Visit the Museum

North of East Jordan on M-66 where Monroe Creek winds its way to the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix stands a lovely park, Elm Pointe.  Elm Pointe was part of the original holdings of the East Jordan Lumber Company, owned by the Porter family.  The house was constructed of lumber milled by the Company and provided a showcase for the company’s products when the Porters entertained.  The estate was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Allen in 1942 for use as a summer home.  The Allens later built the lodge to provide for a garage and upstairs studio space.  The property was donated to the City of East Jordan in 1972 and in 1999 was designated as Michigan Historic Site #2004.

Today, the main floor of the lodge houses the East Jordan Portside Art and Historical Society Museum.  Founded in 1976, it was the first historical museum established in Charlevoix County.  At the museum, visitors can:  “meet” the National Smelt Kings, crowned during the annual Smelt Jamboree that was held from 1933 to 1940; read a record making fish story; get acquainted with the Loveday Opera House and Temple Theater; view articles from the lumbering era and local doctor’s office; marvel at the beauty of a historic stained glass church window and admire the tribute to local photographer, Bill Huckle as well as absorb other fascinating historical information about the area and its growth.

An educational highlight of the museum is the student docent program, which began in 2005.  Student docents appear at special museum events and during the Portside Arts Fair.  Dressed in period costume, local children from third through eighth grade are stationed throughout the museum exhibit areas to present information about their exhibit and answer questions from visitors.

After concluding your tour of the museum, step into the Cygred Riley Art Gallery with its impressive collection of Purchase Prize paintings and crafts from each of the annual Portside Art Fairs from 1971 to the present.  The Art Fair, held the first full weekend in August, is a highlight of the East Jordan summer community schedule. 

Still haven’t seen enough local history?  The Society’s “It’s History” Museum is located in the Masonic Building in downtown East Jordan.  Enter through the East Jordan City Hall Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and take a self guided tour into more of East Jordan’s past.  Here you can learn about local historian George Secord and his contribution to preserving the history of East Jordan, view memorabilia from the Hite and Gidley drug stores, relive childhood memories through the game display, and admire women’s fashions and accessories from bygone eras.  Exhibits are updated annually, so each visit is a new experience.

Admission to either museum is free.  Donations, however, are appreciated as the Art Fair and visitor donations provide the only financial support for the Historical Society.

East Jordan is a vibrant, modern town with strong historical pride.  We welcome summer visitors to learn more about us and make us an annual summer destination