History

Imagine this, the President of the United States makes his way to a tiny Michigan village to dedicate a war memorial. He’s greeted by a fellow who has turned turkey feathers into a world-wide industry and declared “Three Oaks Against the World.” Well, Edward Warren shook the hand of President McKinley in 1899 at the Three Oaks train station and heard President McKinley eloquently dedicate the Dewey Cannon Monument to the good people of Three Oaks and their contribution to the Spanish-American War. The campaign Warren waged against every other city and village in the nation to raise the most per-capita contribution for the war effort and its veterans was yet another victory for a most incredible businessman and benefactor.

Three Oaks was linked to the rest of our current Harbor Country communities by the timber and bricks which were shipped to Chicago and other Great Lakes cities. And, of course, there was the railroad. The crews aboard The Central Michigan Railroad passing through the village recognized there were three oak trees which appeared to be one because of their mass and proximity.

But, back to this Warren fellow. One day he noticed a store clerk fix a broken whale bone corset stay with a turkey feather quill. An industry was born at that moment. Turkey feather quills were becoming garment stays and buggy whips, as well. The Three Oaks company was booming. The Warren Featherbone factory still stands in Three Oaks.

- By Ron Miller