DAYS GONE BY: 'Floating over the waters in Lake County,' part 2

By Jane Allison

Lake County Historical Society member
  Editors note: This article is part of Days Gone By, in which members of the Lake County Historical Society share stories of Lake County’s rich history. The articles will appear every other week in the Lake County Star. The Lake County Historical Society office and museum are located at 830 N. Michigan Ave. in Baldwin. Its mailing address is 830 N. Michigan Ave., P.O. Box 774, Baldwin, Mich. 49304. Harold C. Allison was a veteran of WWI, WWII and the Korean Conflict. Throughout his lifetime he was an owner and operator of a Baldwin theater, lumber yard and museum. An avid adventurer, glass blower, history buff and circus aficionado, he was also a collector of fulgurites, Indian arrowheads and Petoskey stones.He established his own printing business called the Paul Bunyan Press. One of the numerous booklets he wrote was entitled, “Floating Over The Waters In Lake County.” In this booklet, Allison describes a few of Lake County’s 156 lakes, rivers and streams. This is the second part of a two-part series, and the following are excerpts from this booklet:  

Big Star Lake

Lake Township, Sections 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 The largest body of water in the county is Big Star Lake. A nine mile black top road runs entirely around the lake, and if you drive slowly enough you might notice a wild turkey or a deer. A road from the pavement is still named Fire Tower Drive but the wooden tower manned by Michigan state employees is no longer there. The tower was familiar to local teenagers who wanted to get up in the world.  

Chain O’ Lakes

Lake Township, Sections 15 ,16, 21, 22, 23 Chain O’ Lake is a group of lakes surrounded by hundreds of cottages. At one time cranberries could be found in the bogs and marshes around the lakes. In a favorable season blueberries are abundant.  

Bowman Lake

Lake Township, Section 3 Formerly called Little Perch Lake, this lake is at Evergreen Road and 56th Street. Around the lake are marked foot trails as well as several miles of unmarked trails. The geologist tell us that the depressions near Bowman Lake were formed by the glaciers which overran Michigan thousands of years ago. There have been no reported sightings of mermaids at Bowman Lake for the past 10 years.  

Nugent Lake

Sweetwater Township, Section 25 Once called Lincoln Lake, in the winter Nugent Lake has 48 acres of ice. There was a young lady from Nugent Lake Who really wanted to skate. She got on her feet Went down in defeat And bruised her own little seat. Note: Please do not read this nonsense if it is habit forming or injurious to your health.  

Hamlin-Townsend Lake

Webber Township, Sections 32, 33 Pleasant Plains Township, Sections 4, 5 Nestled among the hills are these two lakes. The Townsend family lived near the north lake and the Hamlin family lived near the end of the cemetery road, a mile west of Baldwin.  

Pere Marquette River

With the tributaries it runs to the west across Lake County. As I tried to fish the old P.M. My line was crossed from stern to stem Of canoe With various hues A score or more They made me sore. Note: If you ever see any worse verse than the above, call the sheriff.  

Big Bass Lake

Elk Township, Section 27, 33, 34 Sauble Township , Section 3, 4 Much of the land around this lake was given by the government to the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad Co. and they in turn to their attorney Wm. L. Webber to sell in smaller parcels. After 1876, the Stronach Lumber Company of Manistee lumbered off much of the forest surrounding the lake. The first farm in the neighborhood was cleared by the Karrol family on Section 33. In 1909, the Lake Region Telephone Co. was organized for service around the lake. It was joined at Peacock by the Citizens Phone Company from Luther and in 1953 Michigan Bell.  

Harper Lake

Elk Township Section 10, 15 There are more lakes in Elk Township than in any other township in the county. Cherry Valley is the only township without any lakes. Harper Lake is in the valley of the Little Manistee River and has a surface area of 76 acres.