshore Museum Center
A short podcast exploring the people, places, and events that shaped Muskegon, Michigan and beyond.
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Muskegon in the Fur Trade
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. 
September 16, 2020
Muskegon in the 1918 Pandemic
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. 
September 2, 2020
Henry Holt: Muskegon's Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
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. 
August 19, 2020
Pigeon Hill: The Lost Landmark of Muskegon
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. 
August 5, 2020
Dr Lucy Nash Eames
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. 
July 15, 2020
Newcomb McGraft: A Self-Made Man
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. 
July 1, 2020
The Industrial Bonus Fund and the Rebirth of Muskegon
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.  
July 1, 2020
Lake Michigan Park-The Playground of Michigan
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.  
June 17, 2020
Porter Hackley: The Lesser Known Hackley
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. 
June 3, 2020
Albert Mears
Albert Mears was the younger brother of the much more famous Charles Mears. While he does have the fame of his brother today, Albert was vital in the success of Whitehall and the White Lake area.
May 20, 2020
Helen Hume's Adventures Part 2
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. 
May 13, 2020
Muskegon's First Mayor: Chauncey Davis
Chauncey Davis would not only be Muskegon's first mayor but he was also instrumental in the creation of Muskegon County itself. Know as a honest man and respect by all, this is the story of his life. 
May 6, 2020
The Hackley Manual Training School
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. 
April 29, 2020
Shaw Electric Crane Company
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. 
April 22, 2020
Captain E.G. Crosby
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.
April 15, 2020
Ice Harvesting on Muskegon Lake
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. 
April 8, 2020
The Pine Street Fire of 1891
The Pine Street Fire of 1891 has gone down in Muskegon's history as the second worst fire to occur. The fire would  destroy the heart of the business district on Pine Street which would never recover. 
April 1, 2020
The Occidental Hotel
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. 
March 25, 2020
Catherine Hackley-Holt and Women's History
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.
March 4, 2020
A Tail of Two Mastodons
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 
February 5, 2020
The Muskegon Brewing Company
This episode looks at the history of beer in Muskegon, and focuses on the Muskegon Brewing Company which was at one point the largest brewery in the state of Michigan. 
January 2, 2020
Haddon Sundblom and his Santa
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.
December 4, 2019
Noah Ferry: Lumber Baron, Founder, and Solider
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.  
November 8, 2019
Rodgers Iron Works
Foundries have long been important to Muskegon's industry. Today we examine one of the earliest and most successful of these, Rodgers Iron Works. 
October 2, 2019
A History of Big Red Football
In today's podcast we interview local historian Ron Pesch about the oldest football team in Muskegon County and one of the most successful programs in the nation, the Muskegon Big Reds. 
September 4, 2019
Cecil 'Sinnie' Sinclair: A man of the air
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. 
August 7, 2019
Ruth Thompson: A Women of Firsts
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. 
July 3, 2019
The Hackley and Hume Historic Site
Listen in as Erin Schmitz programming manager of the Hackley and Hume Historic Site answers some questions about the creation and history of two of Muskegon's most famous houses.
June 5, 2019
35 Years of Muskegon Civic Theatre
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
May 1, 2019
Get Schooled on Fishing with the Fish Monger's Wife
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.
April 3, 2019
The Name Game: Streets of Muskegon County II
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.
March 6, 2019
Muskegon Swindlers, Queen Victoria, Scotland Yard, and the story that ties them together
Take an adventure across the Atlantic as we follow the story of the Bidwell brothers and their scam to defraud the Bank of England millions of dollars in gold.
February 8, 2019
A Station for All: Union Depot
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.
January 2, 2019
John Torrent-lumberman, inventor, politician, and real estate mogul.
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.
December 5, 2018
Muskegon and World War I
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.
November 7, 2018
Old Indian Cemetary
Join us for an interview with Judy Hayner director of the City of Muskegon Art Initiative, as she discusses the history of the Muskegon Indian Cemetery and a statue being installed in tribute of it.
October 3, 2018
10 Hours! Or No Sawdust.
With Labor Day just behind us we examine a crucial lumbering strike, in which Muskegon lumbering men struck for better wages and a 10 hour workday.
September 5, 2018
The Century Club
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.
August 1, 2018
Sails on the Lake: Lumber Schooners in Muskegon
In the 1800s the Lumber Schooner dominated trade and transportation in Muskegon. On today's episode we discuss how these ships were made, used, and sailed.
July 3, 2018
Helen Hume's Adventures
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.
June 6, 2018
A History of Spring Cleaning
The origins of spring cleaning go back several hundred years in Michigan. Join the staff of Michigan's Heritage Park to learn the why and how, and about its most prominent tool, the broom.
May 2, 2018
Elston Howard: Muskegon Clipper, New York Yankee, World Series Champion
Baseball in Muskegon has a long history, and many great players have called the area home. One of the most famous players to every play in the area has to be Elston Howard. Today we hear his story.
April 4, 2018
The Name Game: Street Names of Muskegon County
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.
March 8, 2018
The most interesting man in Muskegon County?
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.
February 7, 2018
Hackley School
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.
January 3, 2018
Michigan Theater
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!
December 6, 2017
Seaway Drive and John Beukema
In this episode we answer the question that many of you have probably wondered. Why do we have a road called Seaway Drive?
November 1, 2017
Buster Keaton and Muskegon
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 To learn more about the convention go to and be sure to stop by the Lakeshore Museum Center to see our Buster Keaton display.
October 4, 2017
A Sip of History
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.
September 8, 2017
Douglas Malloch: The Lumberman's Poet
A Muskegon born poet, Douglas Malloch gained wide fame with his upbeat poems on nature and life. His poems on the lumbering industry gave him the nickname the Lumberman's poet.
August 1, 2017
Hackley's Confederate Gold?
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.
June 7, 2017
Hackley Park
This special Memorial Day episode will examine the history of Hackley Park, Charles Hackley's largest and most enduring Memorial Day gift.
May 29, 2017
The Man with the Branded Hand
This episode will cover the life, imprisonment, trial, and legacy of abolitionist Johnathan Walker. Special thanks to Harold McDermed for his guest narration.
April 5, 2017
The Amazon Knitting Company
This episode will follow the history of the Amazon Knitting Company from its roots in Indiana, to its arrival in Muskegon, and up until its use today as apartments.
March 1, 2017
Martin Ryerson: Life of a Lumber Baron
This episode will follow the life and career of Martin Ryerson a Muskegon made Lumber Baron.
February 9, 2017
Muskegon History and Beyond
The Lakeshore Museum Center is starting a podcast! Please subscribe to us on i-tunes or follow the link on our website and Facebook to hear what we are talking about.
February 6, 2017