Historical Society to host Ludington Sesquicentennial Ball

September 27, 2023

Historical Society to host Ludington Sesquicentennial Ball

LUDINGTON — The Mason County Historical Society will host the Ludington Sesquicentennial Ball on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the historic Stearns Hotel beginning at 6 p.m. 

The event is a unique celebration of Ludington’s rich history, but it also offers an unexpected twist as a short play, a “dramedy” titled “Ludington or Stearns? A City by Any Other Name,” will transport partygoers to the afterlife and an ethereal, astral plane.

In this 10-minute play, attendees will encounter the spirits of Justus Stearns, the visionary behind the 1903 Stearns Hotel, and James Ludington, the namesake of the City of Ludington when it was chartered in 1873. Award-winning author and history professor, Mike Nagle, will portray Justus Stearns, the subject of Nagle’s celebrated biography, “Justus S. Stearns: Michigan Pine King and Kentucky Coal Baron, 1845-1933.” Playwright and actor Dr. Rick Plummer will bring the city’s namesake, James Ludington, to life in a humorous look at these serious founding fathers of Ludington.

The evening will also offer a selection of signature drinks named in honor of Stearns and Ludington. Attendees can enjoy libations like the “Ludington Long-Island Tea” and the “Stearns Stinger.” For those seeking a touch of local folklore, there’s the chance to sip on a famously funny concoction inspired by the legendary axe-toting character, Ossawald Crumb, created by Stearns’ son, Robert L. Stearns, who actually resided at the hotel prior to building his estate on North Lake Shore Drive. 

To top off the evening’s festivities, Plummer (or James Ludington).

Adding to the allure of the evening, MCHS Board President James Jensen will present an engaging overview of the Stearns Hotel. For over 120 years, the hotel has been an integral part of the history of the City of Ludington. As the city celebrates its sesquicentennial, appropriately at this historic hotel, Jensen will offer the entertaining story of the hotel, the people who lived and worked there, and the many gatherings that have been held over the decades in its meeting rooms, ballroom, and lounges. The story would not be complete without a stop at the Ossawald Crumb Tap Room to listen to the music, dance, and perhaps enjoy one of Ossie’s signature cocktails.

The Mason County Historical Society’s Sesquicentennial Ball is a fundraiser to help the non-profit organization preserve the history of Mason County. 

Tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased here. 


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