The New Year in Lake County 50 years ago

LAKE COUNTY — The year was 1973, and it seems unreal that it was a half-century ago. In the dawning of 1973, the old issues of the Lake County Star gives a glimpse of some of the things going on around the county. 

Some of the readers may doubtlessly recall these happenings in their memories. 

The New Year began with tossing out the old — with a Christmas tree pickup in Baldwin. People were encouraged to place their old trees by the curb for the Jaycees to collect. 

Idlewild Lot Owners brought in the new year in a festive way. 

"The New Year's party was a grand affair with guests coming from all areas," printed Dec. 4, 1973 in an edition of the Star.

Some of the people in attendance were William Johnson, of Columbus, Ohio; Mary Ellen Wilson, of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Jess Upton, guests of Arthur Lee; and Willie Hill. 

"Mrs. Ruth Young and her committee served a delicious repast at the party. All present wishes everyone a happy New Year," the article continued.

The New Year was an exciting one for local snowmobile enthusiasts. The Snowmobile Club moved forward with a new vision of the club being concerned more with activities that benefit the members themselves and pull away from the service club status of the past.

An activity committee was formed and new officers also elected, with president Dwayne Famer, vice president Charles Cole, and treasurer, Anne Leege. 

Their vision must have paid off, because it is said by locals that in 1973, Lake County was known to be the snowmobile capital of Michigan. 

Baldwin Elementary welcomed a new principal, Clita R. Anderson. 

"Mrs. Anderson becomes the first full-time black administrator in the school system (although Mr. Al Nichols has been assistant high school principal in addition to teaching duties) and has a large and varied educational background on which to draw in her duties as head of the elementary grades," a Star article read. 

The new year was a victorious one for the Baldwin Panthers, who defeated Leelanau St. Mary's during the Traverse City Holiday Tournament, placing the Panthers in the championship game against the Traverse City St. Francis team. 

Some of the young ladies of Lake County (ages 16-21) were signing up to be Sno-In Queen, for the "Sno In" event in Baldwin which was scheduled for later January, to celebrate winter and snowmobiling. The event also was geared toward merchants getting a boost through the winter season, as the county's economy (then and now) largely relies on recreation and tourism. 

Three students were recognized for making the Honors List at Ferris State University, then called Ferris State College, Michael Doty and Darci Wallace, of Baldwin, and John Allen, of Luther. 

Fifty years later, a lot has changed in the world, but in the small tight-knit communities of Lake County, time moves differently — a little less fast-paced, a little more oriented toward family and community and the boundless opportunities in the nature setting.