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The History of EMMET COUNTY, 1884

Page 137-141



This beautiful bay extends inland from the coast line of Lake Michigan about nine miles, and is six miles broad at its mouth. The water is clear and pure, and contains great quantities of fish. The scenery about the bay is romantic and the whole region is full of legendary interest. Upon the north and south shore are the villages of Harbor Springs and Petoskey, and Harbor Point. Weque-ton-sing and Bay View are famous summer resorts. The beautties of this region have been chanted in prose and verse by numerous writers who have visited the locality and experienced all ecstasy of delight at what they beheld. The Indian name is We-que-ton-sing, meaning a small bay.

One visitor speaking of Little Traverse Bay, says: "Little Traverse Bay has for me an inexhaustible charm. On a cloudless August morning, under a light southwest breeze, the water varies in color, according to depth, from the deepest hornblende to the palest apple-green, and the ripple in the wake of a vessel glitters with emeralds and diamonds. Then there are dreamy days, when the blue mist hangs over the wooded hills that encircle it, and the bay sleeps motionless, like a mirror upturned to the milky sky. sometimes, even in summer, wild and stidtleii squalls ,rise, making, a landing at the Petoskey pier dangerous or even impossible. In the morning everything may be calm and lovely, and before noon the entire bay, with the exception of the snug harbor at Little Traverse village, will be lashed into the wildest commotion. There is an old pier just above the mouth of Bear River, on which I love to stand and feel, as well as see, the lusty breakers chase each other in shore, creating an undertow which would test the skill of the most daring surf bather."

Another visitor writes of the sunsets on the bay, as follows: "The sunsets of the bay are enough to throw an artist's soul into ecstacy. Come with me. Yonder is the Gazelle neat as a daisy, just rounding North Point, coming, in from Mackinac. The ferries are steaming over from Little Traverse, courtesying as they come. The Grand Rapids, a swift propeller from Traverse City, is already in harbor. Tall masted schooners are outlined against the glowing sky, and some laden ships of the fleet come in to cast anchor for the night. Canoes and pleasure yachts, with their singing, chatting crews are on every side. Let us join these and row out midway, for a bird's-eye view of the lovely scene. Sweep with your glance the circle of the hills, and it is one continuous gallery of beantiful pictures. The white line of pebbly beach, the green slope and chalky bluff, then terrace above terrace, -village, farm and forest, until the outlying line of sentinel trees are crowned with the reflective pink and gold of the western world. Nowwhere have I seen such responsive skies. Lakes Huron and Michigan rarely fail to bid each other good night and good morning. Over there, to the north, are dim wreaths of smoke rising clotidward. The practical observer will tell you it is from burning brush in a clearing, but I know it is a council fire lighted by invisible hands, and the spirits of departed braves people the shadows, hidden from unanointed eyes. On bluff and pier and bridge and veranda, are gay groups, come out to see the sunset pictures. South of us, near the beach, amid the evergreens of the old , 'council ground,' are the tents of the Richmond guards. Their silk flags bow gently, and their band discourses most exquisite music. Behind them, the same wooded terraces, broken by the fertile slopes of Old Mission and other farms. Now turn the boat and look to the west---the wide, watery, Iuminous west. See sapphire, and flame, and pearl, and blue, and amethyst ---one dazzling, iridescent arch up to the deep blue of the zenith. Acres of golden refulgence span the horizon, and tinge the forest on either side. Our oars break liquid rubies wherever they strike. The colors change, the shadows deepen, and early lights begin to twinkle out from the villages across the bay. The sun is a ball of fire dropping into the wave, and one brave boat with a single snowy sail goes out in the path of glory as if it might ride---
"Over the sunset bar
Right into heaven."


The resorts of Little Traverse Bay has already become famous as a summer resort. Hither have come religious associations, pleasure seekers, and invalids to enjoy the charming scenery and the health giving atmosphere. Three associations have planted summer villages upon the shores of the bay, viz: Bay View, Weque-ton-sing and Harbor Point, which were established in the order named.


This delightful retreat is a suburb of Petoskey, being located only a short distance from the village. Many features combine to make it a most attractive resort. The land rises from the bay in natural terraces which afford delightful sites for residences. These terraces rise one above the other until the crown of the ampitheatre lifts its giant maples more than 200 feet above the level of the lake. High up, in a hill side, is Pisgah Spring, from which water is carried in pipes to the villas below. The grounds are handsomely laid out in building lots and numerous parks, and the avenues wind and circle in graceful curves. There is a railroad depot with express and telegraph offices, and a dock at which all boats touch.

Sometime in September, 1875, the citizens of Petoskey first learned that the Methodists of Michigan were desirous of selecting a site somewhere in the state, for the purpose of holding annual camp meetings, and also to make a summer resort. Soon after a committee, consisting of ten leading members of the M. E. Church, from different parts of the state, were appointed to select a suitable site for this purpose, and in November of that year, this committee decided on locating at Bay View, at that time a dense forest. The land was then owned by a number of individuals, but Petoskey people, well knew what an advantage it would be to this place to have a state camp ground permanently located here, at once took hold of the matter, and by liberal donations on the part of citizens, enough money was raised by subscription to purchase the land, the price paid being nearly $3,000, the tract comprising 330 acres. The G.R. & I. R. R. Co. agreed to furnish money to buy this land., providing payment for so doing would be guaranteed, which was done by a few leading citizens, and as fast as the money was collected in on subscription it was paid over to the company.

W. G. Hillman, of the land department of the G. R. & I. R. R. Co., first selected the site chosen, and to this gentleman, H. 0. Rose, Abner S. Lee, Archie McMillan, and a number of our leading citizens, is due much credit for the part they performed in establishing this institution. The railroad company did much toward furthering this project. It was first deeded to J. M. Matheney, and by him to the Michigtn State Camp Ground Association of the M. E. Church. By the conditions of this deed the association agree to hold all annual camp meeting on these grounds, for fifteen successive years, and during that time to expend in erecting cottages, laying out streets, parks, grading, and in other ways improving the grounds, not less than $10,000. If these conditions are complied with, at the expiration of fifteen years the association will then hold the land in fee simple. If at any time, however, within this period, the association elect, by the payment of $4,000 the land becomes their own, the same as if the above conditions were complied with.

In 1876, the
Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was extended to that point, and the first meeings were held on the grounds. The first commenced on Tuesday, August 1st. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. E. H. Pilcher, president of the assocaition. The number of cottages has increased until a good sized village had grown out of the enterprise. During the winter silence reigns and the place has the appearance of a deserted city, but in the summer the cottages are filled and life and activity throng the place.


One of the most unique and interesting objects to be seen t the Bay View camp ground is the rustic pulpit made by Ralph Connable, now postmaster, and presented by him to the camp meeting association. Mr. Connable had been a great sufferer from asthma, and in 1877 came to Petoskey from Jackson to try the effect of this climate upon his malady. Soon after coming here he was restored to comparative health, and decided to remain permanently. Being deeply interested in religious matters and a member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, his interest was enlisted in the success of the camp meeting association at Bay View, and he conceived the idea of constructing a rustic pulpit for the speakers' stand. After diligent searching he found it birch tree about a foot in diameter with a smaller hemlock tree growing upon each side, with their roots grown together and firmly interlaced. These trees, when cut off at a suitable distance from the ground, were suitably fashioned for a pulpit-stand, with lamp or flower stands at each side, the roots bracing the stands so firmly that no joints or additional work was necessary. The surface was finished, and the tops improved by rustic, trimmings, so that when completed it presented a beautiful and unique appearance. The design is perfect, and being of natural formation is an interesting curiosity. During the exercises upon the grounds in the summer of 1878, Mr. Connable made a formal presentation of this gift to the association, and Rev. S. Reed received it with a suitable response on behalf of the association. In style it conforms to the surroundings, and as an altar of Christian worship it expresses the devout gratitude of the donor to the Great Giver of good for his restoration to health. WE-QUE-TON-SING

This resort is located on the north side of Little Traverse Bay, about three-fourths of a mile east of Harbor Springs. It comprises eighty acres of land, donated to the association by the citizens of Harbor Springs. Half of the track lies about twenty feet above the water, the remainder being an elevated plateau, nearly one hundred feet above the level of the bay.

In the summer of 1877 Revs. McCord, of Allegan, and Essex, of Elkhart, visited all the points along Grand Traverse and Little Traverse Bays with the idea of selecting a location for the establishment of a resort wheree worn-out and sweltering humanity could repair to recover health and enjoy rational recreations.

After an impartial surbey of all points, they decided that Little Traverse possessed greater attractions than any other place, and so reported to the synod which met that fall. In accordance with this report it was decided at a meeting held in Elkhart in the fall of 1877 to umpt the gift of the citizens of Harbor Springs of eighty acres of land situated on the harbor shore. An association was then and there formed for the purpose of improving the grounds and selling or leasing lots to parties, desiring to put up cottages.

In the spring of 1878 work began on the grounds, numerous lots were sold, and a large boarding-house erected. July 17, 1878, the grounds were formally dedicated, Hon. Schuyler Colfax delivering his famous address on Abraham Lincoln. The organization was not fully completed until the summer of 1876. August 6th a business meeting was held and L. H. Trask elected president; H. H. Pope, secretary; H. H. Dennis, treasurer. Streets have been laid out, and a number of cottages erected.

The Indian name of this place was Wa-ba-bi-kang, meaning a white gravelly shore. The association evidently did not consider this as musical as the one adopted.


Harbor Point is on the opposite side of Harbor Springs from We-que-ton-sing. It adjoins the village of Harbor Springs, and comprises some fifty acres, jutting out into the bay for a mile, being sixty rods in width at the base, and narrowing gradually to a few rods in width at the apex in the bay. The land is high and rolling, and is covered with a fine growth of beautiful young trees, forming a park which for natural beauty is rarely excelled. On either side the beach is covered with clean white sand, and gently slopes to the water's edge. On one side the water is quiet, and for many feet from the shore is shallow, thus affording excellent facilities for boating and still bathing. On the other side a beautiful surf is almost incessantly rolling, formed by a full sweep from the clear and sparkling waters of the lake as they roll into the bay, and here is surf bathing unsurpassed anywhere unless it be at some of the favorite ocean resorts.

This long and narrow wooded peninsula extending into the bay completely wards off the wind and storm from the north side, thus constituting the safest and most capacious harbor on the lakes. A vessel once ensconced under the lee of this protecting point, is absolutely safe, not only from the elements, but there are neither shoals or treacherous rocks to be shunned, as the bottom of the bay away from the shore is a bed of limestone, the water being of a uniform depth of fifty or sixty feet, and in numerous places 100 feet.

The fanciful Indian legend of how a portion of this peninsula was once an island, and afterward became united to the mainland is given in the history of Harbor Springs. It is probably fact that the entire point is the result of the action of wind and wave, and the same forces the at work building on little by little every year.

This resort is sometimes called the Lansing resort, and its location came about as follows: In August, 1878, a party of Lansing people visited the spot and camped out. They were so delighted with the location and the many advantages it possessed, that before they left they began making arrangements for the purchase of the point, of Rev. Father Weicamp, of Cross Village, the owner of the land. They were successful in their negotiations, and proceeded with the necessary steps of establishing a permanent resort. August 28, 1878, it stock company was organized under the statute for park associations, and the first officers were as follows: President, B. F. Simons; secretary, N. B. Jones; treasurer, Eugene Angell. The original number of stockholders was nineteen, and the capital stock $2,500, but so popular did the resort become that the capital stock was subsequently increased to $10,000, of which each stockholder holds $100. The grounds were laid out with winding walks and drives, and the underbrush cleared away. A hotel, dock, boat, and bath houses, etc., were built, and each year improvements have been added and new cottages erected.


The Western Hay Fever Association has its headquarters at Petoskey. The association was organized September 5, 1882, and designated Petoskey as the most favorable resort for hay fever sufferers. Members of the association, however, stop at various points on Little Traverse Bay. The officers of the association in 1884 are as follows: president, Col. Lorenzo James, Montgomery, Ala.; vice-president, Col. J. A. Andrews, Cincinnati, Ohio; secretary, A. Kephart, Berrien, Mich.; treasurer, F. J. Belknap, Petoskey, Mich.


A station of the above name on the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, is a place of considerable prospective importance on account of its location, being situated very near the geographical center of the county. The place was founded by William H. Pells, of Paxton, Ill., and the founder of that place. Mr. Pells was born at Poughkeepsie, N Y., in the year 1813. At fourteen years of age he went to western New York, and for many years was the principal business man at Ridgeway Corners, Orleans County. At this point he carried on an extensive and prosperous business, and became largely interested in real estate operations. In 1872 he went to Ford County, Ill., and founded the village of Paxton. In 1876 he purchased 13,000 acres of land centrally located in Emmet County, and began selling to settlers. During the first year about 1,500 acres were sold in this way.

In 1882 the railroad was extended to the Straits, and in September of that year he laid out a village on the line of the road and in the centre of his tract he built a boardng-house and hotel, and soon after a store and other interests followed. There are two mills, postoffice, and the usual buildings that form the nucleus of a village. The mills belong to Shepard & Jennings, and John Wachtel is postmaster. Mr. Pells is giving his attention to promoting the interests of his village, and in inducing settlers to locate upon his land. Pellston is in the newly organized town of Egleston, and its prospects for the future are exceedingly promising.


Brutus was the pioneer project of what is now Maple River Township. It would have been the name of the village had the village grown, but a hotel and postoffice were the most important interests that centered at that point. The site was located upon the northeast quarter of Section 23, Town 36 north, of Range 4 West, where the Little Traverse and Cheboygan state road crossed. Maple River, eighteen miles distant from Petoskey. The founders were A. S. Lee and D. R. Sherman. Early in September, 1874, Mr. Lee cut the first tree upon the site, and shortly after a hotel was built, and named the , 13riittis House." The nearest white settler at that time was nine miles distant. That fall a postoffice was established, and Mr. Lee appointed postmaster. The following year Mr. Lee removed to Petoskey, and a year later Mr. Sherman removed from the county. When the railroad was extended north it passed one and one-half miles to the west of Brutus and the postoffice was removed to the line of the road.

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