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209. The Scolnik House

August 1, 2011

In fall 1929, stocks fell 75%, income fell 40% and a quarter of the workforce was unemployed. People who had previously been able to take care of their families found themselves struggling to survive. How did the Depression affect Muskegon? To answer that question museum curators and staff spent more than two years rennovating the interior of the Scolnik House. Period appropriate carpet, paint and linoleum cover the floors, the furniture is a variety of styles and radios on each floor play music from the era.

To tell the story they have created a fictional Polish Catholic family owns the two-story home which was built in the late 1880s in classic Queen Anne-Inspired Folk Victorian style. The family includes a couple, their five children and the paternal grandmother. They initially lived on both floors of the home, but because of the depression, now only occupy the main floor. The second floor is now an apartment which serves as home to a young fictional Polish-Jewish couple, their two children and the wife’s brother. They immigrated to the United States before the Holocaust.

The home is named for Herman and Ida Scolnik who raised their family during the Depression. Their son Bob and his wife Merle are longtime residents of Muskegon County who believe in supporting the community through contributions to such projects as the Depression Era site. Bob said the fact that his father was employed throughout the depression was one of the things his mother was most proud of. The house is a way for his parents to live on.

The Scolnik House is located at 504 W. Clay Ave. Muskegon, MI 49440.

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