About Us

Stories of Town and Harbor is the voice of Frankfort and the case for preserving its history. The beginnings of this project began in the summer of 2014 when a group of area citizens began collecting stories from legendary personalities in the Frankfort area.    From these stories, a historic walking path was developed to tell the story of Frankfort.  Stories of Town and Harbor was inspired by the belief that all people, young and old are naturally inquisitive about the nature and origins of the immediate surroundings that shape our daily lives.


Stories of Town and Harbor Team

Gretchen Eichberger, Creator and Facilitator, Writer   

John Laubach, Editor and Writer

Liv Buzzell, Vidoegrapher, Editor and Writer                            

Charlotte Mills, Willa Kramer Quentin Grabowski and Bennett Schmidt, Field Historians

Northern Michigan Historical Inquiry Project (funded by a federal grant administered by the Michigan Dept. of Education)

Angela Saxon, Saxon Design

Eric Saxon, Saxon Design

Bruce Ogilvie, Former Board Member of Frankfort Planning Commision and Consultant

Amanda Holmes, Preserve Fishtown Executive Director and consultant















These stories will be the primary feature and companion of the path. Residents and visitors alike will feel the authentic history,  picture the then and now, have a sense of discovery, and thereby gain a greater sense of stewardship.

We welcome you to be part of this effort and preserve the history of Frankfort.

For general questions, please contact
231-871-0215 or FrankfortMIHistory@gmail.com



Conducted by Stories of Town and Harbor Field Historians, Northwest Michigan Folklife Center, and the Northern Michigan Historical Inquiry Project

Bert Hanrath

Bob Laubach

John Devine

Bob Laidlaw

Connie Classens Benafeld

Jim Gilbert

Hank Bailey

Sally Miner

Clinton Smeltzer

Tammy Royle

Claudia Bailey Rogers

Jon Hawley

Lou Yaucks

Mel Pierce

Jed Jaworksi

Ed Robinson


Archival Collections

Benzie Historical Society, Benzonia, Michigan

Benzie Shores District Library, Frankfort Michigan

Benzonia Public Library, Benzonia, Michigan

Northwestern Michigan College Archives, Osterlin Library, Traverse City, Michigan

Benzie County Treasurer’s Office and Register of Deeds, Government Building, Beulah, Michigan  (tax assessment rolls and deed records)

Traverse City District Library, Traverse City, Michigan

State Historic Preservation Office Archives, Lansing, Michigan

Traverse Area Historical Society, Traverse City, Michigan


Photographic Sources

Benzie Historical Society, Benzonia, Michigan

Collection of Andrew Bolander

Collection of Robert McNabb

Collection of Bob McCall

Collection of Bert Hanrath

Collection of Jed Jaworski


Benzie Record Patriot, Frankfort, Benzie Banner, Frankfort, Grand Traverse Herald, Traverse City,  and Traverse City Record Eagle, Traverse City

Selected Publications

Anderson, Charles M. Memories of Betsie Bay: A History of Frankfort .J.B. Publications, 1988.

Bixby, Florence and Sandman, Pete. Port City Perspectives: Frankfort, Michigan at 150 years (1850-2000), Bayside Publishing, 2000.

Blacklock, Allen B. Blacklock’s History of Elberta

Freeburg, Russell W. There Ought To Be A Place: A History of the First Century of the Congregational Summer Assembly. Frankfort, Michigan: Self-Published, 2001

Hawley, Jonathan P., From Artisans to Artists: Betsie Bay’s Historic Island Story. Chapbook Press, 2014.

Hawley, Jonathan P. Point Betsie Lightkeeping and Lifesaving on Northeastern Lake Michigan. University of Michigan Press, Petoskey Publishing, 2008.

Brown, Grant, Ninety Years Crossing Lake Michigan, University of Michigan Press, 2008