Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

December 8, 2013

'Perry Hannah's Gifts: Then and Now'

TRAVERSE CITY — “Perry Hannah’s Gifts: Then and Now,” is expected to arrive in town this week, fresh from the printing press and just in time for the holidays.

The 9-by-12-inch coffee table-style hard cover volume might be the first history written exclusively about Hannah, a Traverse City lumber baron and town father whose legacy lives on in the form of historical buildings 110 years after his death, including his Victorian home, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year.

Authors Peg Jonkhoff and Fred Hoisington have set up several book signings at various sites during the coming weekend.

The 200-page book is more like two books in one, Jonkhoff said.

The first 100 pages focus on Hannah’s history. The second half is a pictorial tour of “then” and “now” interior photographs of Hannah’s three-story home, much of which is not open for public tours. The house contains 40 rooms and 10 fireplaces made in Belgium especially for Hannah.

Forty to 60 craftsmen constructed the house from 1891 to 1893. It includes more than 14,000 square feet of space — 3,500 square feet on each of the three floors, plus a full basement.

The home cost Hannah $40,000 — about $1 million in today’s dollars.

The house at 305 Sixth St. today serves as the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, owned and operated by Peg and her husband Dan Jonkhoff.

Hoisington, a former city planner for Traverse City in the 1970s, said his fascination with Hannah began several years ago when he conducted history center walking tours through historic parts of the city and downtown.

“One day I realized that Perry had been involved in some way with everything I showed people,” he said. “And people on the tours were most interested in the Hannah house. You can’t tell the house story without telling the Perry story.”

Traverse City commercial photographer Don Rutt spent 44 hours during 16 days photographing “now” images of the house, its huge attic and other structures Hannah had a hand in building in his half century in the city.

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