History of the MHA

A “Heritage Village” develops from its Leadership

It is important for all organizations to periodically look back to see what they have accomplished over the years. This page highlights some of those accomplishments.

The Muskegon Heritage Association (MHA) was founded in 1973, Chartered in 1974 as a non-profit organization to coordinate and assist the historical preservation of an area know as “Muskegon Heritage Village” which crosses boundaries of three downtown historic districts. The establishment of MHA was an initial step in preserving Muskegon’s heritage to make the cities past a vital part of its future. We encourage preservation and restoration instead of demolition, before our entire past is gone and irreplaceable. In that endeavor MHA has been responsible for:

* Construction of a replica fire barn, Hackley Hose Co. 2 at 510 W. Clay Avenue, and operated as a fire fighters museum by MHA until 1989 when it was turned over to the Muskegon County Museum. The second floor was our office from 1976 to 1981.

* Renovation of the Carlson Grocery at Clay and Seventh, now in private hands.

* Assisting in the preservation of the Torrent House, 315 W. Webster Avenue, now and annex to the Hackley Public Library. We had a small office there in 1975 and again in 1982.

* Transfer of ownership of the brick Lakey House (formerly at Third and Muskegon) from a real estate agency to MHA then to Walt and Joyce Behrens who moved the house to Webster avenue and restored it and are living there.

* Renovation of the J.B. McCracken Building (old Lakeview Hotel), now the “Waterstone Building” at Webster and Sixth, now owned by a local developer and occupied by a business and a non-profit agency.

* Restored ornate doors of the Howden House 452 W. Webster Avenue.

* Partial preservation of the Muskegon Hotel (since been torn down)

* Instrumental in putting a new roof on the historic C & O Depot on Western Avenue when it was urgently needed.

* Installation of 27 Victorian style lights in the Heritage Village area that were decorated at Christmas time. The first two lights were installed at the Torrent House and later replaced with original bases.

* Renovation of the Hathaway Building and creation of the Muskegon Heritage Museum at 561 W. Western Avenue. It is growing and expanding every year. Part of this building the old Krueger Barbershop was sold to Hooker/DeJong Architects which they renovated for their office. Later this part of the building was sold to Just Kalssics Deli.

* Restoration of the Truesdale / Hamilton House at 511 W. Clay Avenue.

* The MHA office is located in the Hathaway Building, at 561 W. Western Ave. The Muskegon Railroad Historical Society is located upstairs in the same building. The railroad organization encourages preservation of prototype railroad equipment and provides a place for members to construct a railroad museum.

These accomplishments were made possible by volunteers, membership dues and donations. Please considering joining, volunteering or making a donation.