Michigan Roadside Attractions: Perry Hannah Statue, Traverse City
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to the unusual.
Traverse City is the largest city in Northern Michigan and is one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. A statue in Hannah Park at the corner of Sixth and Union streets features a statue of the park’s namesake Perry Hannah, who is considered the “father of Traverse City. The Perry Hannah statue is one of many pieces of downtown art in Traverse City and most are located near the Boardman River like this one is. The statue was dedicated in 2015, and is a great addition to Hannah Park as well as a great “welcome” to the downtown area.
The Perry Hannah statue was “sculpted by Verna Bartnick and cast by T.J. Carroll. Hannah holds two pine cones in his hand, a reference to the pine forests he came in search of for his lumber business.” The plaque in front of the statue provides a short biography of Hannah: “In July of 1851, at just 26 years of age, Perry Hannah, President of Chicago’s Hannah, Lay & company, sailed into the Grand Traverse Bay wilderness for the very first time in search of timber to support his company’s lumber needs during America’s Gilded Age. For the sum of $4,500, Mr. Hannah purchased slightly more than 200 acres of heavily forested bay shore property that straddled what is now known as the Boardman River and extended to Boardman Lake, This was was the raw beginnings of a future great city. Mr. Hannah came for the timber and remained for the rest of his life, serving as the city’s first mayor and one term in the state legislature while constantly altering the economy to keep it alive. For more than 50 years he earned the respect of his employees and business and government leaders throughout the state of Michigan by enriching their lives and building a great community while leaving extraordinary gifts of architecture and land for the enjoyment of future generations. Virtually everything we see, touch, feel and sense about Traverse City today can be traced directly back to founding father Perry Hannah. His most readily recognized gift is his retirement home located just a few steps west at 305 Sixth Street, a valued memory that speaks clearly to his legacy.”
The Perry Hannah statue frequently gets outfit changes that support local events, changing seasons, holidays, school spirit, hunting season, and even a face mask during Covid-19.