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2019 Collections Acquisitions

German made souvenir porcelain china.

In 2019, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission accessioned 188 gifts and 107 purchases to the historic object and archival collection. The park purchased or was gifted several large collections of souvenirs, paintings, glassware and postcards. Some of the interesting items were a large collection of souvenirs, paintings and other items related to Mackinac Island purchased from a long-time collector. Several black and white press photographs and an invoice from the business of an islander was acquired. Donations included the engine room plate from a Straits of Mackinac shipwreck, several pieces of Kriesche glassware and photographs and archival material belonging to a former Mackinac Island State Park Commissioner.

Press photo of the Port Huron to Mackinac yacht race finish.

Over the years, the park staff have made connections through purchases and donations from people who like to collect Mackinac Island related objects. One of these long-time collectors and dealers, Ronald J. Rolando, passed away in 2018. Ron was from Leonard, Michigan and was prominent at Grand Hotel antique shows which he managed during its final years. Before his death, he promised to offer several items from his inventory and personal collection which the park was interested in purchasing.

Inscribed water pitcher and cup & saucer by Frank Kriesche.

The collections staff traveled to his home in May 2019 and was able to purchase several objects from his wife and daughter. Several unique pieces of souvenir china including a cobalt color watering can and basket, a Frank Kriesche inscribed water pitcher and cup & saucer were acquired. Paintings by Henry Chapman Ford, Stanley Bielecky and unknown artists will add to the park’s artwork collection. Finally, a rare silk flag made by Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit for each of Michigan’s counties was purchased. It is the flag for Mackinac County and displays one of Fort Mackinac’s blockhouses.

At work on Mackinac Island.

In the past few years, the park has purchased several black and white press photographs. These images were taken for use in newspapers around the country for stories and articles. In recent years, with the advent of digital images and scanning, many newspapers have gotten rid of the original hardcopy photographs. The images, which are usually 8” x 10”, have been found on eBay and depict a wide variety of subject matter from everyday people working on Mackinac Island and the Port Huron to Mackinac yacht race finish to the President of Mackinac College and scenes from around the Mackinac Island.

An Amberg File & Index Company invoice.

In 1892, William Amberg purchased a small cottage on the West Bluff, tore it down and built a larger Queen Anne style home. Amberg was born in Bavaria and settled in Chicago where he was in the stationary business. After losing several businesses including one during the Chicago Fire of 1871, he started the Amberg File & Index Company which manufactured and distributed his invention, the file folder. This year, the park purchased an invoice that came from the company which helps tell the story of how cottagers obtained their wealth and came to Mackinac Island.

Brass engine plate from the steamer Fred McBrier.

On October 3, 1890, the steamer Fred McBrier towing the schooner-barges J.B. Lozen and A. Stewart was 10 miles west of Mackinaw City loaded with iron ore. Built in 1881 by F.W. Wheeler & Company of West Bay City, Michigan, the McBrier was 442 tons. On this day, she collided with the larger 1,596-ton steamer Progress and sank quickly with no loss of life. This summer, the park received her brass engine plate as a donation. The plate, besides the vessels name, provides the company name and where the engine was built, engine number and year built. Locating an engine plate on a shipwreck is one way to positively identify the ship.

Frank Kriesche operated a glassware store on Mackinac Island beginning in the 1890’s. Kriesche was a German immigrant from Bohemia who was a skilled artisan in glass engraving. He imported German glassware and would do the engraving at his shop where he sold to both tourists and local residents. This spring, Harold Kriesche, an adopted descendant donated 94 pieces of clear glassware that had been engraved for the LaPine family of Mackinac Island. The collection includes several different types of glasses, stemware, vases and a pitcher. These pieces will be added to the growing collection of Kriesche engraved pieces.

Wilfred F. “Bill” Doyle

In 1939, former Republican state senator Wilfrid F. “Bill” Doyle became a Mackinac Island State Park Commissioner beginning a 46-year career of supporting the commission. Serving as chairman during three separate periods, he used his lobbying skills to get money to purchase the Lawrence A. Young Cottage and restore it as the Governor’s Summer Residence. In the late 1950’s, he worked with Grand Hotel owner W. Stewart Woodfill to get the bill signed that would allow the park commission to issue revenue bonds. These bonds, which are still used today, provide funds for the restoration and care of historic buildings, establish admission charges and paid contract employees who maintain historic collections, construct exhibits, supervise interpretation and several other vital park positions. This fall, the park was given a donation of several black and white photographs, correspondence and other materials that belonged to Commissioner Doyle. These materials will be helpful in preserving and presenting the history of the state park as an institution.

This is only a small sample of the type of objects Mackinac State Historic Parks 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.

Mackinac State Historic Parks
2019 Accession Gift Donors

Tom Wille
Black and white print of Round Island Lighthouse by Clarice Haynes

Craig Wilson
Color postcards of Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island and Mackinac Bridge
Color postcard panoramic of Mackinac Bridge

Steven Brisson
Oversize color postcard showing aerial view of Mackinac Island harbor

Dr. Keith Widder
Wood plaque with image of sloop Welcome by Pat Reisland

Steve Harold
Black and white photograph of railroad ferry Chief Wawatam in ice
Color postcards of Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Bridge

Dr. Lynn Evans
Vernors soda can with image of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

John Donnelly Jr.
Black and white photograph showing Henry Donnelly with group of people
Color images of Cloghaun Cottage interior by Clarice Haynes

Donna Sinks
Black and white photographs on board SS Alabama and on Mackinac Island

David Doss
Black and white photographs of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Bridge
Color and black & white postcards of Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City

Jennifer Maples
Photograph album of Moral Re-Armament people and places

Harold Kriesche
Ninety-four pieces of etched clear glass by Frank Kriesche of Mackinac Island

Brian Jaeschke
Two motel keys from the Kings Inn in Mackinaw City
Oversize color postcards of City of Munising and Vacationland

Tom Farnquist
Engine plate from the SS Fred McBrier which sank in the Straits of Mackinac

Clark Bloswick
Hotel room keys from the Terrace Cottage on Mackinac Island

Stanley D. Young
Forty-six stamps commemorating Pontiac’s Uprising at Fort Michilimackinac

Richard and Victoria Riel
Grand Hotel booklet and dinner menu

Kay Hoppenrath
Two wicker rocking chairs made for children from Young Cottage

Deborah O’Donnell
Photographic prints by William Gardiner and H. Marshall Gardiner

Pam Misch-Silliman
Black and white snapshots of Mackinac Island
Upper Peninsula guidebooks

Deborah Orr
Two sets of billiard cue racks and mirror from Mackinac Island

George Burrows
Steamer trunk with several pieces of clothing belonging to Ralph Burrows

Sherry Anderson
Oil portrait over photographic base of Amanda White Ferry

Scott Rausch
Color postcard of Marquette Park with Fort Mackinac in background

Linda Mastin
Sunlight Picyures Mackinac Island souvenir photograph book

Lorraine Hartley
Black and white postcard of Father Marquette Statue on Mackinac Island

Gill Chamberlain
Scrapbook pages, journal radio press from a trip on SS South American

Mr. and Mrs. Barry BeDour
Photographs, blueprints and archival documents belonging to Mackinac Island State Park Commissioner Wilfred Doyle