You’ll find the most extensive collection of objects and archives related to Schoolcraft County at the Schoolcraft County Historical Society’s Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park is located in the middle of Manistique, just past the famous Siphon Bridge.
The Manistique Water Tower is located on the grounds, registered as a National Historic Place. This water tower is an octagonal-shaped, dome structure that housed 200,000 gallons of water from 1922 to 1966. Designed by Fridolph Danielson, the Roman Revival-style water tower cost $74,974 to build and was part of a new waterworks system in the early 1900s.
Today, the water tower is home to exhibits about Schoolcraft County’s history, culture, and heritage. Permanent and rotating exhibits showcase hundreds of objects, photographs, and documents including, The Siphon Bridge: 100 Years in the Making, the Haywire Rails to Trails, outdoor recreation from the past, and much more. When you walk through the original glass pane doors, you’ll be greeted by one of the volunteers who help keep the Water Tower open. The space is quaint but filled with unique stories and artifacts that have been collected over the years.
Also located at Pioneer Park is a permanent exhibit of a 1910 house that takes you back in time. All the furnishings in the bedroom, kitchen, and bedrooms are set up to replicate what life was like in 1910 in Schoolcraft County. Along with the historic house, you’ll find the Kepler Cabin from the Hiawatha Village Association dating back to the 1800s. It displays a complete cobbler shop with farming and logging tools, and is open to walk through during regular hours.
Every year since reopening Pioneer Park in 2017, the Historical Society has welcomed travelers from all over the country and has seen an increase in international travelers wandering in to learn more about our area’s history. Visitors can take a bit of history back home with them with their wide range of local books available to purchase along with an assortment of merchandise.