12 January 2011

Museum of History at Brethren, Michigan

Brethren Michigan is the hometown of my mother and her parents, Otto August and Daisy Ellen (Graf) Fredricks.  It is a very small village located in the northwest area of lower Michigan.  Our family visited this area at least once a year for as long as I can remember, usually going in the summer for the Fredricks Family Reunion.

The Brethren Heritage Association is responsible for a delightful museum at the corner of Cart Avenue and Park Service Road, near Lake Eleanor.  The museum is a restored log cabin once owned by Christy Brown,who owned a general store.  Local artifacts, historical items, newspaper clippings and more can be found at the museum.  A second building, Ostrander's Cabin, in being restored, too. 

The museum is open by appointment only.  One year it was open during the family reunion and I was able to walk through it.  Some of the items in the museum include a bed, pioneer kitchen area, old tools and dishes, and news clippings of area residents.

Bricks are laid in front of the museum as memorials to loved ones.  Family members can purchase bricks and the proceeds go toward supporting the museum.  The Fredricks family has purchased numerous bricks.  Every year at the reunion a white elephant auction is held.  The money raised from this goes towards purchasing supplies for the reunion.  In addition, memorial bricks were purchased.

Fredricks Family Memorial Bricks

August-Lousie Fredricks
Valentine and Nancy Graf
Harold C Fredricks
Otto & Daisy Fredricks
Margaret E. Fredricks 1912-2006
Daisy M. Kurth 1921-2004
Bob Fredricks 1923-1997
Leona Wagoner 1925-1995
Ray Fredricks 1932-2001
Norman E. Fredricks 1934-1995
Carl Tritten
Mark Kaskinen 1958
Michael Fredricks 1948-1963
Richard Fredricks 1953-1969
Leonard-Pearl Fredrick


  1. What a nice tribute Brenda. Thank you for doing this,Please go back and visit the museum again. I donated my dads class sweaters and some other things. It is fun to see this.

  2. Kathryn, I want to go sometime when I can spend a couple of hours. I would love to learn more about the early beginnings of Brethren. I will have to look for your dad's stuff. I remember those class sweaters. It was red wasn't it?

  3. What are we doing with the old post office

  4. Does anyone know what they are doing with the old post office in Brethren? I don't know, but maybe the Brethren Heritage Association does. I don't live in the area or have any affiliation with the association, so I don't have the answer to your question. Hopefully, someone will respond to your question via this comment. Thank you for asking. If I find anything out I will share it with you.

  5. Kevin M ReynoldsAugust 13, 2023 3:19 PM

    Odd homage to a religious community. My GG grandfather sold hundreds of acres of Indiana farmland to buy land near Brethren. He was a member of the Church of The Brethren. When he got up there, he found sandy terrible soil. Apparently, his faith was not strong enough to grow corn in sand. He moved to Muskegon. This was back in the 20's or 30's.

  6. Kevin, thank you for commenting. What part of Indiana did your gg grandfather sell his land? Mine were from Howard county, Indiana area. My understanding is Brethren was a mission of an Indiana church, I'm not sure which one. I am guessing our relatives met at some point. Mine decided to stay and farm in sandy soil.