"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
1947 Eliason Finds A New Home

1947 Eliason Finds A New Home

One of the highlights of our museum collection was the 1947 Eliason. This brand is said to be the first marketed snowmobile in the form that was the beginning of the product that we know of today. It was first built by Carl Eliason of Sayner, WI in the back of his general store about 1920. Carl was a blacksmith and dealer of our modern outboard motors. He modified a 2.5 horsepower outboard for his power plant and fashioned the frame from metal heated over a coal stove. Steam from water boiling in the family washtub formed the skis. In 1932 he introduced a better model that was powered by a converted Indian motorcycle engine. The owner of this amazing snowmobile was Brent Schut from Deerton, MI, which is a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As many hunters know, great things can be found in odd places. Brent had 2 friends whose father owned this snowmobile, but it was stored in a trailer and in rough condition. It had definitely been used over the years! To make a long story short, the father gave the machine to Brent, who knew he wanted to restore it. It took him 7 years to complete the project. He spent 600 hours on the engine alone, listening to it at midnight when he finally got it running. He was able to take it to Sayner, WI to show it to the grandson, John Eliason. John was so impressed with the restoration work, he has asked Brent to restore a "C" model that he has personally kept over the years. The Museum was fortunate enough to display this snowmobile for 2 years, but as with all good things, it has moved on to a good home in Maine. We were able to keep some of the information about this snowmobile and the Eliason in general, which will be on display at the Museum. Thank you Brent for sharing this historic piece with so many people!

Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum News Release-2023 On September 22, 2023 the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced it would be generously awarding the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway an $8750 grant for operational support during 2024. MACC uses a peer review process to award grants. More than 700 organizations across the state applied for funding. Each grant application is competitively judged; awardees are chosen to ensure Michigan residents and visitors have access to the most authentic aspects of local arts and culture. Organizations receiving a grant award from MACC/NEA are required to match those funds with other public or private dollars. The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum receives a great deal of donated monetary support through its memberships and visitors and plans to use these funds to match the MACC grant award. There are 141 active museum members not including lifetime members and more than 7000 visitors just last year.

The museum has plans to bring more local art-related activities to our conference room and develop a program for groups with special needs. This support will go toward the cost of wages and advertising for these activities. On Sept 20, 2019, The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum was awarded a grant of $12,500 for Operational Support from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – ART WORKS). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 561 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2019 funding. The grant requires a 1:1 match and helped the museum leverage the $12,500 of support from its annual income and the many donations from supporters. In particular the museum has received grants from the Graymont Community Economic Development Fund and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It has also received significant donations from the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, The Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows, Inc., many snowmobile clubs, several recreational and snowmobile shows, the museum’s internal $1,000.00 Challenge, and many museum members. The grant funds will be applied to museum operating costs. Applicable costs include internal operations, marketing, travel to shows within the State of Michigan and cost of employees. The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant applicant to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences. A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MCACA website at
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Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
Hours: 906 477-6298
Appointment: 906 477 6192

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