Allie Mae’s Bold Idea
Nearly 100 years ago a visionary Leelanau resident named Allie Mae Best formed a bold idea to create a community center along the Carp River in the heart of Leland, Michigan. Named for her husband, on August 3, 1922, The Walter T. Best Community Club was founded. It was launched as a social circle “with 20 ladies present” as reported then in the Leelanau Enterprise. For 17 years the beloved facility grew in popularity offering social, educational and cultural events.
In 1939, Allie Mae Best gave the building to Michigan State University (MSU) to offer accredited summer art classes. After fifty years, the MSU summer art program closed in 1989. The landmark building stood vacant until 1992 when enterprising area residents, fearing the vacant building would be lost, created a lease agreement between Leland Township and MSU.
In 1994, the Leelanau Community Center (LCCC) non-profit was formed to preserve the Old Art Building, to promote cultural enrichment and to provide a gathering place as a community center.