Friday, June 3, 2011

Michigoner Tales: Honolulu House

Most American towns — that aren't totally on dire straits — usually have some sort of schlocky main street museum covering local historical color. Ann Arbor's got one. I've also been to quite a few throughout Michigan during family road trips: seeing the grindstones in Grindstone, the Otsego County Museum in Gaylord, and of course the obvious ones in Greenfield Village and Mackinac.

But in Marshall, they are really crazy about their local heritage. Their public schools have a class devoted to hometown history. Recently, I went to their historical society's headquarters: the Honolulu House.

Historic Honolulu House - Marshall, MI

The Honolulu House was built in 1860 by Abner Pratt, the U.S. consul to Hawaii before it became a state. After getting back to the continental United States, Pratt was feeling nostalgic so he built it to resemble the palace of King Kamehameha IV.

I was given a tour by a local girlscout getting some merit badge or another. The inside is pretty impressive: fifteen foot ceilings with murals, marble fireplaces, a bathtub that folds into the wall, lots of gilt, and lots and lots of taxidermied birds. There really were a creepy number of dead birds.

1 comment:

  1. I hope the girlscout wasn't getting a merit badge in fire starting.