Mason County Emporium opens Friday, May 27. 

May 25, 2022

Rebecca Berringer stands by some of the displays.

Mason County Emporium opens Friday, May 27. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The Mason County Historical Society’s Mason County Emporium and Sweet Shop, located at the southwest corner of Ludington Avenue and Harrison Street, opens to the public on Friday, May 27 with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. 

“The Emporium will serve as the visitor center of the Historical Society,” said Rebecca Berringer, executive director of the Historical Society. “As patrons walk through the doors of the Emporium, their visitor experience will start right then. From that moment, they will experience life in Mason County from times gone by and see what Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum offer.”

The Emporium will feature ticket sales for Historic White Pine Village and Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, souvenirs and, of course, old fashioned candy. It will also serve as the main entrance to the Mason County Research Center, which is scheduled to open in September.

“While today, most of our economy focuses on tourism and the draw that Lake Michigan brings, the Emporium will beckon back to the time when the lumbering industry thrived, and pine was king,” Berringer said. “The beautiful ornate wood desk showcases the beauty of the forests and how lumber is used to create gorgeous furniture. When visitors browse the Emporium, we will be able to share with them that at one point in time, this location was a lush, thick forest of majestic White Pine that brought the lumber and maritime industries to life in Mason County.”

Located in the former PNC Bank building, the Emporium and Research Center are part of a $5 million three-phase improvement project, which eventually will also include adding a new visitors’ center to Historic White Pine Village in Pere Marquette Township and the addition of an outdoor display area at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, located next to the U.S. Coast Guard Station.  

The Mason County Historical Society was established in 1937 and is a non-profit organization funded through donations, memberships, and museum admission fees. It is one of the largest historical societies in Michigan and holds a massive collection of historical documents and artifacts related to Mason County. For several years, the the research library was located in the Admissions Building at White Pine Village. “The Admissions Building has not been the best place to store some of our county’s most precious historical documents,” Berringer said. “The building is actually in a state of disrepair and does not provide adequate preservation methods needed for these items. The new center is state of the art and provides controlled environmental conditions to help preserve the society’s collection.” 

The Emporium is scheduled to be open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

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