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Located near the corner of Randolph Street & Lake Avenue in Grand Marais, Michigan
Contributed by Rod and Judy Ness of Hermantown, Minnesota
The Pickle Barrel House
Judy Ness

Grand Marais, Michigan is located on Michigan's Upper Peninsula on the southern end of Lake Superior. The gateway town to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, it sits more or less at the intersection of Michigan Hwy-77 and County Highway 58.

The Pickle Barrel House
Judy Ness

The Pickle Barrel House was constructed in 1926 by the Pioneer Cooperage Company of Chicago. The two-story section is an actual barrel standing 16 feet tall. It was built to be a summer cottage for William and Mary Donahey. William was the author/illustrator of the "Teenie Weenie" comic strip that centered around two-inch-tall people who lived under a rosebush. In addition to the comic strip, Donahey created a number of advertisements for Monarch Foods Company. One featured a small pickle keg that was used as a house by some of the Teenie Weenies. Monarch had the house built as a surprise for the Donaheys.

The Pickle Barrel house was moved to Grand Marais in 1936. Over the years it served as an ice-cream stand, an information booth and a gift shop, but it gradually fell into disrepair. The Grand Marais Historical Society acquired the property in 2003 and undertook a complete renovation of the structures. Photos of this remarkable rehabilitation effort can be seen here. The newly renovated Pickle Barrel House was opened to the public on July 3, 2005. An exhibit about the Donaheys' art occupies the main room, and the other rooms have been refurbished in the style of the 1920s. Here are some photos from the gala opening event in 2005.

The Pickle Barrel House is open to the public 1:00 to 4:00 pm daily with no admission charge.

For more information and insider tips about attractions in the Upper Peninsula area, this site is based on Hunts' Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a guidebook written by local authors Mary and Don Hunt. For some really cute Pickle Barrel House souvenirs (which are being sold to offset the cost of the ongoing renovations), check out this Web page.


Photographed by Judy Ness 7/1/06
Posted on RoadTrip America 7/06


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