When Jeremiah Arnold arrived in Hillsdale as the first Europen-American settler, it’s likely he had hopes that the city would continue prospering more than a century later.
The City of Hillsdale will be hosting a sesquicentennial celebration to commemorate its 150th anniversary as a chartered-city. The event will take place from 12 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 at City Hall.
Throughout the afternoon, local historian Dan Bisher will be giving tours of City Hall. The public will get the chance to tour rarely seen parts of this 108-year-old building which once housed the fire department in its basement. Decade-displays will also be out for guests to view, along with a display of the Dawn Theater.
Additionally, the fire department will be grilling for the public from 12 to 3 p.m. and has invited the community to join them for some food.
“We welcome anyone,” Hillsdale Recreation Director Michelle Loren said. “It will just be a casual open house for anyone over the course of the day to just come and walk through and look at the building.”
At 2 p.m., 10 students from Hillsdale High School’s Advanced Placement U.S. History class will be dressed as historical figures from the city’s founding as they give a presentation on the founders of Hillsdale.
Dean Potter, who has taught AP History at Hillsdale High School since 2006, has enjoyed conveying the significance of some of Hillsdale’s former residents to his class.
“My students have been working very hard on getting to know the different people,” Potter said. “It’s been a neat project for the students to really get some enrichment and dive deep into Hillsdale’s history.”
At 3 p.m., local artist Nick Zemaiduk, who created the graphic for the celebration banner, will be selling numbered commemorative art prints and notecards of the 1911 building.
There will be a final ceremony at 5 p.m. Hillsdale City Manager David Mackie will give a brief speech, and Mayor Adam Stockford will hand out keys to the city to certain deserving nonprofits. City Assessor Kim Thomas will also present a long-awaited plat book to the Hillsdale Historical Society.
In addition, Heather Tritschka and Connie Sexton of the Heritage Association, a non-profit organization founded in 2016 to preserve the local heritage of Hillsdale, will present a portrait of Henry Keefer to C.L. Real Estate.
The portrait will be showcased at City Hall and other businesses downtown and eventually displayed in the Keefer Hotel upon its reopening.
Hillsdale native Rep. Eric Leutheuser will give the final remarks for the evening.