The Podunk House and Museum at 2436 N. Long Lake Rd. in Fenton Township has long been a field trip destination for area students, but the 50-year anniversary of the Pioneer Day Festival just may be a reason for residents to learn more about local history.
The Pioneer Day Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., celebrating the pioneer past of Fenton and Mundy townships.
“Pioneers would meet every fall for a get-together,” said local historian Hewitt Judson, whose family settled here in 1834 and is one of the area’s oldest families. “It lasted for over 100 years, dying out after The Great Depression and World War II.”
The Pioneer Day Festival showcases the history of the Podunk House and Pioneer Museum, built in 1836, and pioneer families. Guests may visit Podunk House and Pioneer Museum, as well as enjoy live entertainment and activities.
This year’s milestone celebration will include a Boy Scout Flag Retirement Ceremony at 10:30 a.m., so visitors are encouraged to bring their faded, torn and tattered flags.
Podunk was a mill town founded by George Judson, Hewitt’s great-grandfather, in 1834.
“It was the same year Clark Dibble came to town,” Hewitt said. “Podunk was seven or eight houses and a mill and a nearby Indian village. Because of the lakes, this was a big summer area for Indians for fishing and hunting. The town died when the railroad came through the south end of Fenton instead of at North Long Lake. It became a ghost town. “
The Podunk House was moved to Torrey and Ray roads the first time it was re-located; then it was moved to its current location in 1969.
The house was purchased for $1,200 and cost $1,200 to move it to its current location. The money was raised by a group of local pioneer families and friends of local history, including Clarence Miller, Russell Judson, George Judson and Harry Swanebeck, township supervisor at the time.
Its last resident was Fanny (Judson) Thompson, a local journalist, in the early 1900s.
All the furniture in Podunk House are antiques from the time period, donated from local pioneer families.
The main entrance is at 2436 N. Long Lake Rd. An alternate entrance is off Main Road, across from the Lake Fenton Middle School ball field. Admission is $6 per family, $2 per adult and $1 per child. All proceeds benefit the Podunk House and Pioneer Museum, a non-profit organization.
What was Podunk Village?
Podunk was founded in 1834 by George Judson and consisted of a handful of houses and a mill. The last remainder of Podunk is the Podunk House, believed to be the second oldest house in Genesee County. It was re-located to 2436 N. Long Lake Rd. in 1967 and is now the site of the home and museum for the Pioneer Memorial Association.