IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Lake Antoine Park Partners celebrated a milestone with the dedication of their most ambitious project this year, marking it with a lively social gathering.
The park came alive with an ice cream social that welcomed the public to join in the festivities, and witness the unveiling of a brand-new history wall. Attendees had the opportunity to pose their questions about the intriguing exhibit that now graces the park’s landscape. This remarkable history wall boasted seven plaques that chronicle the park’s rich heritage, stretching back to the 1850s. The wall’s creation was made possible by a generous $5,000 donation from the Dickinson Area Community Foundation. The plaques were installed by Baker Sign Company. The Park Partners acknowledged the invaluable contribution of the local community in assembling the captivating historical information on display.
Ann Hruska, the Lake Antoine Park Partners Treasurer, remarked, “When you stand at the park, you look around the landscape behind us, across the lake and around here. You see mines, and you see ski jumps, and you see history. You know that there’s history. And over the course of the last six years with the Lake Antoine Park Partners, we’ve had a lot of people share with us their memories of the park. You know back in the 60’s and 70’s how this was the hub of the meeting place for teenagers and Sunday picnics.”
Hruska shared how locals might find the wall interactive.
“There’s so much history in the Northside, obviously the mining, but there’s a cool society that went on here. And then the early recreation stuff that happened, just to look at the park when it first opened,” Hruska added. Hruska highlighted how visitors might not realize how much history this area has, how far back the area’s history goes with the mining, logging, and the Ford motor company. Hruska emphasized how the display can be useful in informing visitors just how integral those industries were in shaping what the Lake Antoine Park is today. Hruska credited the county for paying to have the building re-painted to prep for the display, the local boy scout troop helped enhance the garden bed lining the display, and the park maintenance crew installed new lighting. Hruska emphasized the map panel, on the wall, which shows yellow numbered items where local historical remnants can still be found throughout the area today.
Hruska informed that the most difficult photo to locate for the display, was the picture of the cow in the “Early Years of The Park” panel. A local resident informed the park that his job as a teenager was to herd the cattle down to the beach every day, and then herd them back every afternoon. “We had people tell us that they used to share the beach with cattle, and that cattle watered here. And I found that picture in the Michigan State archives, and it actually said Lake Antoine,” she informed.
The park partners are encouraging locals to bring painted rocks to display in the fern garden just below the new signs, and several painted rocks have already found a home near the history display.
Excitement in the park is far from over, as it prepares to host an upcoming flea market and craft fair on Saturday, featuring a staggering lineup of over 80 craft and food vendors. The dedication of the history wall serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of community engagement that makes Lake Antoine Park a cherished local landmark.
The park partners are still actively searching for an artist to complete a butterfly-themed art display for the new butterfly garden. For artists interested in submitting a proposal, see WZMQ’s recent story on the butterfly garden by visiting: