** Clare County Historical Society **

Clare Michigan would like to share a little known fact. 

In the Fall of 1951, the Merchants from Clare Michigan were looking for someone to help with securing some Christmas decorations.  They observed Wally Bronner, who was designing a window display for Jennison’s Hardware in nearby Bay City, Michigan.  Immediately, they approached him about coming up with some designs to adorn the Downtown Clare streets.   Wally Bronner proudly presented these decorations that he had designed (see photo) to the Clare Merchants.  Shortly thereafter, he decided to leave the hardware and start his own business in Frankenmuth, Michigan, known world-wide as Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

In a tribute to honor Wally Bronner’s display of entrepreneurship and creativity, Clare Michigan proudly displays Banner reprints of those original decorations.  They are being hung today, November 19th.   During your Holiday travels plan to stop in Clare to admire the work of Wally Bronner that has spiraled him to fame.

1951: While designing window displays for Jennison's Hardware in nearby Bay City, Michigan, Wally meets merchants from Clare, Michigan, looking for Christmas decorations for city lampposts. He creates a custom line of panels that mark the start of his career in Christmas decorations.

Clare County was fondly named by an early Irish settler after his beloved County Clare in Ireland. Many reminders of this Irish heritage are evident throughout Clare. Visit the historic Doherty Hotel, Clare turns green every March as we celebrate our heritage in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

Clare’s Irish connection and turn of the century architecture invites our visitors to dig deeper into our story. Railroads, logging, and even a gangster or two are part of our colorful past.

Let us invite you to stroll to any of our three galleries, or take a self guided tour of historic art found throughout the City of Clare. Some of this art dates back to the depression era through a public works program initiated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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