Live Speaker Presentations

Summer 2022

JULY 7 @ 7:00 PM

Invasive species In the Historic Ottawa Beach Parks: Melanie Manion is Natural Resources Manager for the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department. Melanie is responsible for coordinating the protection, stewardship and restoration of natural resources on park properties. Ottawa Beach is believed to have more invasive species than any other Ottawa County Park. Melanie will tell their story and why and how they are being eradicated.

JULY 12 @ 7:00 PM
Water at Ottawa Beach: Valerie van Heest is an author, publisher and great lakes shipwreck preservation among many other things. Her live presentation will focus on the story of something most of us think little about: drinking water. Specifically, the history of the drinking water at Ottawa Beach.

JULY 25 @ 7:00 PM Great Fennville Michigan train robbery of August 1895: Paul Trap is a professor and historian who lives in downtown Holland. Paul’s presentation will focus on the largest train robbery in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula which took place in 1895 near Fennville. The whole carefully researched story of the robbery, pursuit and investigation. Find out what happened to the Loot!!

AUGUST 4 @ 7:00 PM
Almost Home: The Phoenix disaster of 1847: Craig Rich, Presenter. In November of 1847, the propeller steamship Phoenix, loaded beyond capacity with passengers, cargo, and crew, caught on fire when just 5 miles from their new home. 250 aboard the Phoenix were forced to choose death by fire or jumping into the freezing water. Only two dozen immigrants survived. This is their story.

AUGUST 18 @ 7:00 PM The Hotel Ottawa Course, and who played there in the early 20th century: Paul Wellman is an “everyman golf historian.” Paul came across a 1922 West Michigan Tourist Association travel guide listing twenty-one golf courses from Lakeside, MI, to Mackinac Island, including our own Ottawa Beach Golf Club. Paul took a deep dive into researching it and will give his presentation on the golf course and the personalities that played this course.

AUGUST 25 @ 7:00 PM
Buster Keaton and the Bluffton actor’ colony in Muskegon: Ron Pesch is a Board member of the International Buster Keaton Society. By 1911 over two hundred theater personalities flocked to the Bluffton artists’ colony near Muskegon each summer. They included Buster Keaton and his family. Buster Keaton is recognized, with Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, as one of the creative geniuses of silent film comedy.