The Heddon Museum

Located in the former Heddon factory at 414 West Street, the The Heddon Museum preserves the history of the Heddon family's many contributions to the fishing tackle industry and to the City of Dowagiac.

It was along the banks of Mill Pond in the late-1890s that James Heddon sat whittling, while waiting for a friend. When he got up to leave, he tossed the small piece of wood into the water, where it was struck by a bass. That seemingly insignificant event led him to build a top-water lure, which he called the "Dowagiac." By the 1920s, Heddon's Sons was the world's largest producer of quality fishing tackle.

At the centerpiece of the family's history and of the museum is James Heddon's Sons Co. From its inception in 1902 until its departure in 1984, the company made fishing tackle, golf club shafts, ski poles, violin bows, box kites and even radio antennae during World War II.

On display are more than 1,000 lures, 140 reels and 150 rods, including an original James Heddon frog, one of the most sought-after of all collector lures. Visitors can also view models of the famous "flying fish" airplanes, produced by Heddon Aviation Co.

The museum is open Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; the last Sunday of the month from 1:30 to 4 p.m.; or by special appointment. Admission is free. To learn more about the The Heddon Museum call (269) 782-5698 or e-mail museum officials at heddonmuseum@lyonsindustries.com.