Pioneer Christmas - Thank You!

During this season of giving, I would like to say thank you to our donors, members, and volunteers. Your generous donations of time, talent, and treasure supports the various programs that we offer at both Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

Thanks to your continual and generous support we were able to host the 1st Annual Pioneer Christmas this past Saturday. This event merged the past and the present traditions that we all cherish and spread “Christmas Joy” to almost 800 people.

Visitors to the Village were able to partake in many
festive activities such as:

• Writing letters to Santa & the Story of the Christmas Tree by Myrtle Grouver in the Marchido School House
• Reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Mr. Burns in the Burns Family Farmhouse
• Make & Take crafts in the Artisan Center
• 16th Century Carolers performing in the Caswell Courthouse
• Reading of the birth of Christ and caroling in the White Pine Chapel
• Festive Pomanders craft in the Trapper’s Cabin
• Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Cole’s General Store
• Cookies, milk, hot cocoa, & coffee in the Pere Marquette Town Hall
• Fellowship Fires for warming up throughout the Village

Thank you for supporting the Mason County Historical Society. Thanks to your generosity we are able to provide educational programming opportunities such as Pioneer Christmas! We are grateful for your generosity, trust, and most importantly your commitment to our mission.

Rebecca Berringer
Mason County Historical Society
Executive Director

Visitor Comments:

• This is awesome! The true meaning of Christmastime!

• It was wonderful! I loved just walking around among all the lights and the fire pits – the little street organ playing. The caroling and all the authentic historical touches, like the wild, imperfect Christmas trees, roaring fires, Victorian decorations, clove ornaments …

• Great night. Looking forward to next years Christmas at White Pine Village.

• Had a great night with our family there,thanks to everyone that made this possible. Looking forward to next year and Merry Christmas!

• It was magical! Thank you to all those that made it such a fun night.

Event Sponsors

• Country Dairy – milk for the Town Hall and volunteers
• Walmart – cookies for the Town Hall and sponsored the General Store providing decorations and volunteers to help Santa
• Sue & Charlie Hansen – Christmas trees
• Toni & Shel Larson – decorations
• Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts of Mason County – tree decorating
• Ned Nordine – Christmas lights

Thank you for partnering with us on this fun festive event!

News from the Director of MCHS

As we embark on the holiday season I would like to take a moment to thank you for your continual support throughout this past year. We are truly grateful for your commitment to our mission!

2018 has been a busy and exciting year for both museums.

Historic White Pine Village saw a 12% increase in admissions this year and a 40% increase in gift shop sales compared to two years ago. The Village was bursting with excitement as our first person interpreters entertained our many visitors. Our visitors were also able to enjoy our newest village exhibit — The Mason & Oceana Railroad exhibit which opened in July — thanks to our amazing donors, members, and volunteers. As visitors returned to the admission building on their way out they shared delightful stories of their time spent out on the grounds, taking in the nostalgia of our area’s past.

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum enjoyed its second year of operation and brought in a steady flow of visitors. In addition to the spring and fall hours, the museum was open seven days a week from Memorial Day – Labor Day thanks to the dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteers. Our volunteers shared their wealth of maritime knowledge with the thousands of visitors that walked through our doors. We opened the SS Badger exhibit on the third floor and are in the process of installing the U.S. Coast Guard exhibit. We have also begun exhibit design work on multiple exhibits that will portray the rich history of the lumbering, life saving, salt manufacturing, boat building, and commercial fishing industries that helped innovate our beautiful area. Thanks to the support of our generous donors and members all three of these exhibits will enhance the visitor experience as we share with them the remarkable history of our community.

I hope the news of our successes gives each of you a sense of pride. Your commitment to our mission pays honor to those that have gone before us who worked tirelessly to create what I like to call “majestic” Mason County, Michigan.

Thank you again for your support of our organization. We take great pride in our mission and our accomplishments, and thanks to your support we will be able to continue sharing the remarkable history of “majestic” Mason County, Michigan!

Happy Holidays,

Rebecca Berringer

Executive Director

Historic White Pine Village will host trick-or-treaters on Saturday, October 20th, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. This family-friendly event is geared toward children of all ages. 

This event has become a huge hit with families!  Each year the Mason County Historical Society gives out over 15,000 pieces of candy to over 500 kids.  Admission prices are kept low so that families can afford to come and safely trick-or-treat. 

We are in need of sponsors and/or donations of candy to hand out to the many trick-or-treaters and their families.  Sponsors are recognized on our Daysheets, social media pages, and website. Each family receives a Daysheet with a map of the Village on it. 

Donations can be delivered to the Village on Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

To make other arrangements or for more information call 231-843-4808 or email us at

Executive Director Dr. Rick Plummer set to Retire

Mason County Historical Society, which operates both Historic White Pine Village and Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, announces the retirement of Executive Director, Dr. Rick Plummer, and the appointment of Rebecca Berringer as Executive Director. “The transition of management will take place effective September 1, 2018”, states MCHS Board President, James Jensen.

Dr. Plummer has served as the Society’s Executive Director since 2015. “I will be forever grateful to MCHS for the opportunity it has given me to foster my abiding love of history and for the chance it provided me to help grow the organization,” Plummer comments. “Although I am retiring, I hope to continue my support of the organization and its mission to preserve and protect our rich agricultural, lumbering, and maritime history as a volunteer,” he adds. He credits all the accomplishments made during the past three years to the Society’s talented staff and the fiscal management and vision of the Society’s Board of Directors. Plummer leaves MCHS in order to spend more time with his family, to travel, and to pursue playwriting and acting-directing projects for which he states he has always planned since his retirement in 2015 from West Shore Community College.

Dr. William Anderson, past MCHS Board President and chief fundraiser for the Society’s Maritime Museum Development Campaign, remarks of Plummer’s departure and Berringer’s appointment: “During his tenure as Executive Director of the Mason County Historical Society, Rick Plummer contributed significantly to the growth and enhancement of the Society. First and foremost, he managed the development of a first-class maritime museum for which we should all feel community pride. We are going to miss Rick’s special creative talent and leadership ability but fortunately his successor, Rebecca Berringer, has already demonstrated her leadership skills and brings her impressive national park experience to the organization.”

Rebecca Berringer, a native of Davison, MI where she attended Mott Community College, was formerly employed at Yellowstone National Park where she supervised a staff of 12 employees. In 1996, she became the family reunion/wedding coordinator for Yellowstone National Park and worked daily with tour operators from multiple countries around the globe, as well as tourists from around the USA. Because of her love of history and her desire to be involved in the community she began working for the Mason County Historical Society in 2014. Rebecca has served the organization in multiple capacities, starting as the Administrative Assistant. She was promoted first as the Financial Manager, then to Managing Director of both museums in 2016. Rebecca is thankful to have had the opportunity to work under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Rick Plummer.

Mason & Oceana Railroad Exhibit Dedication - Saturday, July 14th; 10am - 3:30pm

My wife and I were in Coopersville to get some railroad rails for an exhibit at the PLMM when we saw this huge thing covered in shrink wrap. Our guide from the Coopersville and Marne Railroad explained to us that it was a steam engine they had rescued from the scrappers. And it needed a home.

I was immediately struck with the idea that the perfect place for it was Historic White Pine Village. The railroads built Mason County and developed it to what we have today, but nowhere do we pay homage to all important part they had in developing West Michigan.

It has been an honor to help bring to life for future generations the important part the railroads large and small did to shape the area we live in”. – John Holcomb, Mason County Historical Society Board of Directors

“Thanks to the visionary guidance of the Mason County Board of Directors and the generous support of our donors we are able to bring to life the story of the Mason & Oceana Railroad. This exciting exhibit will be transformational for Historic White Pine Village and the thousands of visitors that come through our doors each year.” – Rebecca Berringer, Managing Director for the Mason County Historical Society

Our 1st Person Interpreters and additional volunteers will be on hand to share the history of folks living in Mason County’s pioneer-era.

The Town Hall will be selling snacks, pop, water and ice cream!

The latest exhibit to be opened at Historic White Pine Village is a restored locomotive similar to some of those that were operated by the Mason & Oceana Railroad from 1886 to 1909.   The M & O Railroad, frequently referred to as the “Miserable & Ornery” by the men who worked on her, was a narrow gauge (3 ft. between the two tracks) railroad used by lumberman Horace Butters and his family to haul logs to the sawmills located on what is now commonly called the Buttersville peninsula.

While the M & O was primarily built to haul logs to the sawmills in Buttersville, it also hauled freight and passengers to and from various locations in Oceana County.  Some of those passengers were baseball teams, one sponsored by the M & O itself, as recorded in the May 20, 1897 edition of the Ludington Appeal.

The Mason & Oceana Railroad Exhibit Dedication ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m.   Following the dedication the exhibit will be open to the public and volunteers Gary & Josh Powers will run a sawmill demonstration.

“We have seen so much excitement from visitors since the train arrived, now that we’re ready to open this exhibit I am sure it will be a huge draw for visitors”! – Michelle DeKuiper, Site Manager for Historic White Pine Village

Also happening on the 14th between 10 am and 3 pm:

The Ludington Mariners are hosting an Old Time Base Ball tournament that will begin at  10 am and will run until a champion team is declared!  There will be three team competing: Ludington Mariners, Sydney Stars and the Fallasburg Flats.

Mason County residents will be allowed free admission – with a valid driver’s license only.  You must show your ID for free admission.  For all others the cost of admission will be $5.00 for the day.  Youth ages 5 & under are free.

MCHS Sets Sail

Members of the Mason County Historical Society (Ludington, Michigan) and the Manitowoc County Historical Society (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) will enjoy free daily admission* at each other’s historic villages during the 2018 S.S. Badger sailing season.

The Badger will set sail for its 2018 season from May 11 to October 14, joining our historical villages with a route on a National Historic Landmark.

*Free admission upon presenting your membership card.

Historic White Pine Village:

1687 S. Lakeshore Dr., Ludington, MI 49431; (231) 843-4808

Pinecrest Historical Village:

924 Pinecrest Road, Manitowoc, WI 54220; (920) 684-4445

Share your trip photos with us!

Whether you are enjoying the crossing on the historic S.S. Badger, or taking in an adventure at a historical village-we want to follow your journey. We encourage you to share your photos with your local historical society or #MCHSsails on social media.

Gardening Angels Grow Miracles at Historic White Pine Village

Pictured above are several of the Gardening Angels who volunteer at Historic White Pine Village

Every Tuesday morning at Historic White Pine Village, you will find a group of volunteers we affectionately call “Gardening Angels”.  These ladies and gentleman maintain the flower beds, vegetable gardens and flower pots on the Village grounds.  They plant, weed, water, mulch and fertilize as needed.  The group tries to keep to heirloom, and historical plantings.  They spend the morning gardening and have lunch on the grounds.

This year, our group is participating in the “Grow a Row” program in our vegetable garden.  Partnering with the Lakeshore Resource Center, ( they have planted an extra row of vegetables to donate to the center.

Below is a sampling of the gardens they maintain at our Historic White Pine Village.

They are always looking for more volunteers!  

If you’re interested in joining their group please contact Michelle at 

or at 231-843-4808

Our Post Office received new paint and new signage from our Adopt-a-Building Program.

Historic White Pine Village’s Adopt-A-Building Program

Thank-you to everyone who participated in last year’s Adopt-a-Building program! This program helps with the upkeep of our 30 exhibit buildings. 

For the first time in the last 20 year history of the Adopt-a-Building program; we are asking for a donation of $750.00 per building. We are asking for this increase in order to keep those historical buildings in good repair and provide visitors with a well preserved, educational and historically accurate taste of life lived during the pioneer era!

Here is a short list of accomplishments from last year:

  • The newly created exhibit of the children’s bedrooms in the Burn’s Farmhouse
  • A newly designed Native American Exhibit in the Caswell Courthouse
  • New exterior paint and a reconstructed front porch on the Caswell Courthouse
  • New signage and a new front porch on the Pere Marquette Town Hall
  • Rebuilt steps to the White Pine Chapel
  • New exterior paint and renovated exhibits in the Post Office
  • Completely renovated restroom facilities on the grounds and in the admission office
  • New long-lasting steel roofs on the schoolhouse and Research Library.

At this time, we do not receive tax based support. Museum admissions and gift shop sales account for only 45% of our budget at the Village. The remainder needed to cover operating costs comes from generous supporters such as yourself; by supporting Adopt-a-Building, Business Partners, becoming Members, supporting special events, and our Annual Fund drive.

Buildings in need of adoption this year include:

  • The Artisan Center
  • The Sugar Shack
  • Hamlin Cabin
  • Marchido One-Room Schoolhouse
  • Car Museum & Sports Hall of Fame Max K. Rahn Building
  • Military Museum
  • Lumber Camp Buildings (North & South)
  • Siddon Print Shop
  • Quevillon Trapper’s Cabin

Supporters of this program are recognized by signage in front of their adopted building that stays up for the season. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 231-843-4808 or