Pickle Barrel House

Pickle Barrel House

Infobox_nrhp | name =Pickle Barrel House
nrhp_type =

caption =
location= Burt Township, Michigan
lat_degrees = 46 | lat_minutes = 40 | lat_seconds = 16.03 | lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 85 | long_minutes = 59 | long_seconds = 5.07 | long_direction = W
area =
built =1926
architect= Cunliff, Harold S.
architecture= Other
added = February 04, 2004
governing_body = Private
refnum=03001548 cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2008-05-15|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
The "Pickle Barrel House" is a two-story cabin built of two barrels. The house design is based on cartoon characters that were two inches tall cite web|url= http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/teenie/|title= William Donahey's Teenie Weenies|accessdate= 2008-05-16] cite web|url= http://www.thetws.com/index.htm|title= The Teenie Weenies|accessdate= 2008-05-16] and lived under a rose bush in a pickle barrel.cite book |author=Hunt, Mary and Hunt, Don | chapter= Pickle Barrel Museum |date=2007 |title=Hunt's Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula |publisher= Midwestern Guides |location=Albion, MI |url= http://hunts-upguide.com/ |chapterurl=http://hunts-upguide.com/grand_marais_pickle_barrel_museum.html| accessdate=2008-05-15 ] It is currently located in Grand Marais, Michigan on Michigan's Upper Peninsula at the southern end of Lake Superior.cite web|url= http://www.roadtripamerica.com/roadside/Michigan-GrandMarais-PickleHouse.htm|title= Road Trip America|accessdate= 2008-05-15] It is near the intersection of Michigan Hwy-77 and County Highway 58 of this gateway town to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The main part is a 16-foot (4.88 m) tall barrel and has two stories. The main floor is for the living area and the upstairs is a bedroom. A smaller barrel serves as the kitchen and the two "barrels" are connected by a pantry. cite web|url= http://www.grandmaraismichigan.com/Thenandnow/picklebarrel.htm|title= Then and Now|accessdate= 2008-05-15] There is an outdoor garden and also a seating area with a garden path between these two.



William Donahey was an author, illustrator, and cartoonist. He created "The Teenie Weenies" cartoon feature which was a widely syndicated comic that debuted in the Chicago Tribune in 1914. The comic feature continued until his death in 1970. It featured tiny people who lived in a world of life-sized objects. To these tiny people the real world objects were gargantuan.cite web|url=http://www.michigan.gov/documents/hal/mhc_shpo_Markers_Pickle_Barrel_189030_7.pdf|title= Michigan Historic Preservation Office|accessdate= 2008-05-15]

Donahey did several advertisements for Reid-Murdock & Company for the Monarch Foods line. Teenie Weenies were on many of the labels of Monarch food products including coffee, peanut butter, popcorn, sausage, bacon, and all kinds of vegetables, including pickles. One advertisement featured a small pickle keg that was used as a house by some of his Teenie Weenies children characters.

One day in 1926 as a surprise for Donahey's wife Mary Dickerson Donahey, herself an author, along with Reid-Murdock he had a duplicate large version of the keg house built that they could actually use. Reid-Murdock ordered the Pickle Barrel House to be built by the Pioneer Cooperage Company of Chicago. This special cottage would then be for the Donaheys to use as a summer cabin in the woods at Grand Sable Lake to inspire their writings. The barrel house was a large-scale version of the miniature oak casks that held the Monarch-brand pickles. The Donaheys received much attention for their "barrel house on the lake" since nobody ever saw anything like this before. However, after 10 years it became a burden because of all the curiosity seekers and onlookers wanting to see how they lived. Ultimately they moved it from its original lake location.


The Pickle Barrel house was moved to downtown Grand Marais in 1936 from the woods at nearby Grand Sable Lake when new tenants took possession. Through the years it was an ice-cream stand, an information kiosk booth, and a souvenir gift shop. These various tenants over the many years did not maintain the cottage as it should have been taken care of and the barrel house fell into disrepair. In 2003 the Grand Marais Historical Society acquired the property. They undertook the project of restoring the structure to its original condition. On July 3, 2005, after much work and with a budget of $125,000 in expenses the renovated Pickle Barrel House was opened to the public. The barrel house now shows how the Donaheys lived there in their summer cottage in the woods by the lake in the 1920s and 30s.

The barrel house museum has old pictures of the Donaheys in their one-of-a-kind pickle barrel cottage. Some of these old photos of the 1920s even show the "curiosity visitors" at their cottage in the woods. In the museum also are several books and other materials on William Donahey and his children's Teenie Weenies. One room alone showcases William Donahey and his artwork of creations of the Teenie Weenies. In this room is a seven inch barrel on display showing a promotion for Monarch sweet pickles. The barrel house pretty much recreates its appearance and "atmosphere" when the Donaheys lived there. Out of town tourists that visit the unique and unusual house can now get the feel for what everyday life in a barrel would be like.

Historical marker

There is a Michigan Historical Marker at the Pickle Barrel House location that reads::(front side) :::Pickle Barrel House
:(back side) :::The Teenie Weenies The barrel home has been accepted on the Michigan Register of Historic Places and is a Michigan Historic Home. cite web|url=http://www.absolutemichigan.com/dig/homes-real-estate/michigan-historic-homes-the-pickle-barrel-house/|title= Absolute Michigan|accessdate= 2008-05-15]


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