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    Lake and area history in photos and text

    The Way It Was - Memories & Stories

    Submitted by Gwen Tisdale, Summer 2013

    Back in the late 40's and 50's when I was a little girl my grandparents, Nathan & Bertha Winn, brought my brother (Monty Thocker & me Gwen Thocker) to the cottage every summer after school let out. We usually entered off Clareola through the fragrant pine grove and our cottage at that time was on the inner circle of West Beach. We had an outhouse with two holes and a hand pump in the tiny galley kitchen with shutters. We had to keep kerosene lanterns on hand as there were frequent summer blackouts due to storms. There was no central heating so the fireplace was the main heat source and it was often chilly in the early summer.

    The cottages had names and ours was Windemere Lodge and still is. All the roads were 2-lane dirt tracks. Sometimes the wetlands just past the DNR landing were so flooded onto the road that some boards were laid on them in order to drive across. There was a colorful native character living on Clareola where their are now entrances to cottages known as Jack Scott. He raised a few cows, chickens and pigs and worked out of a tiny tarpaper shack. I believe Jack was a relative to Roy Cook. Being Roy owned a large red barn in back of Cook's Landing which sold pop and snacks then he also allowed his barn to be used for occasional outdoor movies during the summer.

    On West Beach there was a log cabin (still there on the inner circle known as "Jigg's Inn." Charlie Ellsworth bought that cabin and two others which he rented as well as established a large polebarn style marina on the swamp (now the channel). He was assisted by Bro Atkins, his wife and their two granddaughters Lemoyne and Cindy in running the rentals and the marina. They probably ran these for 3-5 years before Mr. Faber bought out the marina and the main house and rentals were independently sold to private persons. The marina rented wooden row boats and live bait and was quite a hang-out for the men. Of course I was hanging out there also with the granddaughters using the boats and digging in the muck surrounding it.

    Back then almost all of the North Shore, Raevena Shores and VanWelt subdivisions were vacant. Their was a very old farmhouse on Van Welt. Ray Barber (then of West Beach) developed Raevena Shores and I helped clear some of the underbrush. Jack Scott's son, Keith worked on some of the foundations of the first cinderblock cottages put up along this shoreline.

    With no TV our days and nights were taken up with coloring, checkers, cards, a wind-up victrola, reading, playing croquét with my grandma and going for walks. We did have a little store on West beach on the corner of Clareola and our entrance road that was owned by 3-4 owners (including all the school teachers at that time (two Vivian's, two Bettys, and one Marion). It was a treat to walk down there in great fear of passing the woods as their were a few wild bears in the woods at that time. They put out hand-dipped ice cream and I always got butterscotch (we don't see that today). Their were very few full time residents at that time. Our west beach area had two: The Moreys (now Fred Moynihan and Charlie Ellsworth and the Atkins in Jigg's Inn.

    From a phone conversation with Elmer Vinton on Sep 3, 2013, 8:00pm

    Elmer was in the middle of 10 kids (5 boys, 5 girls), born in the house at Dunlop & Garfield Ave on Sep 30, 1930. He lived there until age 18, and left in 1949 for his military duty. He attended the Lake school one year, then the schoolhouse was moved & 4 schools were consolidated. Some kids went to Lake Village, but with the geographic dividing line, he ended up at the Barryton school and graduated from there, as did all nine siblings. Elmer's father died at the farm, his mom died in 1986.
    From the stone house on S Shore Dr [now 11146 S Shore Dr] all around to the Rood Farm [Van Welt subdivisions] was nothing but woods, Elmer's playground.

    The railroad surveyors did the concrete monument at the corner of Rock Rd and Garfield. There was a narrow gauge railroad from Lake George --went SW to NE around, crossed Garfield and up west side of Crooked Lake to the sawmill in Lake during the lumber days. [this monument is at Elmer's property, which is where the school was built -- remainders of the foundation are still visible in 2013]

    [Ed. note: Elmer could not commit to further interviewing due to stated health issues with himself, and also his wife, Pat. Elmer said his parents and siblings all died at age 83, and Elmer was coming on to his 83rd birthday at the end of September. Phone interview with Jeanie Stewart]

    1920s (& prior)

    Swimsuits have changed a bit since 1915. Photo courtesy Gene & Maggie Verrette.

    This postcard is c.1920s -- 1¢ stamps were in use from 1922-1932.

    Logging c.1910-1920

    Farwell in 1920s

    Lake Station and Perch Lake, 1920s


    Clarence Radewahn was quite a fisherman as a lad in 1939. In the background is the store that was located at Cook’s Landing.

    US-27 in 1930


    Taken on Ray Barber’s boathouse (11500 S Shore) at the first waterski contest starring my brother, Monty Thocker, g’son of N.W. Winn. Pictured: Carl Davidson (10010 Florence Ave), my mother, Clara Thocker, & my g’mother, Bertha Winn (my summer host). – Gwen Tisdale.

    Photo taken in the inner circle at West Beach. Gwen Tisdale and brother Monty were here all summer long with their g’parents N.W. Winn. This property is now [2012] Jim Darland’s home (10100 Florence Ave).

    In the late 40’s and early 50’s, West Beach had a large marina, renting boats and selling bait. This was where the dredged channel is today. Pictured: Lemoyne Coburn, g’daughter of marina co-owner Elmer Atkins, & Gwen Tisdale, about 1952.

    Bobby Barber (cottage at 11500 S Shore) & Gwen Tisdale on his
    horse “Lady” when Barber’s built their first cottage at West Beach. 1948.






    Stopping at "The Store" is a standard part of cottage life.

    2000 - Current

    Unidentified & Date Unknown

    Date unknown. Courtesy michiganrailroads.com




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