News Column

You haven't lived here until ... You gallop over to the Old Fence Rider Historical Center

May 18, 2014

By Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press

May 18--WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT? It's a museum in Edmore, Montcalm County, about the old West with a bit of local and state history and antiques thrown in.

WHAT'S A FENCE RIDER? That's founder Cam Drain's nickname, according to Lon Leonard, president of the historical center's board. Drain was a local storyteller who'd dress up in cowboy attire and give scout and club presentations about the evolution of the American flag and how barbed wire helped tame the West. His collection now takes up 20,000 square feet

WHAT KINDS OF DISPLAYS ARE THERE? People interested in the Wild West will like the display of more than 100 types of barbed wire and period tools, the American Indian diorama complete with feathered headdresses, and a chuck wagon. For history that hits closer to home, there's an exhibit about Michigan's lumber industry, including tools and photographs.

WHAT ABOUT DRAIN'S FLAGS? His trove starts with a French flag from the New World and ends with the 50-star red, white and blue flag in use today.

AND OTHER NON-WESTERN STUFF? Other exhibits include antique cameras, an old-time drugstore scene, a railroad car, old clothing, a cannon, phone booths and an old-fashioned telephone switchboard, military uniforms and vintage toys, including Barbies, board games, checkers sets, Howdy Doody dolls and Chatty Cathys. Plus, more than 100 foreign flags hang from the ceiling.

WHEN IS THE HISTORICAL CENTER OPEN? You have to make an appointment or drop by Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Eight volunteers give tours.

WHAT'S THE ADMISSION PRICE? It's free, though a $2 donation is suggested.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 989-427-5222.

Contact Zlati Meyer: 313-223-4439 or Follow her on Twitter @ZlatiMeyer


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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

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