Was Paul Bunyan Ever in Baldwin?

During my visits to my grandparents farm in the 1950’s, I seem to recall a Paul Bunyan Museum on the outskirts of Baldwin. As you all know, when one gets older, memory sometimes plays tricks on you but I can’t help but recall a large Paul Bunyan figurine before we got to Baldwin on Michigan 37. Perhaps it wasn’t a museum but something else? Anyone else recall this figure in the 1950’s?

I don’t think Babe was a part of this package as I sure can’t remember a blue bull and that is something that might be hard to forget.  By the way, this photograph is NOT the Baldwin one but a picture I found to make the point. 

I do have one thing in common with Bunyan as our shoe size is similar to that of his.  I’d sure like some confirmation as to whether or not anyone else remembers this Paul Bunyan figurine.  Let me know by way of a comment.

Big Bass Lake in 1950’s

in the late 1950s, the road from our property to the Big Bass Lake store was a dirt road. And it was not as straight as it is now. Just before the road to the Big Island, the Road skirted around the Quagmire swamp. It was about a mile walk. When I took that walk with my dad he would go to the old Na-Tah-Ka Tavern for a drink while sending me to the store for a squirt soft drink. The Tavern in those days was a long cabin that was very dark inside. It sat kitty corner across from the Big Bass Lake store. That is when Otto Bartlett owned the store. Those were the days. A few years later and that road was paved between the store and our property. Nothing is forever.

Is It Bear Swamp or Duck Marsh?


My grandmother used to call this area, Bear Swamp, but today its known as Duck Marsh. Over the course of time many natural areas have their names changed. Both the tiny island on Big Bass Lake and the second smallest island have undergone name changes over the years. Whatever the name, along the road to Free Soil, there is about a mile long area that is swampy on both sides of the road. It is errie when a fog is over it and not the place to be at night.

In my grandmother’s day bears roamed the swampland and the surrounding forest. And they are making a comeback today as numerous bear sightings have been made not only in the Duck Marsh area, but also around Big Bass Lake. When their natural food is short they go for human areas of habitation to root out their garbage.

South of this area is another protracted area of swampland that runs north of the Bloody Antler Trail and into this very location. I would hazard to say that quagmire is beneath the waters of Duck Marsh. Thus this may be an area to get pictures of but I wouldn’t want to venture into this waters by foot.

Great View of Big Bass Lake

How’d you like this view every day in the morning at Big Bass Lake? You’re looking at the section between the Haunted Island to your left and the Big Island on your right leading toward the north side of the lake. That is the direction that speedboats take so as not to have collisions.

But what a view to behold on your own deck as you enjoy a hot breakfast or a cold lunch. It’s a ringside seat to some great water skiing action or even some tubing. An occassional jet ski may even pass by.

One might even think you could cast a line off that deck that could reach the lake for some easy time fishing. Yes, one could well be spoiled by a view like this every day. But it would well be worth it!

Why Are People on Big Bass Lake Building These Kinds of Homes If They Want to Get Away From The City?

I have featured this home before on BBL & Beyond but I do so again for emphasis as its asking price is $749,000! Why are people building homes like this over that of simple cottages if they want to get away from the cities? This house can accomodate up to twenty people!

One reason given for the closing of Camp Martin Johnson, where this house is located, was the high property taxes on the lake and a house like this would really have high taxes. How about this one?

This home was built on our former property and its going for $498,000! It comes with an eight car garage. It can’t be more than ten years old! I also think a problem is adequate well water that might be hard to find. Here’s a more modest mansion-

This home on Homestead Circle is only going for $300,000 and is not quite as large as the other two homes. Still larger than most regular cottages that dot Big Bass Lake. Here is another home with that same price tag on North Matson Road-

This home has plenty of yard space for children. But who can afford children with this kind of house? Lastly, we have a rather familiar building to most of those on Big Bass Lake and its asking price is far less than most of these homes at a mere $150,000.

Yes, its the old Big Bass Lake Store but the building itself is in very bad shape and it would almost have to be totally rebuilt for adequate living. It would also be sad to see this landmark building on Big Bass lake be turned into a residence again. I say again because long time residents will know that it originally served not only as a store, but the living home of Otto and Ruth Bartlett.

Yes, if you build it, they will come to buy and then resell it IF they can!

Now I know where Fountain is

once when I went driving without Mike, I got lost and came about this town. It’s known as Fountain Michigan. I was looking for the farmers market near Free Soil but must have taken a wrong turn or two. As long as I was here I stopped off at Phillips 66 for gas and had a pop. I also picked up a map of the area and asked for directions back to Michigan 31. The manager of the gas station was very courteous and helpful. All in all. Despite getting off track, Fountain was a pleasant diversion. Am I finally did get to the farmer’s market