MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell

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Present Day

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co
Historical
Association

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Southwest
Michigan
Tourist Council

Base Ball Season

2016 will begin our 19th season of operation as an educational-experience. The tourism industry defines our historic properties as a "living history" and looks upon us as a cultural, historic district.

Mary's City of David also is working with the same office concerning the development of a "cultural-heritage" corridor beginning at New Buffalo and extending north to Ludington.

Quoting from an outline from the Lansing office:

    "Listing in the National Register will raise awareness in the community about the historic significance of the sites and will galvanize efforts to protect them. Mary's City of David has offered tours to the public during the summer months since 1997. The tours feature a vegetarian meal using recipes from the original 1930s cookbook. The community has also revived its base ball team sponsoring vintage base ball games at its home field and playing other vintage teams across the state. National Register listing will help to increase the site's visibility and marketing potential helping them to expand their tourism offerings. The resulting increased revenues will assist in the upkeep and interpretation of the site. Mary's City of David is a key resource just outside the city limits of Benton Harbor, a community in Michigan's 2006 Preserve America grant project area. Mary's City of David has the potential to become a cultural magnet for the region. A representative from Mary's City of David has indicated that the community is interested in working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to establish a tourism initiative on the scale of the Shaker communities. Mary's City of David is actively working to find an adaptive reuse for resort cottages on site. Some are currently serving as rental properties and there has been some discussion with an art school that is considering the site for use as an artist camp."

The Lansing preservation officers were very pleased with our restoration accomplishments over a period of 18 years and our continued efforts without outside funding sources.

Their touring of our properties in late November, 2006, gave them a thorough picture of what conditions are and what yet needs to be accomplished.

Some of Mary's City of David's most important aspects in terms of educational facilities, living-history interpretation, and community support with interaction are:

  • Eastman Springs as a potential archeological treasure and its importance to early Benton Harbor resort development history.
     
  • The "Gate of Prayer" Synagogue that helps define an intrinsic doctrinal precept of tolerance of other religious persuasions. The link with the Chicago Jewish community was a unique aspect that is most noteworthy.
     
  • The assemblage of the world's largest Christian-Israelite archival collection, spanning 3 1/2 centuries, adding several impressive collections in the last 10 months. This archive is invaluable for research and study never before accessible to the world and will provide a primary source for rare documents, photo records, artifacts, complete historic record, letters/correspondence, complete membership listing, a comprehensive collection of religious publications dating back through the movement to the 1600s, and all inclusive of collections relative to the House of David.
     
  • The Site's overall integrity that has been maintained from its building in the 1930s.

It is to be particularly noted that our efforts have been BLESSED MANIFOLD by a circle of dedicated, thoughtful and conscientious volunteers throughout the summer months and in some cases year round. Our payroll staff is small but equally dedicated to working with us (for us) in our preservation goals and our overall well-being is always in mind. This is invaluable to us and has made so many projects, otherwise out of reach, possible.

Sincere Thankfulness!  We also wish to take the necessary time to THANK ALL of the wonderful people that have donated items to our Museum for preservation and public display.  Numerous are the THANK YOUS  that are deserved towards the kindness and thoughtfulness in these gifts that will be preserved with this history and shared with all that visit to learn and see the numerous sites and aspects of a history, now spanning 3 1/2 centuries.

Also our sincere thankfulness towards all that have visited and taken the tour with us here at Mary's City of David; the tours have been a warm and delightful experience for us in meeting, visiting and sharing our heritage with our guests and friends.  The long and many hours in restorations and preparations are all found so worthy of the efforts when we see old friends and meet new friends.

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co
Historical
Association

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Southwest
Michigan
Tourist Council

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