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2017 Collections Acquisitions

Charles E. Waltensperger painting showing the coal dock on Mackinac Island.

In 2017, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission accessioned 102 gifts and 85 purchases to the historic object and archival collection. Among the objects acquired was a 1934 map of Mackinac Island showing Civilian Conservation Corps projects, several black and white snapshots taken by tourists and photographic equipment used to document the state park collection in the 1970’s and 80’s. During the year, the park received several new paintings, became the caretaker for archival collections from Wawashkamo Golf Club, Little Stone Church and the Brown family and home for one of the largest models of a Straits of Mackinac railroad ferry.


Artist Miriam Suleeba’s painting showing the harbor on Mackinac Island.

The park commission received a donation of a painting by Michigan artist Miriam Suleeba showing the harbor on Mackinac Island. The first purchase of the new year was a Charles E. Waltensperger painting showing the coal dock on Mackinac Island. Waltensperger (1871-1931) was a painter and illustrator from Detroit. He attended the Detroit Museum of Art, the Academie Julian in Paris and Academie des Beaux Arts under Jean-Leon Gerome. He worked as an illustrator for the Detroit Free Press and was a member of a group of Detroit artists known as the Hopkins club that held exhibitions at the Old Detroit Museum of Art before they established the Scarab Club. The canvas required cleaning and was conserved by Lis Art Conservation this past winter. The painting was a new addition to the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum this spring.

Wawashkamo guest register from 1900.

This summer, three collections of archival material were donated to Mackinac State Historic Parks. The first were twelve guest registers from Wawashkamo Golf Club dating back to 1900 when the course opened. Golfers and guests signed in upon arrival and the registers are full of names including many famous summer residents, day trippers and professional golfer Walter C. Hagen. The second collection contains records, books and photographs related to the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island. The church began in the winter of 1896-97 with services being held in the homes of island residents. The congregation moved into the current building in 1905 and the collection documents its history from 1904 -2014. Several books and scrapbooks were donated related to the Brown family, who spent their summers on Mackinac Island. The scrapbooks were kept by Mary Wilmarth Brown who served as a nurse during World War I.

In March of 1913, the railroad ferry Sainte Marie arrived in the Straits of Mackinac. She was constructed for the Mackinac Transportation Company to assist her fleet mate Chief Wawatam with increasing freight and passenger traffic. She was one of the most powerful icebreakers on the Great Lakes and besides fulfilling her duties at the straits, she spent several spring months clearing ice in the St. Mary’s River. In June, the park purchased a five and half foot model of the railroad ferry along with the loading/unloading apron from a model railroad layout. The model was built using the original shipyard plans from scratch and will eventually be placed on display.

Interior detail from the Sainte Marie model.

This is only a small sample of the type of objects the state park collects during a given year.  We are always looking for donations and items to purchase which will help the state park to continue its mission of educating the public about the history of the region.

A big thank you to our 2017 Accession Gift Donors:

David Doss Real picture postcard of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Lenawee County Historical Museum Black and white snapshots of Main Street on Mackinac Island

Jeri Gustafsson Color postcards of Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Bridge

Martin and Patricia Jahn Cast iron counter balance scale and wooden barometer stick

Brian Jaeschke Postcards of Fort Mackinac, Fort Michilimackinac and the Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours Ray Davis account book page

Glenna J. Paukstis Watercolor painting of Mackinac Island harbor and east side of town by Miriam Suleeba

Kathlyn DePauw-Cuneo Lore of the Great Turtle signed by Dirk Gringhuis

Walter K. Hannabass Souvenir ruby glass inscribed Alex by Frank Kriesche; Black and white photograph of Tootle Cottage servants at Fairy Arch

Dr. Keith Widder Cameras, camera bags and other photographic equipment used to document the Mackinac Island State Park Commission collection

 Dena Armantrout Painting of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse by Davis Gray

Jeff and Elaine Chiappetta Old Mackinaw: Fortress of the Lakes by W.P. Strickland

Charlie Puttkammer Mackinac Island souvenir pillow covers; Sing A Song of Mackinac music booklet; Box of Crayola Crayons; Invitation to Mackinac College building dedication

Robert McGreevy Mackinac Island State Park Emergency Conservation work map prepared by the C.C.C.

Wawashkamo Golf Club Wawashkamo Golf Club visitor registers

James B. Larsen Four certificates appointing Edward Larsen to Governor’s Eagle Scout Honor Guard

Chuck and Jeri Feltner Nu-Way Repetitive Dive Table

Sally Zorn Scrapbooks of Mary Wilmarth Brown; Historic Mackinac by Edwin O. Wood Volumes I & II; The White Islander by Mary Hartwell Catherwood; Two Missionary Priests at Mackinac and Mackinac Register at Michilimackinac

 Little Stone Church Records, books, documents and photographs from Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island