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

Open Hours

The museum is open Friday & Saturdays, 1:00-4:00 pm from March-December. Museum is closed to visitation during January and February. Please call or email with any questions.


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Book Pre-order SaleBefore Jan.17 – “A Snug Little Place: Memories of Ada, Michigan 1821-1930,” originally published in 1993, has been sold out for several years.  However, now it is being re-printed and will be available late January 2020.

  • Pre-order to reserve your copy. Pre-order price $20 ($25 after January 17).
  • Purchase the set of Book 1 (1821-1930) and Book 2 (1930-1980) for a pre-order price of $40. Click here for order form.

Upcoming Events

November, December & January 2019-2020

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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!

New Ada History Exhibit- Ada Is… Kidding Around
We kid you not, the museum has a new permanent exhibit and it’s a class act.  Go back to school – way back – from Ada’s one-room schools through the Forest Hills consolidation and private schools. The rest of the exhibit is child’s play, highlighting the historic toy collection.

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! WREATHS SOLD OUT – THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Friday & Saturday, November 30 – December 1 – Gift Shop Sale
1:00-4:00pm at the museum.  In conjunction with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, our gift shop will feature 10% off Ada-themed items to help you cross off your shopping list.  Come support local artists and products!

December 12, January 9, February 13 – Monthly Board Meeting
3:00 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, January 16, 2020 – Music of the Civil Right Era
7:00 pm at the museum.  In honor of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr holiday, we present music historian Jon VanderPloeg.  On behalf of the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA), VanderPloeg explores the meaningful songs that came to represent the Civil Rights movement. Download the flyer to this event.

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 Books One and Two 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 Pricing!

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After being out of print and sold out for many years, AHS is re-printing Book One (1821-1930), available in late January.  For a limited time, we’re having a pre-order special.  Pre-order Book One for $20 before Jan. 17.  Regular price will be $25.00.  Pre-order the set of Books One and Two for $40, ($45 after Jan. 17).  Click here for order form.

Book Two (1930-1980) is available at the museum during open hours, Friday and Saturday, 1:00-4:00 through December 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