By Sterling McGinn

The historic John McGruer home, which houses a gift shop and exhibit building of the Tahquamenon Logging Museum, will be getting a facelift with new cedar siding to help preserve the structure.

Musuem President John Waltman told the McMillan Township Board, who owns the museum buildings and property, that new siding is desperately needed to restore and help preserve the exterior of the house as well as the contents within the building.

The museum has received a grant to cover part of the cost.

“We had to get a contractor bid to submit for our cost structure for this grant,” Waltman said. “The grant was approved for $35,160, and it is a 50/50 matching grant.”

The museum board asked the township to match 50 percent of the grant at a total of $17,580. The matching funds were approved by the township board.

The McGruer House was built in 1903 by John McGruer, who owned a saloon and bakery on Helen Street in Newberry. The house, along with a garage and a barn used to store logging camp supplies, made up the original buildings of the McGruer complex.

Waltman said the roof, foundation, and structure of the house is sound.

Exhibits and the museum gift shop are located within the old house.

Many improvements to the museum grounds were completed last year, Waltman said. The old Pratt one-room schoolhouse was repainted last year after a donation from Lark Ludlow.

A new cookshack roof was funded by McMillan Township and was installed by Bruce Klusmeyer.

The museum purchased a new accounting and inventory and visitor payment system, which will keep track of everything that goes in and out of the gift shop. Security cameras were also installed along with new picnic tables.

A new griddle will aid in speeding up the serving line at the museum’s popular Lumberjack Breakfasts. “We got a new pancake griddle; that was a slow point in our serving line,” Waltman said.

The Tahquamenon Logging Museum is looking at new sources of funding and has plans for additional projects for the coming year, including rebuilding the wooden snow roller used to compact snow on the old logging roads.