During the summer and fall, the Walker Tavern Historic Site at Cambridge Junction Historic State Park on US-12 east of Jackson is bustling with activity surrounding the site’s long history as a tavern and tourist stop-over in Michigan’s scenic Irish Hills.
A packed events schedule at the site offers something for all ages, including free evening concerts, children’s programs, history programs, vintage baseball and a weekly Farmers Market. For details, visit Michigan.gov/WalkerTavern. The 80-acre park also features wide open and shaded areas to spread a blanket, relax and have a picnic.
Walker Tavern Historic Site comprises three buildings – historic Walker Tavern (1840s), a reconstructed 1840s barn and Hewitt House Visitors Center (1929). The tavern is furnished with historic artifacts and period reproductions depicting what life was like at an 1840s stagecoach stop. The barn features exhibits related to 1840s travel, farming and building construction. The barn also houses Michigan’s Bicentennial Wagon, which participated in the Bicentennial Wagon Train to Valley Forge, Penn. in 1976. The Hewitt House is furnished in the Colonial Revival style of the 1920s and includes exhibits on the Frederick Hewitt family and twentieth century tourism in the Irish Hills.
New this summer is an exhibit on Irish Hills tourism, which opens Memorial Day weekend (May 24 and 25). Opening events begin at 10 a.m. each day. The exhibit is supported by the Friends of Walker Tavern, the Michigan History Foundation and others in the surrounding community, It is part of a multi-year investment by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), supported by a Michigan Department of Transportation grant, to restore the Hewitt House and provide basic public amenities.
The exhibit begins with Frederick Hewitt’s use of Walker Tavern as a tourist attraction and antique business in the Irish Hills (1920s-1960s) and includes other local attractions known to baby boomers – Prehistoric Forest, Frontier City, Stage Coach Stop and Mystery Hill.
Featured artifacts include an original watercolor by local Lenawee County artist Thomas Thiery and archaeological fragments from a series of digs done by Wayne State University in the mid-1960s.
Entrance to Cambridge Junction Historic State Park, the home of Walker Tavern and the Hewitt House, requires a Recreation Passport. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.
For more information on Walker Tavern Historic Site, including hours, events and visitor information, go to www.michigan.gov/walkertavern.