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Lecture to focus on history of local tourism

• Jun 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM

M. Christine Byron and Tom Wilson will present a lecture, “Promoting Michigan for 100 Years: A History of the West Michigan Tourist Association.”

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at Loutit District Library. It is free and is open to the public.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Loutit District Library and the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. 

The West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) was founded in Grand Rapids in 1917. Established as a non-profit organization based on membership, it was the first grass-roots tourist association in the country. At the time, the tourist industry was in its infancy. Although railroad lines, steamship companies and various hotels and resorts promoted the region they served, there was no concerted effort to boost the tourism advantages of the state.

With strong leadership and committed members of WMTA, tourism has grown into one of Michigan’s leading industries. Byron and Wilson will feature some of the noteworthy efforts to advertise and promote our state over the last 100 years. Their collection of antique postcards and tourist and travel ephemera was the inspiration for their five books: “Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes” (2015), “Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike: From Sand Trails to US-31” (2011), “Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Region” (2007), “Vintage Views of the Charlevoix – Petoskey Region” (2005) and “Vintage Views of Leelanau County” (2002).

Three of their books have won Michigan Notable Book awards from the Library of Michigan. Their book on the West Michigan Pike won a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan.

Loutit District Library is located at 407 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven.

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