Book explores early history of Mason County in pictures.

November 2, 2015
Dave Petersen

Dave Petersen

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Dave Petersen has been fascinated with history since he was a child. Growing up in Ludington, he would explore the old landfill located between Bryant Road and Virnetta Drive finding glass bottles, cleaning them up and selling them at the flea market. These days, Dave’s has built a reputation of being one of the area’s foremost collectors of local historical photographs and postcards.

His collection has resulted in his latest book “Mason County: 1850-1950”, published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its Images of America book series.

The 127 page book, which retails for $21.99, features photographs from Mason County’s history that date back to the county’s early years. The photographs are from all areas of the county and feature tidbits of information about each photograph.

“There’s a little bit of information on each of the townships and towns along with a section on ghost towns,” Dave said. “It was really hard to decide which images to choose for the book. For some of the areas I have hundreds of pictures but could only select 10 to 15. I wanted them to be the best pictures to tell the story but also I wanted pictures that maybe haven’t been seen before.”

The project is among several Dave has been working on.

“I’ve got a goal of doing a number of books over the next few years,” Petersen said. This book is his third for Arcadia, including “Oceana County: 1850-1950” and “Ludington Carferries.”

He has also self published books as well. Other books include “Spirit of the Lakes”, “Carferries of Ludington” and “Loving Leland”.

Several years ago Dave started collecting postcards of local interest. Then, he started collecting photographs too. Many of the photographs are not just of places but of people as well. He said he often finds scrapbooks and family photo albums during clean-up days in Ludington and Scottville. He’s also formed an impressive collection of high school yearbooks. To date, he has collected almost every yearbook from Ludington High School from 1913 to 2006, only missing a few.

The book can be purchased directly from Dave through his website,, on eBay or at Gold Coast Storage at the corner of Pere Marquette Highway and First Street. It may also be purchased at local stores including the Bookmark, the Windowsill Used and New Books and Historic White Pine Village.

Dave will be signing books at Redolencia Coffee House, 119 W. Ludington Ave., Saturday, Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.