The Aha, a historic 1894 all-steel vessel built by Ephraim Shay, has been restored following a successful partnership between the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society and the Industrial Arts Institute. Now, the vessel is returning home to Shay Park in downtown Harbor Springs.
“We are fully supportive of locating the “Aha” at Shay Park; it fits with the growing theme of making this section of town a historical corridor and it provides an object of interest for sight-seers and out-of-towners as well as a meaningful attraction for year-round residents,” stated City Manager, Victor Sinadinoski. The Historical Society first approached the City about the possibility of displaying the Aha as an educational exhibit in 2019. After approval by the City Council and Planning Commission, the project picked up speed and plans for the installation of the “Aha” exhibit are nearly complete.
Ephraim Shay built the “Aha” as his personal yacht, beginning construction in 1891 and tinkering with the design until he launched a final version in 1894. Built in Shay’s machine shop at the corner of Bay and Judd Street, the “Aha” is returning home after spending decades away from Harbor Springs.
To celebrate the vessel’s return, a short program will take place on June 4th at 2:00 pm in Shay Park, officially opening the “Aha” Exhibit. The public is invited to attend to the opening, which will include a traditional christening and remarks by the City and the Historical Society. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring history to life. Donations to complete the “Aha” exhibit in Shay Park are still being accepted.