Focus on Northern Michigan: Pickford Area Historical Museum


Located about 20 miles south of the Soo is a small town. If you blink, you might walk through it without realizing it.

But as Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Pickford had some pretty amazing people living there.

“I have been passionate about preserving history for generations,” said Dianne Schmitigal of the Pickford Area Historical Museum.

If you’ve been through Pickford before, this is a town that seems to be stuck in time. It’s the namesake of a man: Charles Pickford.

“Pickford was settled in 1876. People came here mainly from Canada because they found logging and logging to be good in this area. It’s a large agricultural region, agriculture is excellent, ”explained Dianne.

But what may surprise you is how many other great things have come out of this small town, such as the creed used by Rotarians around the world.

“His name was Herbert Taylor, the boy from Pickford in the 1930s, and he wrote the four-way test. Either way, Rotary International has adopted this as its credo and its motto, and it is its motto to this day, ”said Dianne.

One of their new exhibits is A Diary by Clarence Libby.

“Clarence was in World War II on a Navy ship and kept a very detailed diary while in the Navy. His family, luckily, kept all of his papers and they copied them and we made them available to all of our guests for them to read. It’s a very detailed and wonderful acquisition, ”explained Dianne.

What they call their crown jewel is a photo of a dinner party for President Wilson hosted by Charles Pickford’s son Thomas.

“He ended up hosting President Wilson and his entire cabinet at a dinner party. And it turned out that there was a man there by the name of Mr Taylor, who is a photographer and he took a picture of that dinner and sent it back to his parents here in Pickford, ”said Dianne.

Strolling through the Pickford Area Historical Museum is like strolling through this city’s past, like its collection of wedding dresses, for example.

“1876 is the oldest, and I think it’s from Scotland, I think it’s cashmere,” Dianne said.

So if you ever head to 129 from Cedarville to Soo, take a few moments to stop at Pickford.

“Just turn right at that little flashing light and about a block and a half down the street, stop, come in. It’s free, it’s informative.”

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