Nestled within the woods of Hartwick Pines State Park, abutting one of the few remaining old growth forests in Michigan, the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum depicts the daily lives of the lumberjacks living and working in Michigan’s northern forests in the 19th century.
The complex includes a recreated tool shop, bunkhouse, and kitchen, and an old sawmill. There are also several unique pieces of heavy equipment displayed that were once used by the lumberjacks plying their trade. All come together to paint a picture of the hardships endured by these workers over 100 years ago.
The trail to the museum from the park’s visitor center is worth the walk, as it passes through a 49-acre segment of old growth forest—one of only a few remaining in the state. Most of the forests in northern Michigan were logged during the lumber boom that spread across the state in the second half of the 19th century.
Regardless of your opinion of logging itself, this history museum is quite interesting, particularly the awkward-looking and often dangerous big wheels used during the warm-weather months to move the felled trees.
Know Before You Go
Be sure to walk the paved Old Growth Forest Trail from the visitors center to the museum, and stop by the Chapel in the Pines as well. The chapel is situated along the trail.