The Mission of The Port Austin Historical 

Society is to collect, preserve and

present history of the greater

Port Austin Area

 
 Port Austin Historical Society History from  their History Book
"Life along the Shoreline"
 
"Who We Are"                      written by Christine Kennedy Clancy
We take attendance at our monthly meetings on the first Thursday from April through December.  In the beginning, Chris Clancey put up a few posters around town and made a few phone calls.  Those present at the early gatherings, ready to pay dues, were Vonna Bambach, Mabel Pettit, Christine Clancy, Dubby Deman, Catherine Kennedy, Genevieve Schmidt, Ann Schwedler, Veronica Clancy, Clara Moran, Judy Goretski, Frank Tylenda, Dave Thuemmel, Bob LaBelle, Walter and Verna Muraswski, Mary Gottschalk, Venice Finan, Jackie Yaroch, Sally and Bill Wood, Nancy Smith, Helen Brecht, Mary Beth Loewe, Lillian Aiello, Father Shine, Doris McGuire, Terry McGrath, Carol McGuire, Mary Brown, Tida and Bob Finan.  Vonna acted as chairperson, and explained how other groups began.
 
The name was chosen to encompass the area around our shoreline, We decided that our goal was to get to know the local history and preserve what we could of it. A proposed Constitution was adopted.  Officers were then elected: President Dave Thuemmel; Vice President Bob LaBelle, Secretary Chris Clancy; Treasurer Dubby Deman, Trustees Jimmie Schmidt, Mabel Pettit and Nancy Smith.   In November 2003 our membership list read:  Jerome & Jean Andrews, Marvin Goretski, Marion Chaplinski, Robert & Jan Guenther, Veronica Clancy, Sandra Drettman, Catherine Kennedy, Bill Mutart, Tony Loewe, Dave Thuemmel, Gary and Lori Babcock, Betty Bond, Dubby Deman, Michael Nichols, Grace Donahue, Evelyn Hellebuyck, Leon Jakubowskei, Bob and Nancy LaBelle, Genevieve Schmidt, Candi MacDonald, Joanne Babcock, Helen Brecht, Bob and Tida Finan, Christine Clancym Diane Ellicott, Don and Carol Inda, Dorothy Parks, Lynda Lockman, Ann Schwedler, Barbara Maciosek, Bety Mayes, Dan and Sylvia Novak, Nancy Thurston, Edwin and Jane Mayes, Pat and Denise Pattison, Jackie Yaroch, Walter and Verna Muraswski, Mary Jane Rehn, Blue Spruce Motel, Grindstone Historical Society, Lake Vista Motel, Osentoski Realty, Schillinger and Schillinger Insurance, Used to Bees, WLEW Radio, Captain's Inn, Debbie Ramey, Huron City Museums, Mayes IGA, Port Austin State Bank, Thumb Arts Guild, John and Sharon UptheGrove, Finan and Schmidt Insurance, Priscilla Club, North Huron Schools, Port Austin Lions Club, U & I Club, Village of Port Austin.
 
What we have Done
We started out somewhat behind most of the other towns in the county, where they have had active historical societies for some years. They had gathered archives or records and memorabilia.  They had museums and belonged to the County Historical Society.  They had published books and or video's about their areas.  We quickly assessed our situation.  There was a mountain of work ahead if we were to catch up.  Bob LaBelle who worked with the County Genealogical Society had already created books of information about cemeteries, church baptisms and marriages, early land ownership and census.  Immediately he offered to give our new organization a small but significant percentage of his sales.  St. Michael's church committees had put together books of information on people and properties in 1969, under Father Dudek and in 1994, under Father Shine.  In working on them Chris Clancy had gotten a broad education in local and county history. society members who had grown up in Port Austin could provide memories of places and events from their childhood days.
 
Basically, the only thing we lacked was money and it was evident that some funds would be needed to accomplish anything.  A trip to the village council by the building committee wised us up the the amounts of money that would be needed every month if we were to lease the Civic Center, or the cash we would need to put a building up on a vacant lot.  So first we made and printed a historical calendar that was suggested to us by the existing chamber of Commerce Director, Janet Reiher. Dan and Sylvia Novak volunteered to distribute the calendar and we soon found out they they kept excellent records and sales reports.  Naturally they got the job forever and a day, along with a lifetime membership in our society.  Ditto for Bob and Nancy LaBelle when we found out how good he was at putting books together, getting them printed reasonably and binding them in his "dog house" computer room behind their garage.  Then the rest of us got going on various projects.  We completed the town history video, with sincere thanks to everyone who helped by contributing pictures, information, money or anything else to the completion of that job.  Having managed that, we followed up with other publications, such as a group of place-mats, selling a pioneer book that Bob LaBelle compiled from Chapman's 1884 book, and Bob's Civil War book that he donated to us.  We helped put together a county pictorial history. 
 
Meanwhile we kept on pursuing the basic goal of a place to put the town's archive of donated items of historical value.  The building and location committee is busily seeking out possibilities for this project, for which we have worked for six and a half years.  Under the leadership of officers, President Catherine Kennedy, Vice President Genevieve Schmidt, Secretary Chris Clancy, Treasurer Jackie Yaroch, and the hard-working committees, all of whom have contributed thousands of hours of volunteer time, perhaps the goal of a museum will soon be realized.  All of this leads to the present project, the publication of the Port Austin History and Biographical book.  Let's all just hope that the job goes well and the book is successful.  Happy 150th Birthday Port Austin.

 

 

Located 1 mile
East of
Port Austin
1424 Pte Aux Barques Rd

 

Map & Directions

 

Hours Open

April, May Sat & Sun 1-4
June, July, Aug Daily 1-4
Sept & Oct Sat & Sun 1 - 4

 

Also open for events,
classes and by
reservation

   ADMISSION FREE
(Air Conditioning)
  P O Box 450
Port Austin
MI 48467
  989-551-5532
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