Gene Wallen brought this unique building to my attention and sent me some photos he took while visiting it recently.
There is a Michigan Historical Marker at the Pickle Barrel House location that reads:
The Pioneer Cooperage Company of Chicago designed this small vacation cottage, which stood on the shores of nearby Sable Lake from 1926 until about 1937. It was built for William Donahey, creator of the Chicago Tribune cartoon story The Teenie Weenies. The house was constructed as a typical barrel would have been, only on a much larger scale. The main barrel contained a living area on the first floor and a bedroom on the second. A pantry connected this barrel to a smaller single-story one, which housed a kitchen.
Donahey spent ten summers at the cottage with his wife, Mary, herself a noted author of children’s books. The structure was then moved to its current site and used as a tourist information center. The Pickle Barrel House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
William Donahey’s widely syndicated comic, The Teenie Weenies, debuted in the Chicago Tribune in 1914 and continued until the creator’s death in 1970. The cartoon story featured miniature people who lived in a world of life-sized objects that to them were enormous. The popularity of these playful characters led to a contract for Donahey with the Chicago firm of Reid, Murdoch and Company, which hired the artist to create packaging and advertising for its line of food products. The Pickle Barrel House was a large-scale version of the miniature oak casks in which the company’s Monarch-brand pickles were sold, and was likely intended as an advertisement for their pickle products. Teenie Weenie books were translated into several languages and over one million copies were sold worldwide.
The barrel home has been accepted on the Michigan Register of Historic Places and is a Michigan Historic Home.
Following are some links you can follow to learn more about the Pickle Barrel House.