TROTOM "First Thursdays"--

tune in to history at home

Though our building is closed until next May, The Region of Three Oaks Museum has begun a "First Thursdays" program, offering illustrated talks about area history via Zoom.

The programs, each about an hour long, will happen on the first Thursday of each month, at 7 PM Eastern time. The link to the Zoom programs can be obtained by emailing us at Check this website's "Events" page to see recordings of past programs.

Our next "First Thursday" program:


January 6-- "A Virtual Stroll Down Elm Street", a pictorial look back at Three Oaks' main shopping street. Who owned what and when, with extensive research into the successes, flameouts, crimes, fires, and personalities that have shaped Three Oaks through the years.

Even lifelong area residents may be surprised to learn about:


— The African-American who was one of the village's first residents (was he  enslaved?)

— Robbers who blew open a safe in1880 and the business that installed gun ports in its counters in the 1930's. 

— The pioneering female merchant whose store burned down… twice!

— The local tavern that was rebuilt, to scale, on a movie soundstage.

— Why 116 people clambered into a single hay wagon to come downtown in 1910.

— Who played the music at silent movies shown in Three Oaks, and how they knew what and when to play.



Museum now closed for the season

after "farewell" to the Warren Calculating Engine

The "Calculating Engine" invented by Fred Warren in Three Oaks in 1875 will be headed back into storage at Michigan State University, but TROTOM sent it off in style on Halloween. 

In two different programs, visitors heard the amazing details of how the machine came about (Warren invented it on his death bed), and Notre Dame Computer Science Prof. Jay Brockman told attendees how Warren's invention worked, even doing demonstrations on a smaller, 1930's calculator that operates in similar fashion (that's 

Professor Brockman in the plaid shirt in the photo at right).


The Calculating Engine worked, but after Fred Warren died, no one else truly understood how the device worked. After being displayed at the Chamberlain-Warren Museum in Three Oaks from 1916 to 1952, that museum folded, its contents shipped off to Michigan State. MSU generously lent the Calculating Engine to TROTOM for display during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

We're working on new exhibits for 2022. We plan to feature dislays on the early days of various modes of travel in the Three Oaks area-- the early railroads that provided the first relatively easy access to the area.the automobiles that came into use in the early 20th century and transformed local society, and early airplanes that first landed in local farm fields just after World War I (we have amazing pictures!) We'll also display radios from across the decades, from primitive radio-telephones that struggled to pick up any sort of signal through console radios that provided the mainn entertainment in households in the 1920's, 30's, and 40's, and transistor radios that made listening portable in the 1950's and 60's. And we'll have a big new exhibit on local resorts of yesteryear-- the giant hotel with a ski jump which was chronically raided for allowing gambling, the ethnic hotels of Union Pier, some of which were founded because of anti-semtitism in nearby towns. Watch this website for further details.

Museum awarded
Pokagon F
und grant


The Region of Three Oaks Museum has upgraded its tach capabilities, thanks to a $3000 grant from the Pokagon Fund. Pictured are Pokagon Fund Executive Director Dan Petersen at left, handing the check to TROTOM President Chuck Sittig.


TROTOM has purchased new computer equipment and software to improve the museum's ability to catalogue and track the thousands of items in our growing collection.

We'll be training new volunteers how to accession new items on our new equipment. If you'd like to get involved, let us know by email--

EMAIL Museum Check.jpg

Three Oaks Heritage Hall

The Region of Three Oaks Museum owns the village's oldest building, the Town Hall built in 1866-67.


The building, now re-named Three Oaks Heritage Hall, is available as a low-cost event space- to museum members-- parties, baby showers, group meetings, are welcome. Rates start as low as $15 for a half-day.

There is also a small office available for rent at $250 a month.

Contact us at, if you're interested.


Discover how local athlete Joe Savoldi got kicked off a national championship football team and became a champion wrestler under scandalous circumstances, and then a spy before he got into the beverage business.