By: Benjamin J. Gohs, Associate Editor
When Kevin McGinty first walked into the hundred-year-old church he knew it was the perfect place for a resurrection. What McGinty brought to life was a one-of-a-kind display area for a cast of collectibles which took him a lifetime to acquire.[private]
“I have always collected a lot of nostalgic nicknacks and artwork from the ’40s and ’50s in my hometown of Livonia, but I had a lot of them stored away,” McGinty said. “This place gave us plenty of room to display this stuff and we’ve got everything from original ’50s diner booths, original Big Boy booths out of Saginaw and Great Lakes art work regarding the Edmund Fitzgerald from the maritime historical museum.”
Built in 1903 for use as the Boyne City First Baptist Church, McGinty and his wife Carole bought the property in 2004 and converted the building into their home. “When I walked in I said, ‘Man, this is it’ and I called my wife,’” McGinty said.
The retired Chrysler executive also has his fair share of automotive artwork and memorabilia. “There’s an oil painting of Gordie Howe and about every beer sign you could think of,” he said. “And, I have a golden oak bar that was originally a counter-top at a general store in Elk Rapids that’s more than 107 years old. McGinty also has an extensive train collection that he uses to put on a “Polar Express” demonstration at the Boyne District Library each Christmas.
So, why such a varying and eclectic collection of items?
“It’s kind of a reflection of people. When people come in and sit down and see something that takes them back to their childhood years it makes them happy, it makes people feel secure,” McGinty said. “You could say it’s just a little bit of everything that reminds me of the olden days.”
McGinty said his next project is to build a stained glass window commemorating the church’s build date. When asked how his wife likes living in a house filled with collectibles he jokingly said, “It drives her insane. Every couple months or so I just open up the north and south windows and let the wind blow because the dusting is a hell of a job.”
McGinty was quick to add that his wife actually does most of the dusting. McGinty will engage the occasional gawker who spies an oddity in one of his windows, going so far as to give complete strangers impromptu tours of the McGinty home. “Sometimes we’ll be in our pajamas in the morning and I’ll be showing people around the house,” he said.
So, the next time you’re walking by 921 Lake St. in Boyne City and see a gentleman working in the yard or hauling what looks like a museum piece through the front door, just ask him about his unique collection and he may just give you the grand tour in his life-size curio cabinet.
Editor’s Note: The Boyne City Gazette is proud to be hosting a Business After Hours at the McGinty home on February 17th from 5:30 – 7:30. Please stop by and see for yourself the many treasures held within.[/private]