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Mason County Memories

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david k petersen

Ivan Reed's Mini Museum History Column 290 - July 3rd 2010 Dave Petersen I received a phone call recently from Alta Reed asking if I would be interested in seeing her mini museum. I made arrangements with her and set off on the appointed day for a trek to the far reaches of eastern Mason County. Well past a sign that proclaimed Susie's Boonies I found Alta's Museum. It is a new building that Alta had built on her husband Ivan's family farm, a centennial farm just a mile from the Mason/ Lake County border. The building sits on the site of the original log cabin on the property. It's a building built of memories, as we walked through the exhibits Alta proudly identified each item, gave some history of it and where it came from. There is a table filled with scrapbooks, old newspapers and area books for those who might want to research. On the east wall there is a display of tin plates and cups, all of which came from the Walhalla CCC camp where Ivan worked and a handful of photographs of the camp. There is a stack of the original township record books for Logan, shelves full of antique items and a WWI display of photographs and memorabilia. The WWI display showcased items that belonged to Ivan's father who passed away when he was three and his stepfather who was in the 339th US infantry aka the Polar Bears. Alta talked about Ivan and that he had been working in Muskegon as a milkman making 39.00 a week, he didn't feel that was enough to get married, but when he got a job in Lansing he was paid 43.00 a week which made it possible for them to tie the knot. A marriage that brought her 63 years with the man she loved and 6 children. They lived in Lansing, there was a choice at one time, to buy a local business or a service station in Lansing. They chose the service station, although their roots and heart remained in Logan Township. As I looked around I asked Alta "Why?" she hesitated a moment and responded, "I lost Ivan five years ago...... I had to do some thing to fill the emptiness." Her Museum is full, and every where she walks, through all of the displays one can find a bit of Ivan. Standard Oil globes, his camera collection, clocks that he saved, toys he had as a child, his father's tool chest. They are but things, but they are things which fill her heart with memories of her best friend of 63 years and she wants to share them with anyone who wants to see what she lovingly calls Ivan's Mini Museum. So if you are up for a ride out into the boonies of Mason County you can give Alta a call at 231-898-4299 and she will give you directions to her east Hawley road museum. Don't worry about admission, its free for the whole family. Pic1 Alta Reed amongst her many treasures at the Ivan Reed Mini Museum Pic2 Turn of the century tool chest that belonged to Ivan's father. Pic3 The research table if filled with old papers, scrapbooks and other ephemera that is sure to keep you in one place as you reminece with Alta. Pic4 Some of the WWI memorabilia from Ivan's family showcasing their place in the war to end all wars. Pic5 Ivan served in WWII and was awarded the bronze star for heroism in action for his service in the European theatre. Pic6 Levi Reed, Ivan's father is posed in his uniform, he served in WWI but passed away a few short years later when Ivan was but 3 years old.

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