Welcome to the Inland Water Route Historical Society


The IWHS is currently in a Capital Campaign to raise funds for our “Launch Project”

Please consider sending a tax deductible donation to help fund this project to:

IWRHS POB 433 Alanson Mi 49706


The Inland Water Route Historical Society
of Alanson, Michigan Proudly Announces Their Plan to Place

A 30-Foot Launch Replica on the Waters of the
Inland Water Route of Northern Michigan

The Inland Water Route Historical Society (IWRHS) is committed to placing a 30 foot long, turn of the century launch replica on the waters of the Inland Water Route of Northern Michigan. The replica is modeled after a Truscott 30, an outstanding design, with historical features. The 12 passenger, two crew vessel will conduct historical, ecological, and paid general tours commencing Summer 2015. Of special note, the IWRHS committed to conducting special youth historical and ecological tours.


Mr. Wayne Blomberg, Chair of Project, and VP IWRHS, Cell: 231 838 5309

Mr. Mark Hill, President, IWRHS, Cell: 231 557 2205

Mr. Paul Fairbairn, Treasurer, IWRHS, Cell: 231 340 0562

Mr. Greg Warner, Board Member, IWRHS, Cell: 586 438 2664




The IWRHS was founded in 2004 by a group of like minded people. The group immediately formed a 501(c) (3) Non-Profit organization. The society has grown to a current membership of 113 paid memberships. Annual renewals have been typically at 85%, and we continue to realize new members. The society acquired the historical Alanson Village Hall (later Fire Station) on River Street in Alanson. The purchase exceeded $200,000. A funding drive was created and the final payment was made in August 2010. The IWRHS then established Inland Water Route Historical Society Museum. The museum has many informational displays. Visitors to the museum have increased each and every year. We have had visitors from 42 states, and 14 countries. The museum is 100% operated by volunteer staff. The museum has been featured in many regional magazines, and newspapers.

Mission of the IWRHS:
The mission of the IWRHS is to “Maintain and preserve the history of the entire Inland Water Route of northern Michigan and to educate the public of the significance the water route has played to Native Americans, Business/Industry, and visitors.


Mission of the Launch Project:

The Launch Project relates to the IWRHS’s mission and strategic goals. The Launch will facilitate the broadening of educating the general public in a very desirable way. An important mission is the youth historical education of the IWR. The IWRHS is excited to implement this important educational tool for the local population and visitors to Northern Michigan.

Need for Launch Project:

While a tour on our proposed launch can be perceived as a pleasure ride only, we seek to educate the public about the local history utilizing a unique method to northern Michigan. The US National Park system, and the Michigan Maritime Museum have realized success using this exact method. The ability to ‘see’ the locations of the history that we have documented in our museum while cruising at 3-4 knots in a launch replica will add to the experience of learning.


The Benefit to the Community of This Project:

We have received many, many compliments about the displays of our successful museum. Many visitors (including youth) have stated that the museum enriches their life with facts, and images that they never knew existed. We expect the experience of learning while cruising along the IWR in a replica launch will be a significant event for many to experience. We have received many comments of support for our project.



Place a US Coast Guard approved vessel to carry paying passengers on the waters of the Northern Michigan IWR by the Summer of 2015, and, Conduct paid tours thereafter.


Since the summer of 2010 the IWRHS Launch Project Group has been meeting and gathering information as to what parameters need to be set to accomplish the stated objective. If should be stated here that ‘one does not simply go out and purchase a launch replica to meet our objective. The planning, discussions, and end decisions have been many and serious as to proper implementation of the project. Experts in various fields have been contacted to provide accurate information and specifications. During the summer of 2013 the final decision was made to go with Beckman Boatshop Limited. Upon selecting Mr. Lloyd Beckman’s Design, the Purchase Order was placed November 2013. We are now in possession of that hull, engine and drivetrain.


Project Objective Measure of Success:

Phase I    Has been completed


Phase II   The seaworthiness certificate issued by the US Coast Guard will be the
ultimate measure of success for phase II.

Phase III and IV

Upon implementation of touring activity during the first year of operation (2015) the IWRHS will complete the following objectives:

1. Create and implement an evaluation survey for touring passengers, and
react accordingly.

2. Create and implement a Maintenance Plan.

Project Phases:

Phase I (Completed winter 2013-4):

Phase I of the project was the commissioning of a turn of the century fantail replica launch, hull, engine, drive train, and trailer. Phase I has been successfully completed. A total sum of $35,689 (private donors) was raised by the “IWRHS Launch Project Group” for Phase I. An order was placed to with Beckman Boatshop Limited of Kingstown, Rhode Island November 2013. The society is now in possession of that hardware.

Phase II:

Phase II will be the completion of the hull to a US Coast Guard Approved passenger carrying vessel. Completion includes among other features; frame members, seating, cockpit covers, head, helm, flooring, trim, marine hardware, etc. Completion will include the hiring of a naval architect, and contracting with Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS). Our current quote for $65,000 will enable the IWRHS to complete the vessel. Phase II includes the construction of a suitable Boathouse on the Crooked River. The IWRHS has been in discussions with the Village of Alanson concerning a footprint for a boathouse on Village owned property on the Crooked River. The Village of Alanson has expressed a willingness to facilitate building a boathouse that will be leased to the IWRHS.

Phase III:

Phase III of the Launch Project is the actual use of the vessel projected for the summer of 2015. The summer of 2015 will be used to develop the on water operations (routes, timings, costs, personnel, maintenance, etc.) We have commitments from members to implement this phase. We also have aligned with and will receive assistance from the Michigan Maritime Museum for consultations as needed.

Phase IV:

Phase IV will be the go public phase, no later than 2016. This will be the public historical and ecological general public and youth tours.
Minimally, the qualifications of the IWRHS to complete this project are as follows:

1. “IWRHS Launch Project Group” has been meeting for over four years to determine a best method of making this project a realization. Their travels have included trips to: The Michigan Maritime Museum (they are acting as informal consultants), two boat building schools. The group has created many contacts, and thus made countless phone calls to obtain pertinent information.

2. Within our society are two marina owner/operators. Their expertise includes all inland boating maritime operations, including but not limited to: Boat specifications, maintenance, operations, safety, insurance, and storage.

3. Eight members have hand built a wooden boat(s).

4. Many IWRHS members are multiple boat owners, and know the waters of the IWR.

5. Several members are business owners


Who will be involved in project?

Phase II is approximately 95% contracted (Great Lakes Boat Building School) and 5% volunteer labor to complete the launch.


Phase III and IV

The IWRHS museum is a 100% volunteer operation. The “IWRHS Launch Project Group” will be the core group to start the launch operations and it too will be 100% volunteer operated. Approximately 8 members are planning to become ‘Six-pak’ Captains certified by the US Coast Guard and plan to volunteer their time as captain of our launch. Full implementation of the project requires captains with a 100 Ton passenger rating. While we have received interest for volunteer 100 Ton rating captains, we expect to be hiring these staff. The timing of this stage is for public usage in 2017.


Maintenance scheduling and performance will be supervised by IWRHS member marina owner/operators.


Ticketing will be done via web, and will be outsourced

Marketing will be done by members, and service provider.

What are the alternative plans?

The IWRHS is committed to placing the launch on the waters of the IWR. To that end, if monies from grants do not meet expectations, the IWRHS is committed to finishing the hull by the skills, monies and donations of materials of the “IWRHS Launch Project Group”. This was in fact our original plan. The only compromise would be time to completion (due to volunteer labor) and historical correctness (as some materials would be donated and not accurate to the time period and styling).


The Inland Water Route Historical Society invites you to become involved with this truly extraordinary project. Please feel free to call us with any question or concern.

On behalf of the members and Board of Directors of the IWRHS,

Thank-you, for taking your time, to read this packet.








4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Inland Water Route Historical Society

  1. Learned of your museum in Mr. Cheney’s obituary notice. Very excited to visit when we vacation this summer. I do not understand clearly, will the launch be available for public tours in the summer of 2015?

  2. Have you sent out the membership dues info for 2017? I would like to send in my annual donation. Thanks! Meg Murdock Abbott

  3. Hello,

    I am trying to find a photo of the Moore Hotel that was in Indian river after 1900. Any suggestions on how I might locate a photo if one exists?

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