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 Joshua Van Hoosen, center, went to seek his fortune in Rough and Ready, California, during the gold rush in 1852.

Joshua Van Hoosen, center, went to seek his fortune in Rough and Ready, California, during the gold rush in 1852.

Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

Museum aims to fight cabin fever with March speaker series

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 12, 2019


ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is giving the public a chance to keep cabin fever at bay with a month full of historical programs.

The museum’s annual Cabin Fever series will celebrate Michigan’s history with a collection of presentations at 7 p.m. each Friday in March. 

“It’s an opportunity for our members and guests to get out on a Friday night in March, when everybody has cabin fever,” said Michele Dunham, the museum’s program coordinator.

Pat McKay, the museum’s manager, said the communities surrounding the museum are filled with a host of well-educated early retirees, and the series aims to please them.

“We realized that not every person goes to Florida in February and March, so we came up with a series of programs on weekend nights that, for the most part, celebrate Michigan’s history,” he said. “We’re blown away by the opportunities and the speakers that are out there. There are so many things to talk about.”

Now in its fifth year, the Cabin Fever series will kick off March 1 with “It All Began with a Glint and a Glimmer,” presented by Debbie Remer. 

Remer, a 30-year volunteer of the museum and an experienced local researcher, will discuss local ties regarding the discovery of gold in California in 1848. 

“She has actually traveled to Rough and Ready, California, where Joshua Van Hoosen went in 1852 as part of the gold rush,” Dunham said. “So she is going to talk about the discovery of gold in 1848 in California and how it relates right back here to our little community.”

Dunham said Joshua Van Hoosen married Sarah Taylor Van Hoosen, the third generation of the Taylor family — the first family to settle in the village of Stony Creek in 1823. 

“When he asked for Sarah’s hand in marriage, Sarah’s parents said no because Joshua did not have any money and he didn’t own any property. So that’s when he decided that he would go to California and get gold,” Dunham explained. 

The rest, she said, is history.

“It’s really a fun story,” Dunham added.

On March 8, people can escape from their homes to learn about “The Saginaw Trail, from Native American Path to Woodward Avenue,” presented by Birmingham Historical Museum Director Leslie Pielack.

“She has done extensive research on the Native American path, the Saginaw Trail, that led from Detroit into the wilderness,”  Dunham said.

Presenting a forbidding land-
scape that was also a settler’s paradise, museum officials said the road promised great riches in natural resources, such as lumber and agriculture, and a future of wheeled vehicles that would make Michigan the center of global industry. Pielack will tell the story of the ancient path that transformed early Michigan and of the people whose lives intertwined with the iconic road.

Additional presentations include “The Chautauqua Movement,” by Jim Craft, March 15; “Michigan Copper Mining: Black Powder Era,” by Jim Cassell, March 22; and “Nature Getaways,” by Ron Rademacher, March 29.

All programs are free to museum members and cost $5 per session for nonmembers. To pre-register, visit, email or call (248) 656-4663.