HERMANSVILLE – New exhibits have been added to the IXL Historical Museum, which opens for Memorial Day weekend at W5551 River St. in Hermansville.
Museum volunteer Ken Olson of Hermansville donated three pieces of equipment last fall: a milling machine, a hacksaw and a grinder. These are now part of an outdoor exhibit that features equipment that would have been used by the lumber company.
“All three parts were used in my personal machine shop,” said Olson, who has worked at the museum for five years.
The milling machine, which is a sharpening tool, is said to have been used between WWI and WWII. The hacksaw and the grinder, operated by flat belts, date from the beginning of the 20th century.
“Blades for wood planers would have been used in the machine shop of this factory” he said. “The hacksaw would have been used to cut metal.”
Olson also added oval-framed photos of Mr. and Mrs. Matt Perry, the original owners of the “Business house” on the site. The couple, along with their three daughters, are said to have lived in the house in the 1920s.
New photo exhibits are now hung in the lobby on the second floor of the main museum.
Olsen said he had researched many donated photographs to create collages of similar ones in terms of subject and date.
“We have some new photos from before 1888, that is to say before the city burned down”, Olson said.
He hopes to show a few more for the coming season.
The village of Hermansville was founded in 1878, when CJL Meyer of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, started a sawmill and shingle factory to process pine and cedar lumber on the land he had purchased. Meyer operated this mill until 1883, sending most of the product to Fond du Lac to store his sash and door factory. Around this time, Meyer organized the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company, which acquired the mill and landholdings as the major shareholder. Dr GW Earle acquired almost all of the company’s stocks and bonds in 1900.
The IXL Historical Museum was the main office building, which dates back to 1881-82. The artifacts housed in this building are 99% original, with the office equipment still as GW Earle left it.
A unique attraction on the first floor of the historic office building is the single-storey vault. Other elements of the building include hand-crank telephones, dictaphones, inkwells, adding machines and documents available to the public.
“We also have a $ 5 bill printed in Hermansville. “ Olson said.
The second floor of the building was a residence that includes the company’s living room, with a living room, dining room, and bedrooms, all furnished with period decor.
Additionally, visitors can visit the original “Company house”, one of the oldest houses in Hermansville; transport house; The Hermansville Original Product Warehouse which contains a representation of a company store from the early 1900s; and railway depot.
The museum would like to open a real working forge in the future.
“It would be a great addition, as we could ask a blacksmith to demonstrate at our special events” Olson said.
The museum was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
With the opening close at hand, the museum is in need of volunteers, said Olson. “We will teach everyone” he said. “Those interested can sign up for a shift once a month or once a year. “
Some of the museum’s upcoming events are their annual July 4th auto show and the Vintage Day event which takes place on August 15th.
The opening hours of the IXL museum will be from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday to Sunday for the bank holiday weekend. During the regular season, the museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays only. Group tours or after hours tours can be arranged by calling 906-498-2326.
Entrance to the museum is by donation.