Take a drive through local history

ESCANABA – Area residents and visitors to Escanaba for the Esky150 sesquicentennial have been able to ride through history, courtesy of historical home bus tours of the city.

Tours last approximately one hour and 15 minutes and drive past 36 historic homes and two social buildings, while a narrator aboard the bus provides historical information on each spot. Constructed between the 1860s and 1949, each building represents a wide array of styles complete with its own historical significance.

Elizabeth Keller of the Delta County Historical Society is one of the four narrators of the bus tours and said they have been very well received by the public.

“We’re covering both the south and the north side,” said Keller. “There aren’t as many on the north side because Escanaba started on the south side of town. We’ve covered everything from working men’s homes to lumber barons. We want it to be somewhat representative of the people who really created Escanaba. They weren’t all lumber barons. A lot of them had to do the work on the ore docks and when the railroad came.”

Those who take part in the free tours are provided a 2013 Historical Homes of Escanaba booklet, which highlights a map of the route taken along the tour and provides photos and history of each of the homes.

The tours have been so popular in fact, that a third departure time has been added to the schedule. Three tours now depart daily through Friday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. Buses depart from the parking lot by the State Office Building near the Ludington Street and South 3rd Street intersection.

“Don’t expect to get on the bus if you’re not more than a half an hour early,” said Keller, noting tours are first come, first served.

The historical home bus tours are sponsored by Premier Real Estate, while the Delta County Historical Society has been involved in the narration of the tours, research of information and creation of booklets. Buses are provided from the Delta Area Transit Authority. Additional parties involved in the project include Richards Printing and the manager, assessor, engineering and clerk offices of the City of Escanaba.

“I think the whole event has been wonderful and very representative of the city,” added Keller, of the entire Esky 150 celebration. “There’s so many different things to do. We’ve got history and we’ve got the future represented.”