Inland Water Route Historical Society

Inland Water Route Historical Society The Inland Water Route Historical Society works to preserve the rich history of the Inland Waterway. A collection of lakes, rivers and channels!
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10/11/2018

Fall has arrived in Northern Michigan and work continues on the boat house for the Marilyn Jean. Happy Fall everyone! 🍁 🍂

06/13/2018

Spring launch of the Marilyn Jean, 6-11-18...the new boathouse is in the background!

06/13/2018

Spring launch of the Marilyn Jean, 6-11-18 (a little fuzzy picture quality sorry about that)

The boathouse is getting ready for the Marilyn Jean, now we just need some warmer weather!
03/21/2018

The boathouse is getting ready for the Marilyn Jean, now we just need some warmer weather!

The boathouse for the Marilyn Jean is coming along nicely! It is on pace to be completed by the summer season.
12/09/2017

The boathouse for the Marilyn Jean is coming along nicely! It is on pace to be completed by the summer season.

10/27/2017

Just got word from Wayne Blomberg that the museum will be open for the open house this Saturday the 28th between 12-4 so come check it out and learn all about the history of the Village of Alanson and the Inland Water Route!

Come visit the Village of Alanson for their Open House this Saturday October 28th between 12-4p. They are celebrating ne...
10/26/2017

Come visit the Village of Alanson for their Open House this Saturday October 28th between 12-4p. They are celebrating new businesses, new owners and expansion! There is a snowmobile Fall Swap at Spanky’s, Live music from the Galactic Sherpas, giveaways, food and drink. This is a fun event you won’t want to miss!

When you have a boat you need a place to store it in the summer, quite a few volunteers have been hard at work building ...
09/23/2017

When you have a boat you need a place to store it in the summer, quite a few volunteers have been hard at work building the boat house for the Marilyn Jean to dock in the summer!

The 69th Top O Michigan Outboard race is this weekend, day 1 from Indian River Devoe Beach to Cheboygan and back, day 2 ...
08/09/2017

The 69th Top O Michigan Outboard race is this weekend, day 1 from Indian River Devoe Beach to
Cheboygan and back, day 2 Indian River to Crooked Lake and back. Race starts at Noon both days so come support the race! 🏁 After the race, check out the Alanson Riverfest it will be going on both days with lots of fun things to do for all ages!

07/31/2017
Maiden Voyage Marilyn Jean

Here is video footage of the voyage to get the Marilyn Jean home to Alanson by McGinnis Video Production...still currently docked at Ryde Marine if anyone would like to see this beautiful boat!

On July 14, 2017, the Marilyn Jean, a replica of a turn of the century tour boat left the Great Lakes Boat Builder School in Cedarville for it's new home at ...

The Marilyn Jean in currently docking at Ryde Marine if you would like to check it out, Wayne Blomberg was a huge part o...
07/28/2017

The Marilyn Jean in currently docking at Ryde Marine if you would like to check it out, Wayne Blomberg was a huge part of this and would be able to answer questions about how the dream became a reality!

The Alanson Village Chronicle
07/21/2017

The Alanson Village Chronicle

The maiden voyage of Marilyn Jean, the much-anticipated replica of the famous Inland Water Route tourist boats. The local fire department welcomed Marilyn Jean at the Swing Bridge. Thank you, Marta Fonger, for sharing the photograph.

07/18/2017
Straitsland Resorter

Straitsland Resorter

In a flashback to earlier times, the Marilyn Jean, a replica of boats that used to transport passengers on area lakes and rivers arrived in the Inland Water Route this past weekend. The boat is a project of the Inland Water Route Historical Society. After stops in Cheboygan, Topinabee (where it spent time in Mullett Lake with another replica boat the "Topinabee") and Indian River, the Marilyn Jean made her way to Alanson, which will be the boat's home port. (Additional photos and information will appear in the July 20 edition of the Straitsland Resorter.)

The Marilyn Jean went through the Cheboygan river, across Mullett Lake and through the Indian River to dock in Indian Ri...
07/17/2017

The Marilyn Jean went through the Cheboygan river, across Mullett Lake and through the Indian River to dock in Indian River for the night. She will be arriving at her home at Sanctuary Island tomorrow. Come see her at the Alanson Swing bridge at 2 pm to watch her go by!

Left Cheboygan at noon and now about to meet a 1911 Truscott in Topinabee
07/16/2017

Left Cheboygan at noon and now about to meet a 1911 Truscott in Topinabee

The Marilyn Jean made it to Cheboygan for the night, here is a great shot of it passing under the Mackinaw Bridge and a ...
07/16/2017

The Marilyn Jean made it to Cheboygan for the night, here is a great shot of it passing under the Mackinaw Bridge and a picture of it passing the Coast Guards Mackinaw Cutter.

07/15/2017

The Marilyn Jean is hoping to come to its final home at Sanctuary Island in Alanson on July 17th!

The Marilyn Jean is making its way along Lake Huron past Mackinac Island today and will be stopping in St. Ignace for th...
07/14/2017

The Marilyn Jean is making its way along Lake Huron past Mackinac Island today and will be stopping in St. Ignace for the night. If you are in the area check it out at the marina in town.

Inland Water Route Historical Society's cover photo
07/11/2017

Inland Water Route Historical Society's cover photo

Homecoming of the Marilyn Jean, the journey begins!  On July 13th Thursday 2017, the Marilyn Jean launch will depart Ced...
07/11/2017

Homecoming of the Marilyn Jean, the journey begins! On July 13th Thursday 2017, the Marilyn Jean launch will depart Cedarville Michigan at around 10 am. The 30 foot turn of the century Truscott replica has been beautifully put together by the Great Lakes Boatbuilding School over the course of 3 school years. The boat participated in the 10 year anniversary of the school's funding and gave rides to students and family members on Memorial Day weekend ceremonies. After the completion of a few final details, the Marilyn Jean also participated in the 4th of July Parade, an extremely popular event in Les Chaneaux Islands area. In the tradition of how things were done in the early 1900's, IWRHS has decided to bring the launch to its home in Alanson by water, dividing the trip into several segments. Weather permitting, we will travel from Cedarville to St. Ignace making an overnight stop there. Crossing the Straits of Mackinaw early the next morning with a brief stop in Mackinaw city and then traveling down Lake Huron to Cheboygan for another overnight stop. The next segment of the journey will be down the Cheboygan River and Mullett Lake arriving in the village of Indian River and staying the night there. Timing and details are being worked on for Paul Huff of Topinabee to accompany the Marilyn Jean into Indian River with his original 1911 Truscott 30. After the final overnight stop, the completed journey of historic Inland Route will end in the village of Alanson. Where Marilyn Jean will be based and begin its purpose of giving trips on the very popular and unique Inland Route that consists of 3 lakes and 3 rivers that make up the waterway across the tip of the mitten. The Marilyn Jean is a project of the Inland Water Route Historical Society which operates the museum on River Street in Alanson. The museum gives visitors a glimpse of the romantic and very popular steamer trips which were operating in the later 1800's and early 1900's.

07/11/2017

The Marilyn Jean completed by the Great Lakes Boatbuilding School, it was completed over the course of 3 school years and is finally ready for its maiden voyage.

The Marilyn Jean participating in the 4th of July Parade in Les Cheneaux Islands area in the Upper Peninsula.
07/11/2017

The Marilyn Jean participating in the 4th of July Parade in Les Cheneaux Islands area in the Upper Peninsula.

Timeline Photos
06/29/2017

Timeline Photos

This is the hull of The Marilyn Jean...It is almost ready for her maiden voyage so stay posted for details on that monum...
06/28/2017

This is the hull of The Marilyn Jean...It is almost ready for her maiden voyage so stay posted for details on that monumental event!

Inland Water Route Historical Society's cover photo
06/28/2017

Inland Water Route Historical Society's cover photo

06/28/2017

Nautical Art

Although we have previously made mention of the large Inland Route Charts that IWRHS has collected, it has been several years since we have spoken about them. Very popular in the early years, many people had one of these large single page charts framed and prominently displayed on a cottage wall. The following is a brief history of these beautiful charts. When rail traffic made northern Michigan accessible and as the lakes and rivers were being settled and widely used, the need for a detailed chart was recognized. The government agency responsible for charting at that time around the turn of the century was the “War Department” and their name prominently appears on the two earliest charts. The very first gift IWRHS received was given by Margaret O’Malley of Burt Lake, a 1921 version of the chart. In small print on that chart appeared the words “second edition” so we knew there was an earlier edition, but locating one was like a scavenger hunt. It took several years but we were finally rewarded with a nearly pristine copy of an original chart with the date of 1914-15 appearing on it. This copy was made available to the IWRHS by Don and Joni Leyrer of Grand Rapids and Ponshewaing. The two earliest charts are quite colorful and extremely detailed including all water depths, land contour lines, and small black boxes marking individual homes and businesses in the large inset in the upper left corner attesting to the importance of the city of Cheboygan at that time. Even the reported “world’s largest sawdust pile” is also denoted. These charts were produced at random intervals and became less detailed in the later productions. IWRHS has collected charts from 1914-15, 1921, 1929, 1935, 1945, 1951 and the final year it was produced as a single page chart in 1958. We have these charts available for purchase in our gift shop in full size 33”x44” and ¾ size is also available. These charts are reproduced on very high quality paper to be mounted and framed. After 1958 the charts were produced in a multi-page booklet form. Yes, a little more useful on a boat but definitely not for hanging on a wall. If you have never seen these charts, or it has been a while, stop by the museum on River Street in Alanson this summer for a closer look. Those two earliest versions are truly works of art and I bet the men who spent thousands of man-hours collecting and charting the information would be honored to know that their work is still being appreciated more than a hundred years later. And remember that all this information was gathered before aerial photography and electronic depth sounding!

06/28/2017

Marilyn Jean Project
By Wayne Blomberg

Tourism and northern Michigan. The rugged beauty of our part of the state known as the tip of the mitten has drawn people to visit, experience, and enjoy it for years. From the big blue waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to the large inland lakes like Burt and Mullet, along with the interconnecting rivers that these waters have attracted and made a way for people to journey on and take in this beauty while traveling by boat. Quite often visitors are unaware of the waterway known as the “Inland Route” that stretches from within a half mile of Little Traverse Bay in the west, to the city of Cheboygan on Lake Huron in the east. Thirty-eight miles of interconnected lakes and rivers offering a unique and adventurous way to see our beautiful state.
A little-known fact is the scale of thriving tourism that was going on around the turn of the century. In the village of Alanson is a small museum that tells the story and brings to life the fascinating details of the Inland Route. All intertwined were the railroads, large hotels, and navigation companies showing off the natural beauty found here. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railway marketed themselves as the “fishing line.” Bringing visitors north to places like Aloha on Mullett Lake and the city of Cheboygan, was the Michigan Central Railroad. The Detroit and Mackinaw Railway with their train called the “Timberliner,” also brought numerous visitors from the southern part of Michigan and neighboring states to the south. The Inland Water Route Historical Society formed in 2004 had a goal of giving a glimpse of what it felt like to travel the waterway on a historic launch. After retiring the mortgage on the museum building on River Street in Alanson in 2010, thanks to very generous support from the local area, the goal of beginning the project of purchasing a historic boat design began. Members of the launch committee had heard about the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven Michigan operating a 30’ Truscott replica design. In the winter of 2012 committee members made a trip to South Haven to see their boat. It was a beautiful craft and not too long after our trip we decided to contact Lloyd Beckman out in Kingstown Rhode Island to inquire about the possibility of having a hull built for the Inland Water Route Historical Society. After much discussion, our launch committee decided to move forward into very uncharted waters. This kind of project has a whole lot on unknowns and US Coast Guard requirements that provide a roller coaster type ride. We’ve come to learn that there are many reasons that you don’t see a project like this in very many places – Not easy and Not inexpensive! In October of 2013 we sent a down payment and signed a contract to begin construction of the boat. Work on the fiberglass hull began shortly after, and in February a trip was made to the east coast to pick the boat up and bring it home to northern Michigan. Although it had an engine, drive train, rudder and propeller, the boat was a just a shell with a lot of work yet to be completed. Having had previous conversations with the Great Lakes Boatbuilding School in Cedarville Michigan, the committee voted to take the boat there to have it completed. If you have never visited the school, visitors are welcomed by the staff to an interesting shop and view unique projects being worked on. Our hull would spend the next three school years being painstakingly and meticulously assembled to be compliant with every US Coast Guard regulation of a vessel certified to carry public passengers. While the committee had ideas on how we wanted the boat to look, some things had no choice – “Coast Guard Regs.” As the completion is becoming a reality, the boat has become more beautiful with its fantail shape and varnished mahogany brightwork. The staff and students at G.L.B.B.S. have been very accommodating and a pleasure to work with. In May of 2017 the time had come to give the boat a name, so at a special meeting of launch committee members, it was voted upon that the boat will be called the “Marilyn Jean” in honor of Jean Fairbairn, a founding member of IWRHS and tireless and enthusiastic supporter of the idea of the Inland Route Museum, and having a historic boat introducing visitors to an era of steamboats and tourism at the turn of the century and a little beyond. Jean was not able to see that vision become a reality but we know that she would be proud of the accomplishment of goals that were envisioned.

As final touches are being made to the Marilyn Jean, plans are being made to bring it to its home port in the village of Alanson. In historic times a boat like this would not have been trailered. Poor or non-existent roads and the fact that boat trailers were not yet invented, the boat would have been brought to its home port by water. In keeping with that tradition, details are being finished to make the trip from Cedarville to the entrance of the historic Inland Route at Cheboygan and on down to the Village of Alanson where it will be eagerly welcomed to become a fixture in the community. Progress and updates on the journey will be available on Facebook on the Inland Water Route Historical Society Page.

Here are some interesting photos of the Crooked River, just a peak into the history that you can look into if you visit ...
06/28/2017

Here are some interesting photos of the Crooked River, just a peak into the history that you can look into if you visit the museum.

Inland Water Route Historical Society
06/28/2017

Inland Water Route Historical Society

Welcome all to the new Inland Water Route Historical Society page.  Due to admin issues we created a new page s...
06/28/2017

Welcome all to the new Inland Water Route Historical Society page. Due to admin issues we created a new page so please share and like this new page to spread the word on this museum!

Inland Water Route Historical Society
06/28/2017

Inland Water Route Historical Society

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6217 River Street
Alanson, MI
49706

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