"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
1962 Polar  Model 500

1962 Polar Model 500

Polaris co-founder, Edgar Hetteen, left Polaris in 1960 and opened Polar Manufacturing in January of 1961 in Thief River Falls, MN. He designed and built a portable steam cleaner, the Polar Model 24 and an insect killer, the Bug-O-Vac. These two products allowed him to work on a new snowmobile.
The first snowmobile, the Polar 500, was crude and heavy, weighing 590#.
By 1962, the company name was changed to Arctic Enterprises, Inc. and the name Arctic Cat was born.
This model 500 is serial number 7 and is powered by a 9.5hp Kohler engine.
Records for the number that were built vary from as few as 20 to a maximum of 100.

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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