The Michigan Hemingway Society (MHS) will be dedicating two new sites on its Michigan Hemingway Tour this June with the presentation of bronze plaques. Ceremonies will take place on Thursday, June 8 at 4pm at the Pigeon River Discovery Center (9984 Twin Lakes Rd., Vanderbilt) and Friday, June 16 at 6pm in downtown Walloon Lake’s Circle Park, near the bronze sculpture of Hemingway that was installed in 2021. Following the Pigeon River ceremony, MHS President Chris Struble will present “Hemingway’s Last Good Country: The Pigeon River Country” at the Discover Center from 6-7:30pm. The program, targeted toward adult learners, is free and open to the public (donations will be accepted).
These two commemorative signs are among 15 officially designated sites in northern Michigan including several in Petoskey and Horton Bay, with one also in Kalkaska. The new signs are inscribed with the following historical text:
- Pigeon River Country – Eager to continue healing his physical and emotional wounds from World War I, Ernest Hemingway gathered friends to join him in several camping and fishing trips in the Pigeon River Country, which he called “the Pine Barrens.” The Black River was Ernest’s favorite, but he and his friends also roamed and fished the Pigeon River and the Sturgeon River. When Hemingway left Michigan in 1921, he carried the Pigeon River Country in his memory and its impact on his writing, especially the collection of The Nicks Adams stories.
- Walloon Lake – Throughout Ernest Hemingway’s life, Walloon Lake remained a passionate memory. Six weeks old when first brought to the lake in 1899, Hemingway spent twenty-three summers visiting the family’s Windemere cottage. His experiences hunting, fishing, and exploring the woods inspired several of his acclaimed Nick Adams stories; these capture young Nick’s life, including contacts with local Indians. On September 3, 1921, Hemingway and his bride, Hadley Richardson, stayed at Windemere. Their arrival is depicted in the story “Wedding Day.”
For the complete map, download the Michigan Hemingway Tour Brochure.
The Michigan Hemingway Society has been active since 1983 and was incorporated officially as a non-profit organization in 1993. Made up of university professors, writers, high school teachers, fly fishers, journalists and all kinds of other people who are interested in exploring the life and body of literature created by this Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author.
Ernest Hemingway was just three months old when he made his first trip from his hometown of Oak Park, Illinois to Walloon Lake, Michigan where his parents – Clarence and Grace (Hall) – had purchased property along the North Shore. Ernest spent time every summer until 1921 (the year he married Hadley Richardson in nearby Horton Bay) at the family’s beloved Windemere cottage, still owned by descendants today.
The woods and waters in and around Walloon Lake shaped Hemingway’s life in many ways and it was a place he always held dear to his heart. It was here that his 1972 posthumously published book, The Nick Adams Stories, is primarily set.