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Historic building moved to new location in Manistique

Courtesy photo The historic building in Manistique resting after its trek of 300 yards.

MANISTIQUE — An Upper Peninsula historical society now has a place to call home for its new museum in Manistique. At the end of May, the former Manistique Lumber building — dating back to the 1880s was moved.

“The historical society had to hire engineers to help plan the move. It was estimated to weigh approximately 72 tons. The building was to be moved approximately 300 yards traversing the historic Syphon Bridge. The original bridge was built in 1919, and has significant historical value as well. After various permits, inspections by MDOT, and other contractors, the plan finally came together on May 30th,” said Vice President of the Schoolcraft County Historical Society Paul Walker.

Moving the building came after it was originally scheduled to be torn down to make room for the extension of the Manistique Boardwalk. Instead, it will become a museum.

“The historic laundry building will become the first building in the creation of a museum showcasing the rich history of our area,” Walker said.

Walker also shared the storied past of the building, information that will soon have a home.

He said the first known business to occupy the building was Joseph Pattinson’s steam laundry in 1889. The building was later purchased in 1919 by E.W. Miller where it became the Riverside Coal & Produce Company. Miller would later change the name to Miller Lumber & Coal Company before becoming the Manistique Lumber Company Warehouse. Now in 2024, the over 100 year old building has a new resting place.

Moving the building was no easy task, it took innovation and pre-planning.

“It was difficult,” Walker said.

“The floor joists had cement between them that had to be removed to reduce the weight. Turning the building to make the corners, they had to put truckloads of sand down so the building would slide on its tires.”

He added that the building is currently sitting in the parking lot at the Historical Park because the ground is too soft from the current rain to turn around and place it on the foundation.

Walker added that the project was a community effort.

“The board of commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $25,000 of ARPA funding, and waved all costs for permits and the like. The board of commissioners also worked with the City of Manistique and Manistique DDA. We are a strong community of collaboration with all our stakeholders in important projects such as this unprecedented and historic building move,” Walker said.

Once the ground its stable enough, the building will be placed on a new foundation and the restoration process will begin. Walker said the façade will be akin to a general store from the ‘pioneer days.’

The new museum is going to be situated/attached to the archive building, encasing permanent displays as well as theme base displays for certain holidays. The museum will also feature a gift shop.

Walker added that he and the rest of the historical society knew there would be interest in the project, but the response/support went beyond expectations.

“The society is extremely thankful to all those who contributed to this project, and the tremendous collaboration from the county and city.”

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