Walk through the Katie Shepard Hotel with me on North Manitou Island! It is normally closed to the public, and this is a great opportunity for you to see inside. Built in 1985, this beautiful building is being lovingly restored.
We did our second volunteer trip to North Manitou Island this month, this time with Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear to work on the Katie Shepard Hotel Project. This is where we met as volunteers in 2014! We were glad to be back on the island, working with old friends and new. If you have been following the dredging of the dock, it is now open again to the large Manitou Island Transit ferry boat, and campers are able to get there for some end of season camping.
Join me again for a tour of the historic Katie Shepard Hotel. See the 2019 tour HERE This is an update and video tour from the 12th year of the annual historic preservation project. Although the project has been ongoing since 2009, we had a few years off during Covid. Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear (PHSB) is a non-profit Park Partner of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The mission of the organization is to preserve and interpret the rich heritage of historic structures and cultural landscapes of the Park. This is accomplished through educational programming, structural preservation, and advocacy through providing input to the Park. The organization works on multiple preservation projects annually, one of which is the ongoing Katie Shepard Hotel restoration on North Manitou Island. The Katie Shepard Hotel, a private summer cottage built in 1895, operated as a seasonal hotel until the mid-1930s, and was occupied privately into the 1940s. Shuttered for nearly 70 years, the structure was in serious disrepair. PHSB began the project in 2009, with significant progress made annually, starting with basic clean up and expanding into major structural repair. Each year, after extensive planning and logistical management, the group has taken up to 15 volunteers to work during a ten-day period in the summer. Planning is key and occurs year-round with the National Park Service including meeting their approval and compliance. The Katie Shepard Hotel is located at the edge of a Federally designated wilderness area on North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan, 11 miles from the main port in Leland. Managing a project of this scope in a remote location creates unique challenges with recruiting skilled volunteers; planning for group accommodations and meals; planning for and transporting materials, and working within requirements of the Secretary of Interior preservation standards. Working in a picturesque remote location on the shore of Lake Michigan in a National Park creates a rewarding experience for those involved. The project occurs onsite during the height of the summer season and offers unique opportunities to educate the public in island history, historic preservation, and the National Lakeshore.