Sunday, June 23, 2013

Silver Birches: A Positive Sign

Most places have one, the intriguing building, closed up for decades that tempts you to trespass and peek in the windows at what may be waiting inside.

On Mackinac, that building was Silver Birches on the north shore of the island. Recently the shutters were thrown open and the new owner invited the public to tour the property before a massive restoration begins.

While the main building is certainly in need of work, it was nowhere as rough as we had been expecting.

It appears the previous owners simply locked the doors and left - all the furnishings were still in place, a curious mix of Victorian and 1970!

 I was surprised at the condition of the vintage furniture, I would have expected the "critters" to have caused significant damage during the decades the house was closed.

I've always avoided Island politics on this blog, there's lots of other places to participate in that conversation.

If you follow this blog, you know that history and original artifacts are very important to me personally and
the recent Mackinac trend of demolishing historic buildings and replacing them with structures more appropriate to Disney World is very hard to watch. However, I do not place the blame on the developer - he has worked within the law. I DO blame decades of city government who refused, until recently, to put in place the regulations necessary to preserve our history. While there are now historic districts in place, it remains to be seen how effective that designation will actually be in preserving our buildings.

So,  I want to offer sincere thanks and good wishes to the new owner of Silver Birches, who is making the massive effort to restore this historic property - and I can't wait for the next open house, in several years to see the final result.


  1. We just ran across this wonderful post - belated and heartfelt "thanks!" from the Growing Silver Birches team. Please keep stopping by to check on the progress underway.

  2. This project is destined to be a show stopper in historical Mackinac Island preservation! (I was very disappointed at the most recent downtown hotel and its shops--not what you expect on the island experience.)

  3. Were behind you all the way Liz. Thank you for your incite and heartfelt commitment to Silver Birches. Can't wait to experience the energy.

  4. My father took my family on a wonderful adventure in 1967 by taking a job at mackinac college. Silver Birches was our summer home. Today, my sister and I were fortunate enough to get an emotional, lovely tour of Silver Birches by Liz Ware. We're so happy that it is being restored. It will always remain a very special place, and time, in our lives.