Photo by Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

Shay Days in Harbor Springs

July, 2023

The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society presents Shay Days, a celebration of inventor Ephraim Shay and his contributions to the Harbor Springs community. In addition to his geared locomotive that made him famous, Ephraim Shay (1839-1916) designed and built the Harbor Springs Water Works, a stamped-steel building called the Hexagon House, and a steel yacht called the Aha.

The family-friendly, two-day Shay Days features small scale live steam locomotives in Shay Park, kids games and self-guided tours of the Shay Hexagon House, crafts at the Harbor Springs History Museum, and more. Bring your whole family to enjoy this special celebration of Ephraim Shay’s genius and to learn more about how Shay’s inventions shaped Harbor Springs.

Here's a typical schedule for the event:

Friday & Saturday

  • 10am-3pm – Meet the Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers, a group of model train experts who run a demonstration of their locomotive models. Shay Park- E. Main St., Harbor Springs
  • 10am-3pm – Kids crafts, games, and STEAM projects will take place under a tent in Shay Park both days. These include many train-themed projects, a “penny float” boat experiment, and a “drainpipe regatta” where visitors can put together their own sailboats and race them.
  • 10am-3pm – Demonstrations on artesian wells and lumber transportation in the late 1800’s. Demos take place every half hour. Harbor Springs History Museum- 349 E. Main St.
  • 10:30am AND 2pm – Story time for kids with a short history of Ephraim Shay by the Aha boat in Shay Park.
  • 10:30am – A walking tour, beginning at the History Museum on Main Street, follows some of the railroad grade of the historic Hemlock Central railway. Advance registration is appreciated by calling (231) 526-9771.

Experience Harbor Springs

From spring days with a landscape covered in trillium to a summer afternoon on the beach or water, Harbor Springs is the place. Read the stories below or go to the Harbor Springs destination page.

For more information on the Shay Days, please contact the event organizer:

Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, MI, 49740

(231) 526-9771

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