FERRYSBURG: 60 YEARS A CITY
Ferrysburg: 60 Years a City
On Display August 26, 2023 to February 11, 2024
Ferrysburg: 60 Years a City is an exploration of the fascinating history of one of the lakeshore's hidden gems. With a population of 2,955 people in 2020, Ferrysburg may be the smallest of the Tri-Cities, but those people and their stories are forces to be reckoned with.
Larger-than-life figures, such as William Ferry and Hezekiah Smith, shaped Ferrysburg's past and created a legacy for the city's present. From the time it was platted as a village in 1857 to its incorporation as a city in 1963, Ferrysburg's history shows the power of individuals and communities coming together to create their own fate. Now in 2023, we look back on the 60th anniversary of Ferrysburg as a city and look ahead with excitement for what the future may bring.
A highlight of this exhibit is the giant floor map of Ferrysburg highlighting the places where people lived, businesses operated, and events occurred. Visitors will also learn a bit of local drama about a just-under-the-wire approval of Ferrysburg residents’ petition to the Ottawa Board of Commissioners to be recognized as a City. Visit Ferrysburg: 60 Years a City to find out the details of this legal tug-of-war, plus the history of the community’s name...and more.
'Future Ferrysburg: the Next 40 Years', a Roundtable
4 pm - 6 pm
Tri-Cities Historical Museum, Centennial Hall
Since the current exhibit celebrates Ferrysburg's 60 years, this roundtable is a facilitated group discussion around the question "What is your vision for Ferrysburg at 100 Years a City?" The roundtable features various voices from the Ferrysburg community who will respond to questions about where they see Ferrysburg 40 years from now.
A moderator will facilitate the discussion among Ferrysburg families, students, business owners, employers, employees, city leaders, and community organizations. The event will be streamed via Facebook Live for virtual attendees, and in-person attendees will be able to interact with panelists, enjoy light refreshments, and have the opportunity to submit additional questions.
Register to Attend
Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required by 5:00 pm on 9/25. Capacity is limited, so register early!
Pose a Question
Submit a question for the roundtable! We are accepting submissions through September 20.
Meet our Panelists!
We welcome Jeanette Weiden to our ‘Future Ferrysburg’ Roundtable! Jeanette is Head of Local History and Genealogy at Loutit District Library and has worked there for eighteen years. At the Library, she is responsible for collection development, reference services, collection care, digitization projects, local history and genealogy programming, and coordinating volunteer projects. Prior to the Library, she worked at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum as Assistant Curator of Collections for seven years. Currently, she is vice president of the Museum’s board and serves on the Collections Committee. She grew up in Ferrysburg and spent the first 23 years of her life there.
Scott Blease, current Mayor of Ferrysburg, joins the ‘Future Ferrysburg’ Roundtable. He was born and raised in Grand Haven and attended Grand Haven schools, and is a graduate of both Muskegon Community College and Grand Valley State University. He has been a Ferrysburg resident for over 15 years. Scott served as a Ferrysburg City Council member for 8 ½ years, is a former member of the Ferrysburg Recreation and Planning Commissions and is a current Board member of the Police Commission. He is a member of the Michigan Association of Mayors, the Harbor Transit Multi-Modal Authority Board, NORA Board and Deer Advisory Board. He also served as Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Ambassador for 15 years. He is father to two adult children and grandfather to two grandchildren and enjoys bike riding, hiking, golf, boating, nature trails, traveling, and hanging out with his significant other.
Jordin Weber is a lifetime resident of Ferrysburg, having lived in the City for 34 years. She holds a BA in Mathematics Education and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Jordin taught 5th Grade for 7 years at both West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics & Grand Haven Area Public Schools. She is now a mom of two rambunctious boys, Henry (5) and Easton (3), and holds her real estate license. She currently serves on both the Ferrysburg Recreation Commission and Ferrysburg Planning Commission. In addition, she serves as co-chair of the annual Smith's Bayou Chili Cook Off held in Ferrysburg.
Tracey was born and raised in the Tri-Cities area and has lived in Ferrysburg for the past 13 years, where she raised her family to love and appreciate our small community. Tracey is also a third generation business owner that has served Ferrysburg and surrounding families since 1962. McKellips & Sons has always believed in supporting local and giving back to the community. Tracey is excited to serve on this roundtable panel to help highlight the beauty of our community, its progress and the future possibilities it holds.
Michael Olthof Sr. was born, raised, and currently resides in Ferrysburg with his wife, Annel, and kids Michael, Lynn, and Kelly. Mike joined the Ferrysburg Fire Department in November of 1986 and has since served the department in various roles. Since 2005, he has served the City of Ferrysburg as the Fire Chief, following his father, Jack Olthof Sr’s footsteps in leading the department and is currently the longest tenured employee of the City of Ferrysburg. Mike also owns and operates North Shore Machine Works, a family business that started in Ferrysburg in 1947. Mike and his family look forward to seeing Ferrysburg continue to thrive at 100 years.
Rebecca Hopp has been a resident in Ottawa County for the majority of my life and I am a proud graduate from GVSU. In 2003, my husband and I purchased our home on Spring Lake in Ferrysburg. I have served on several local, regional and state boards and commissions including serving as a council member and as mayor for the City of Ferrysburg. Additionally, I served on the TCHM Board of Directors for 8 years and as president during my last year. Since 2006, my husband and I have served in the role of co-creators and co-chairs for the Annual Smith’s Bayou Chili Cook-Off. In 2022, I received the designation of the Historian of the Year from the Tri-Cities Historical Museum for my work, along with Kate Crosby and Jeanette Weiden, in securing the Hezekiah Smith historical marker. This is the first State of Michigan historical marker for the City of Ferrysburg and the first marker in the state to have a QR code available for an auditory reading of the marker. Ferrysburg is a wonderful place to live, work and recreate.
We are proud to welcome Joan Moser Kuiper to the 'Future Ferrysburg' Roundtable! She has been with the Tri-Cities Historical Museum as a Volunteer Docent since 2017 and is now very honored to serve on the Board of Directors. In 1979, she became the first female firefighter for Ottawa County. She resides in Ferrysburg with her husband John. She currently serves as Co-Chair for the City of Ferrysburg’s Beautification Commission.
Dave Reinink has been a vital part of the Johnston Boiler crew for 18 years. Prior to assuming his role as President Dave was Johnston’s Controller. Dave’s leadership abilities and consistent management style allowed him to hit the ground running as the transition began. We are proud of Dave and we have enjoyed watching his advancement within the organization. We look forward to continued growth under Dave’s watch.
Garry is retired from careers in law, manufacturing and real estate. He currently serves on the Ottawa County Brownfield and Economic Development Committee, the Ferrysburg Recreation Commission, the Kitchel Lindquist Hartger Dunes Preserve board and as a Ferrysburg citizen on the Community Energy Plan steering committee. With his husband, Robert, they have just built a new home on the site of the old Post family cottage dating from 1961.
Meet our Moderator
Mark Allen started in his role as president for The Chamber of Commerce, Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg on July 3, 2023, bringing with him 14 years of chamber industry experience. Mark is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organizational Management, a member of the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals and is passionate about connecting individuals and businesses to the resources they need for continued growth and success.
Mark’s background includes program oversight, business outreach, growth and development along with coordination of member benefits and services. He believes strongly in giving back to the community through various volunteering opportunities and board seats.
Ferrysburg History Harvest
January 8, 2024
3 pm - 6 pm
Ferrysburg City Hall, Council Chambers
Tri-Cities Historical Museum welcomes new donations from Ferrysburg residents, businesses, and other organizations or groups to help complete our collection of Tri-Cities history. Objects, documents, photographs, and oral histories are all considered potential donations.
Get a reminder!
This is a free public opportunity to share your Ferrysburg history with TCHM --for tomorrow's Tri-Cities history explorers!