Trapping and Trading: The Fur Trade
Tools of the Blacksmith
1839 Courthouse Restored
Completed in 1839, Berrien County's Greek Revival-style courthouse was designed by local architect Gilbert Avery. After the county seat was moved to St. Joseph in 1894, the 1839 courthouse saw use as a community center, dance hall, militia training site, church and school. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the 1839 Courthouse and surrounding buildings in Courthouse Square is one of the oldest surviving government complexes in the Midwest.
Tools of the Blacksmith
Recreated on the site is a working forge to illustrate the importance of blacksmiths in small communities.
The Courthouse Museum: Featured Left, The Fur Trade
Trade in pelts such as beaver, muskrat, mink and otter was Michigan's first industry. Despite popular belief, almost all the trapping was done by Indians, not Europeans. English and French Traders exchanged goods for pelts, but did little trapping themselves. Furs, especially beaver were extremely valuable in Europe for clothing and hats. A trader could easily make his fortune with a few canoe loads of furs. Come see all our museum exhibits.
The 2018 Summer Program Series
Thursdays at Courthouse Square: The Eastland Disaster with Caitlyn Perry Dial
In 1915, the S.S. Eastland rolled into the Chicago River resulting in a tragedy that changed the fate of many families.
In the summer of 1915, the passenger boat Eastland called St Joseph, Michigan home. Owned by the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company, Eastland transported passengers daily between the cities of St. Joseph and Chicago. On July 24, 1915, the Western Electric Company chartered the boat to transport 2,500 of their employees to a company picnic in Michigan City. Eastland capsized while still tied to the dock, killing 844 people. This presentation will discuss the boat's history, the events of that day, and how after a century the tragedy remains the Great Lakes' worst disaster in terms of loss of life. **Some of the images shown during the presentation are graphic and show body recovery.**
2018 Thursdays at Courthouse Square: 1,000 Miles Great Lakes Trek with Loreen Niewenhuis
Loreen Niewenhuis returns to tell of her second grand adventure: 1,000 Miles along the shores of the five Great Lakes!
Loreen Niewenhuis has completed three grand adventures exploring the shores and natural resources of Michigan - including a trek all the way around Lake Michigan. Niewenhuis will recount her experience on trekking around the Great Lakes in the third program of the 2018 Thursdays at Courthouse Square. Sponsored by the Berrien Springs/Eau Claire Rotary Club.
Why Berrien Springs with Tom Kimmel
Learn why Berrien Springs was settled and what made this town so important!
Local historian and long-time resident Tom Kimmel will share the reasons Berrien Springs was settled so late and what made the town so important.
Schedule a Program or Service Today!
Outreach programs are available for either day or evening presentations, depending on staff availability. To schedule a program for your organization, call the Berrien County Historical Association at (269) 471-1202, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program fees: Outreach programs are $60 each. Multiple programs on the same day and location are $60 for the first program and $30 for each additional program. Mileage is charged for programs presented at locations outside of Berrien County.
Welcome to the History Center's New Gift Shop
The Museum Store carries a varied selection of local and regional history books, children’s books, American Girl books, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, home décor, and much more!
See more... Books for Sale ...here.
Historic Walking Tour of St. Joseph
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