The Region of Three Oaks Museum to welcome returning “Oakers”, offer Elm Street Tour on Flag Day Weekend

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The familiar color scheme of purple and gold will welcome alumni of Three Oaks High School to their hometown museum on Flag Day weekend. Uniforms of TOHS athletes, cheerleaders, and band members and other memorabilia will greet visitors to the museum on Saturday, June 11th. Three Oaks High School closed in 1966, when Three Oaks merged with New Troy schools to form the River Valley School District.

The special display will coincide with a long-delayed reunion for Three Oaks “Oakers”. “We initially put together an exhibit of Three Oaks High memorabilia for our 2020 season,” said Judy Jackson, the museum’s Collections Director.

“When that reunion was postponed due to Covid, we kept the exhibit up, hoping there would be a reunion in 2021. We had to take down the exhibit this year to make way for new displays, but we kept the Three Oaks High artifacts together so we could do a pop-up exhibit on reunion weekend,” Jackson said.

Also on Saturday, June 11, the museum will offer a walking tour of Three Oaks’ historic Elm Street. TROTOM board member Nick Bogert has been collecting images and stories of Elm Street history for more than two years. During the four-block walking tour, Bogert will tell the “stories behind the storefronts” and show photos of Elm Street in decades past on a computer screen. The tour will begin at 1 PM at the museum at 5 Featherbone Avenue in Three Oaks.

Museum helps RV 7th graders

go out to an inn (or two)

About forty 7th graders from River Valley Junior High  toured the Lakeside Inn and Gordon Beach in, in late May, a tour programmed by TROTOM. 

The kids enjoyed the rocking chairs on the Lakeside Inn's huge front porch, but also heard about ghost stories that center on Room 30, tales of haunting that center on the inn's flamboyant owner in the 1920s and 30s, Arthur Aylesworth. Aylesworth was also known as an anti-Semite who resisted renting hotel rooms to Jewish customers, and also sold "restricted lots" around the hotel-- no Jewish buyers need apply.

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The students fram Anne Hawkinsons's class learned that a Jewish doctor from Oak Park, Illinois took exception to signs on Lakeside beaches reading "No dogs of Jews allowed". That doctor, Louis Gordon, bought a huge plat of land in Union Pier, and sold lots in the Gordon Beach subdivision to his Jewish friends and acquaintances in the 1920's. The development's clubhouse late became the Gordon Beach Hotel.

 

Visiting the Gordon Beach Hotel, the 7th graders learned that, while Dr. Gordon lost the hotel during the Depression, subsequent owners still served "kosher-style food" to Jewish vacationers. 

In the 1960's, the inn was bought by an African-American Chicago alderman, Robert Miller, and attracted black vacationers. In 1967, Miller's Gordon Beach Hotel was hit by a Malatov cocktail, badly damaging the inn's second floor, though no one was hurt.

Thanks to Ms. Hawkinson and her students. We hope the outing to the inns was fun and educational!

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TROTOM has re-opened!    Come see what's new for '22!

The Region of Three Oaks Museum's 2022 season is on! Read the newspaper coverage on the "What's Happening/Media Mentions" page on this website. You can visit TROTOM Friday through Sunday, 12 noon to 5 PM through the end of October. Admission is free, though donations are encouraged.

We're offering several new exhibits this year, including a trio of displays on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:

  • Planes— Did the first-ever plane flight occur in our area? How did a New Troy man wind up in Ripley's Believe or Not for surviving a bizarre mishap, landing on the tail of his plane? Pictures of the earliest plane landings in Three Oaks.

  • Trains—The "Tale of Two Rails", the Michigan Central and Pere Marquette railroads, shaped the region of Three Oaks in lasting ways.

  • Automobiles— The transition to the Auto Age meant do-it-yourselfers building rudimentary autos, gas stations and car dealers in lots of small towns, and scores of competing automakers selling their wares, even in towns as small as Sawyer, Galien, and Three Oaks.

  • Radios— In the 1920s, radio was all the rage. You could attend "radio concerts" at the Featherbone office building or Lee's Theater. We're displaying an assortment of old radios that may bring back some memories.

  • Resorts—Learn about the Golfmore, Michigan's second-largest hotel in the 1920's (it even had its own ski jump!), the Eastern European ethnic resorts of Union Pier, and the ghost stories of the Lakeside Inn.

  • Three Oaks Centennial— The community came together to locate and purchase a costume used to promote the village's 100th birthday back in 1967. We're displaying David Savage's Indian outfit with other memorabilia of the week-long centennial celebration.

"Heart of Cook" Fund

helps TROTOM grow

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The Heart of Cook Fund has awarded TROTOM a $500 grant to improve landscaping around the museum building and help repair our sprinkler system. One  of the three oak trees planted outside the museum will be replaced (you can't have just two living oaks outside a Three Oaks museum! The museum plans to match the grant with at least $500 of its own funds to beautify our campus.

 

The Heart of Cook is a grant-making organization set up by employees of the Cook Nuclear power plant near Bridgman. The check will be awarded at a ceremony at the plant in late May. We send heartfelt thanks to Heart of Cook!

 Three Oaks Heritage Hall: 

a great, low-cost event space

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The Heritage Hall is Three Oaks' oldest building, built in 1866, used as a Town Hall for about 150 years. The museum has restored some of the building's historic look, and mounted historic displays in the Hall's main room.


The Heritage Hall is available as a low-cost event space- to museum members-- for parties, baby showers, group meetings. Rates start as low as $15 for a half-day. Full rate schedule can be seen here. 
Contact trotommuseum@gmail.com for details
 

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Become a museum member-- the basics

To become a TROTOM member, simply send a check to TROTOM, PO Box 121, Three Oaks, MI 49128.

Basic membership-- $10

Family Membership-- $20

Be sure to include a note with your name, address, and email address so we can keep you in the loop on exhibits and programs!

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Three Oaks First Plane
Landing?

 
 
 
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