Welcome

The Ada Historical Society preserves, shares, and celebrates the unique history of the Ada community.

The Ada Historical Society and the Averill Historical Museum of Ada are located at 7144 Headley Street, Ada, MI 49301.

Read the current Uniquely Ada Newsletter!


Open Hours

The museum is open Friday & Saturdays, 1:00-4:00 pm from March-December. Please call or email with any questions.


Building Excitement for Ada’s Museum Expansion 

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Fundraising efforts to raise $669,000 for the Museum Expansion Project officially started Spring of 2017.  Overall response has been positive and community support has been strong.

We’re pleased to report that Ada Township/AHS has received a generous grant of $50,000 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). The MCACA coordinates support for cultural and arts organizations state-wide using public funds.   For more info on the MCACA, visit their website: http://www.michiganbusiness.org/community/council-arts-cultural-affairs/

(l-r) Karen McCarthy from Consumers Energy and Betty Jo Crosby from the Ada Historical Society
(l-r) Karen McCarthy from Consumers Energy and Betty Jo Crosby from the Ada Historical Society

AHS has received a generous $5,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation. The gift benefits the museum expansion capital campaign and renewal of the permanent exhibit rooms. We are grateful to Consumers Energy for supporting AHS efforts to preserve, share, and celebrate the Ada community!

Upcoming Events

September, October & November 2019

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New Permanent Exhibit – Ada Is…Right On Track
Ada was slow growing until the railroad first came to town. A new museum exhibit highlights the impact the railroad had on the development of Ada from the 1850s-1960. Don’t get side-tracked – chug on down and check it out!

Coming in November – Ada Is… Kidding Around
In November, we will celebrate the little things in life with the opening of a new permanent exhibit all about generations of growing up in Ada. The exhibit explores area schools – from one-room schoolhouses right up to Ada’s newest school, St. Roberts – as well as featuring our historic toy collection and more. Download a flyer about the exhibit.

September 12, October 10, & November 14 – Monthly Board Meeting
1:00 pm at the museum. Board meetings are open to the public. We welcome your involvement. Join us to find out how we’re making history! Please call or email with any questions.

Thursday, September 19 – Lecture: What Do I Do With All My Stuff?
7:00 pm at the museum. Ever wonder what to do with all the treasures you’ve accumulated or inherited over the years? You’re not alone. We welcome you to conversation with presenters Chuck Schoenknecht and Ward Paul who offer a variety of ideas and experiences to help. Lecture is free and open to all. Light refreshments served.
Download the flyer to this event.

Thursday, September 5 – Dahlia Walk & Talk
7:00pm at the museum. Join us for an event highlighting the Vader Dahlia Garden. Joanne Jepsen, past president of the West Michigan Dahlia Society, will share information on growing dahlias, we’ll visit the garden on the museum grounds, and light refreshments will be served.
Download the flyer to this event.

Thursday, November 7 – Veterans’ Day Lecture
7:00 pm at the museum. In partnership with Cascade Historical Society, we offer a presentation in honor of Veterans’ Day. Cornerstone Professor Dr. Michael Stevens will discuss the 3rd Michigan Infantry and present in uniform. Download the flyer to this event.

Monday, November 18 – Decorate for the holidays
10:00 at the museum. Time to get the museum all dressed up for the holidays. If you enjoy seasonal decoration, we welcome your involvement!

Friday, November 22 – Wreath Sale fundraiser begins
Beautiful fresh evergreen wreaths go on sale in the barn. Check the township hall, museum, or our website to see an order form or just stop by during open hours. Mark your calendar for the biggest annual fundraiser to support AHS activities. Look good and do good in one easy step!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Do you love to take photos? Do you enjoy posting on social media? Or would you simply like to help us preserve Ada history?

The village is undergoing significant change and will continue to grow. If you take any photos of the changes, consider sharing a copy with AHS and we will add them to our community archives. Buildings coming down and going up, you and friends enjoying new amenities or sites in the village, even favorite photos of the last few decades in Ada, digital or printed photos. Please drop by the museum, email, post to our Facebook, even mail to the museum–whatever it takes!

For future generations to know Ada as we experience it, it needs to be documented. And a picture is worth a thousand words.


Ada History Book is Now Available!

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Ada Historical Society has published its second book about the history of Ada. This upcoming edition is titled, The Next 50 Years in “A Snug Little Place,” Ada, Michigan, 1930-1980.  The new book is a follow-up to AHS’s 1992 book covering Ada history from 1821-1930.

Special Spring Pricing!

Regular price will be $25.00.  Books are available at the museum during open hours, Friday and Saturday, 1:00-4:00 and by appointment.  They are also available at the Ada Township offices and at Gravel Bottom Brewery.  For more information click here!


Wish List

Since its inception in 1974, AHS has been fortunate to receive ongoing support from members and the community.  We have benefited from countless volunteer hours, essential object donations, and financial support to aid in our programming and the preservation of this community’s archives.  We simply could not operate the museum and host events without this generosity.

We ask that you keep the museum in mind as we move into the season of giving.  Please stop by the holiday wreath sale fundraiser, shop for unique Ada gifts in our gift shop or gift a loved one with a contribution in their honor.  Below is a sampling of items on our holiday list.  Please call or email us if you can be of help.  Thank you!

  • Crank handle ice cream maker for historic demonstrations
  • Digital transfer of oral history audio tapes
  • Cider press for historic demonstrations
  • Garden bench
  • 3 hat stands for exhibiting and storage
  • Assistance with military veterans database program

 We’re In the Movies!

The Ada Historical Society has had the unique opportunity to partner with a class from the Communications Arts and Sciences Program at Calvin College.  Our goal was to create a video that served as an introduction to Ada history and to the community in general. AHS has been fortunate to benefit from the students’ advanced technological skills and fresh approach.  The finished product is a bite-sized temptation that will leave you wanting more! Click here to see Ada: Historical Momentum.

Ada Post Office

This image from the early 1900s shows the Ada Post Office when it was located at the corner of Ada Dr. and Thornapple River Dr. (the site of the current telephone building.) That building burned down in 1920.  For years after that, the Post Office was located in the Masonic Temple building on the corner of Ada Dr. and Bronson St. (now the Ada Bike Shop and Schnitz Deli.)  Students from Calvin College treated the photograph to a colorization process for inclusion in the new Ada history video, “Ada: Historical Momentum.”                                   


IMG_1009Have you seen the signs?!…  Come take a stroll through time in Ada village.  Hop out of your car, wander the tree-lined village streets and explore Ada’s rich cultural heritage.  The site map will guide you to eight different interpretive panels that take a then-and-now approach to Ada’s history with text and historic images.  We invite you to come ReDISCOVER Ada!

Learn more about the Interpretative Panels Project here.

Interpretive Panels Location Map