Listen to the interview with Troy Henderson
Heritage Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, at Fayette Historic State Park. The 19th-century-themed event celebrates Fayette’s rich iron smelting heritage.
Troy Henderson with the Michigan History Center said retired state archaeologist John Halsey will talk about excavation work he has done at Fayette.
“He had done numerous archaeological excavations at Fayette when he was working. I wanted to invite him back to talk about some of those excavations and some of those artifacts that he found and what that tells us about Fayette and its past,” Henderson said.
Other activities include presentations by Michael Deren, who will immerse visitors in music and history as an 1870s iron worker. Blacksmith George Potvin and blacksmith/bladesmith Dan Choszczyk will demonstrate their skilled trades. The “Dodworth Duo Strolling Serenaders” will provide a concert at 11:30 a.m. and performances at various locations across the townsite in the afternoon.
Children’s games and activities will include three-legged and sack races, lawn croquet, and reproduction toys from the era. Anyone 13 years old and older is invited to play a game of old-time baseball with the Fayette team.
A food tent in the townsite is sponsored by the Big Bay de Noc High School Booster Club.
The program runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Recreation Passport is required for park entry.
Fayette Historic Townsite features one of the nation’s premier examples of a 19th-century industrial community and company town. In operation from 1867 to 1891, its furnaces produced more than 229,000 tons of pig iron, becoming the second-largest producer of charcoal iron in Michigan.
Today, 20 buildings are preserved, including the furnace complex, hotel, town hall, company office and several residences. Eleven buildings contain exhibits and are open to the public, including a modern visitor center with a scale model of the town site as it looked in the 1880s.