April 2019 TAHS Program — How Schools Changed: Traverse City Public: a Case Study by Richard Fidler

Saturday, April 20th at 1pm, in the McGuire room Traverse Area District Library, Main Branch

Local historian Richard Fidler will present on the history of education in Traverse City from 1885 to the present day: instruction, curriculum, tests, the mission of schooling, Title IX, growth of technology, and above all, the influence of the federal and state governments on school practice.

Examining student handbooks, yearbooks, school board records, eighth grade tests from 1919, state education websites, Grand Traverse Normal School records, oral histories, interviews, newspaper articles, and photographs from the Local History collection of the Traverse Area District Library, Richard Fidler will show us what schools used to be—as well as how they became what they are today. Told as a narrative focused on the Traverse City Area Public Schools, this history of education will interest all who care about children, teachers, and schools.

We hope to see you there!

central school

Speakeasy Salon Series – March, April, & May

TAHS is hosting a new event series at the Traverse City Speakeasy, 123 W. Front Street.

A salon, as a type of intellectual gathering, can be described with both the purpose of entertaining and educating.

In a relaxed, elegant, and cozy setting, knowledgeable history ambassadors will share stories of Traverse City’s past and we welcome members of the community to join us.  Attend and share your own stories, those of family members – or tales or information you have researched or heard over the years. Each event will have a theme for stories to center around, and TAHS members will help facilitate the discussions. Enjoy a creative craft cocktail as you converse with others who are enthusiastic about our area’s rich and colorful history.

Our history ambassadors will start out the conversation with a few prepared stories, and we’ll all enjoy and add to the discussion. If you have photographs or objects you’d like to bring along to discuss and share, please do!

These events will be held from 5-7 pm on the 2nd Sunday of each month, March, April, and May.

Speakeasy Salon Series events:

March 10th 5-7 pm – Uncouth Characters
The men and women of Traverse City and Northern Michigan who were known for their colorful lives and personalities.

April 14th 5-7 pm – Illicit Operations
What business and livelihoods have been prolific in the area, but perhaps running under-the-radar?

May 12th 5-7 pm – Mothers of the North
For Mother’s Day, let’s explore the lives of the women who have nurtured their families, friends and their Northern communities.


You are welcome to attend as a community member, and if you’d like to be involved further, please contact TAHS Programs and Event Chair, Jen Loup, at loup.jen@gmail.com.

TAHS Programs at TADL have switched to Saturdays!

The upcoming programs for the monthly history program series, held in the McGuire room at the Traverse Area District Library on Woodmere Ave, will take place on the third Saturday of every month instead of the third Sunday. We are avoiding some conflicts with major holidays, and we’d love to see you there — same time, different day. 1:00-3:00.

March 16th
Kathy Firestone – The Maritime History of Greilickville

April 20th
Richard Fidler – How Schools Changed: Traverse City Public: A Case Study

May 18th
Russ Soyring – Traverse City Planner


February 2019 TAHS Program: Joyeux Noel – The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Brian McCall

Joyeux Noel – The Christmas Truce of 1914 and the End of Innocence  
Brian McCall will focus on the first months of fighting that culminated with the fabled cease-fire that ended the first year of the Great War and how it still resonates with us today, more than a century after the US entered the War in 1917. World War I has received increased attention and study in the past five years, including the 2018 release of the Peter Jackson documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old”.  
Brian McCall has been a member of the Interlochen Arts Academy faculty since 1998 and also has served since 2003 as an adjunct instructor in American History at both Northwestern Michigan College and Ferris State University.

January 2019 TAHS Program: Waterfront Transformations by Peg Siciliano

2498Sunday, January 20, 2019 – 1pm, at the Dennos Museum Center

In partnership with the Dennos Museum Center, Local historian and TAHS board member, Peg Siciliano, will present a program about the transformation of West Bay and Boardman Lake from industrial to recreational uses, and of Traverse City’s change from a lumbering and industrial hub to an outdoor mecca for tourists and retirees. Please join the TAHS for their January monthly program held in conjunction with Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850 – 1940, organized and toured by the Detroit Institute of Arts. This program is free of charge thanks to a grant from Art Bridges.

The program will be held at the Dennos Museum Center (1701 E. Front St. GPS: 1410 College Drive, Traverse City, MI) on Sunday, January 20th, at 1 pm. Program is free and open to the public.

November 2018 History Series: “History of City Opera House Program,” Sunday, November 4th, 1pm

COH, built in 1891.

Fred Anderson, TAHS board member, will present a program about the history of City Opera House (COH) in Traverse City. Of the approximately 128 local opera houses built in Michigan from the late-1800s through the early-1900s, only 13 still stand today, and 6 have been restored and used as entertainment venues. COH is the largest of those handful of restored facilities.

The program will be held at the Dennos Museum Center (1701 E. Front St. GPS: 1410 College Drive, Traverse City, MI) on Sunday, November 4th, at 1 pm. Program is free and open to the public.

TAHS Annual Membership Meeting

Sunday, October 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

October 21st is our annual membership meeting. Peg Siciliano will provide a short presentation on the history of the Traverse Area Historical Society to give both members and prospective members background on the origins of our society. The annual meeting will include a report on the state of the society, presentation of a proposed 2019 annual budget, and the election of board members.

Fall 2018 Newsletter Now Available

Dear TAHS Members (and future members!),

Please enjoy the latest TAHS newsletter, which you can download by clicking on the link below:

Newsletter Fall 2018

We encourage you to read the newsletter in full, but if you insist on the short version:

  • The President’s Report highlights a successful year, both fiscally and by meeting our mission through programming, partnerships, and internships
  • Our May program featured three speakers, talking about their favorite local history stories
  • See our slate of upcoming monthly history programs!
  • Reports from the Treasurer and Membership Committee Chair shows the strength of our organization. Go Team!
  • Our Archives is always adding, cataloging, and working to meet your research needs. We can’t do this work without volunteers!
  • Preservation Corner, a new feature debuted in our Spring newsletter, details some exciting opportunities for preserving the foundations of the Hitchcock/Goodale Farmhouse, as well as the other projects on our minds.
  • Learn more about Oakwood Cemetery in Richard Fidler’s beautifully written piece, A City of the Dead
  • Catch the dates for our end-of-the-year tours! You know our Halloween Tours fill up fast!
  • See a list of volunteer projects and consider joining us!
  • Read all about an upcoming event at the Perry Hannah House, taking place on Sunday, September 9th!

Special thanks to Bill Ruesink from the TAHS Board for his exceptional work as Newsletter Editor.

Upcoming Tours through the end of the Summer!

Colored photographic postcard of Julius T. Hannah’s Mausoleum at Oakwood Cemetery, Traverse City, undated. Image 4806 from the Local History Collection.

If you are interested in learning Traverse City history, beat feet to one of our fabulous tours! Find out more information on our Tours page, but here’s a quick overview of dates:

  • Downtown Guided Walking Tours, 10:30am-12:00pm; July 28th, August 11th, August 25th, September 8th, September 22nd, and October 27th.
  • Cemetery Guided Walking Tours, 4:00pm-5:30pm; August 19th  and September 16th.
  • Halloween-themed Cemetery Guided Walking Tour, 5:00pm-6:30pm; October 28th and 29th.