This is something I never got to physically see. Before I left for the Salesian Boys CLub, the Marion Club had begun a capital fund drive to get this gymnasium. The reason it looks in such bad shape was due to a flood in 1988 that destroyed the electrical system. The club then moved to its newer facility. I wished they had repaired this club and left it as an extension for the main club.
Grant’s Resort is located on the north side of Big Bass Lake in close proximity to where the Dinty Moore Resort one stood. It is opened year-round and has three cottages for rent.
Being on Big Bass Lake means it’s easy to swim and fish right from the docks. They have row boats and kayaks available, and you can bring your own boats and jet skis. Tether them in the water right in front of your cabin after launching them from the lake’s public boat launch just a mile down the road. That was right next to our former property just to he west.
They also have a fire-pit ready for cookouts and s’mores. Being out there at night brings a whole new meaning to the word wonderous especially if the moon is fully out. I will have more on this resort tomorrow including the rates.
You can almost hear the heartbeat of Haunted Island tonight. It feels so close to me this evening. Its almost like I could reach out my hand and touch it. It’s pitch dark now but the silhouette of the island is always there to see like a black knight upon his noble steed.
it appears a little foreboding tonight but it’s quiet as ever out there. You can almost hear a pine needle dropping from one of its majestic trees. What are your memories of Haunted Island?
This was our annual vacation resort for years – relatives still return each year.
My grandfather came here as a child, so did my dad, so did we.
This is some of what I remember from the last 50 years …
A quiet lake and beautiful surrounding, but sand everywhere.
Cabins before they had hot water or heat
The YMCA camp and hearing Day is Done played every night
Seeing the amazing, beautiful stars; like the milky way and southern lights while fishing at night
That Otto lived in the house next to the Realty Place, next to the store
That Dinty Moore lived in a house on the lake in the summer and drove to Florida for the winters
The Benders owned/operated the Na-Tah-KA
The roller skating rink on Loon Lake that lit up the area on Friday nights
Spiders as big as the center line in the street
The fish bait place past Otto’s (to get minnows you used for catching large pike-like my little sister caught on her bamboo pole)
Martin Cass’s cabins and the fish head tree that was next to the Bass Lake Store
Crappies were everywhere and easily caught
Leaded gas pumps on the dock at the store
It is nice to remember some things about the good old days. Marsha
Oh My Goodness, people! This is fabulous. I have been coming to BBL since I was born in 1952. My grandparents were Jack and Carrie (Matson) Woolsey…so yep, I’m one of those Matson’s…sort of!!! Everything that you’re all talking about ignites a spot in my heart….and I’m looking out at the lake as we speak!!!! It’s cloudy and rainy and we are expecting snow on Sunday!! I am one of the fortunate ones whose dream came true and I live here now all the time.
The roller rink, Mr. Cass, BBL Store (which is still vacant and crumbling) was also owned by my grandma and grandpa for a little while! The Fun Spot. I sure wish it was here now because I bowl with the ladies on Tuesday’s and we have to go all the way to Baldwin.
Grandma and Grandpa Woolsey used to rent cottages on the SE end of the lake. I don’t know the years, only that it was a long time ago. My Mother, Winnifred (Woolsey) Larkin and her sister Suzanne (Woolsey) Aupperlee inherited the cottages. Suzanne is alive and well and lives here full time. She will be 88 in December and still bowling!! My Mom, Winnifred, passed away in 1994 (as did my Dad) and I inherited their place. In 1995, I sold Mother’s place to my cousin, Karen Aupperlee, and we built the little red cottage next door to it. Trying hard to keep it “all in the family”.
I too was broken hearted with the sale of CMJ and the public access coming in. I would still lead a raid to blow it up, if any of you are willing!!!! (Kidding of course.)
The loons are still my favorite thing. We have geese and sand hill cranes too. Can’t forget Henry the blue heron. All such warm spots in my heart from growing up here.
I specifically remember a time when a Matson cousin and I decided to travel the channel to LBL. We had our V-bottom boat and no mosquito spray. (We did have lunch, I think.) It took us ALL day to get over there!!! Then, I remember being freaked out about all the octopus all over the bottom of the shallow part by the opening….of course they were tree stumps, but what did we know?
Does anyone remember when Natalie Cole was a counselor at CMJ and her famous Dad, Nat King Cole visited her? I know that he sang over the PA system, and I thought it was the “Lord’s Prayer,” but I don’t know for sure. I loved listening to taps every night and I loved waving to all the kids on the 7 or 8 busses when they were coming to or going home from camp!!!!
Martin Johnson’s house has been moved to Skinner Park in Irons and is a museum. Talk about memories…we all went into it through the basement and oohed and ahhed over the paintings and taxidermies things. We never ever hurt or took anything, but others did. Almost all if it is gone, but the museum has many articles that are, at least, of the same time period!!!
I have to stop talking! I could go on forever…I have letters that I sent to my folks from a trip out west in 1969 (I was 17). I told them horridly about all that we were doing and seeing, but the last several lines were about BBL. Can we please go up the minute we get back, what boys have stopped over while I’ve been gone, what’s everybody been doing? Mostly…how soon are we going up North after I get home???? It certainly is the most unforgettable place I’ve ever known!!!! Pisha Larkin Bishop
Thanks Dave! Great pictures! Great memories. !
My aunt & uncles cottage is near the old Peacock Resort. At the time it was run by Lori Wack and her partner Rosie. They had a farm there as well and cared for injured wildlife. My brothers & I were regular visitors over there. We loved hanging around with Lori & Rosie and all of the animals. It is kind of funny. Through all of the posts I have read I haven’t seen any mention of John Ruby. He owned so much of the property up there at the time. The farm across from the Bartletts store belonged to Ruby as well. Judy Disclafani – Rosenblum
Well, my first day at BBL was when I was 2 days old, according to my mom. I am now 14, and have been up to the lake almost every weekend, my whole life! My grandpa, Burton Jones, owned the Homestead Resort, and the lake has been home to my family since forever. I love coming to the lake from the city every week and seeing everybody. I’ll never forget all my time I have spent with my mom and aunts swimming and boating on the lake. Century rides are always a treat, and of course, the best! (: And all the fun time spent at Baldiga’s cabin, with all the “toys”. BBL, is and will always be home for me. Taylor Jones
I have been coming to BigBassLakesince I was born also. That was 1946! My mom and her family moved to this area in the early 1900′s. My grandparents were Herschel and Gertrude Stephens. They lived on several different lakes in the area, and finally settled into the Barr house on LoonLake. It was a boarding house back then and my grandparents ran it. It was located where the trailer park is now on LoonLake. My grandpa acted as a fishing guide and grandma was the cook and cleaning lady. My mom, Naomi, attended BassLakeSchoolwith Otto Bartlett, Clyde Waite, Frank Bemish and Mandy Evans. At the age of 12, she actually substitute taught school for Mable Barr who was the teacher back then. The Stephens family eventually moved to LakeOdessawhere after graduating WesternMichiganNormal school, she started teaching in a rural country school where she met my dad, Wilbur Neeb. When she and my dad married in 1931, my grandparents brought them to BBL for a Sunday picnic. My dad, an avid fisherman, fell in love with BBL and vowed to one day have a home here.
For many years we stayed at the Buesinger’s little log cottage with the screened front porch, at the far north end of BBL. It is now painted dark brown. The white cottage to the left of it was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Buesinger. When we stayed there it still had an ice box rather than a refrigerator! That place had the best beach and clean water for swimming. The Buesingers were wonderful people that made me feel like one of their own grandchildren. We had some really great fish fries for supper with huge bluegills my dad caught on BBL. He would row all over the lake all the way to Otto’s store and back. I don’t even remember speed boats back in those days on this lake.
Some weekends we would rent the lot next door to Otto’s store and either stay in a tent or just sleep in the car. We would also rent a boat from Otto. In those days I would save my small allowance and buy a movie magazine and possibly a small ceramic nic nac or a picture post card from Otto, Ruth, Dixie or Bruce. They were all so nice and friendly. Dixie Bartlett was my idea of a perfect, beautiful woman. When Clyde Waite started developing the “Isle o’ the Wilds” my mom and dad bought a lot from him and hired him to build a home on the lot after they cleared the land. It was completed in 1954 and it is now my husband’s and my retirement home. We do spend our winters in Florida, but Big Bass Lake is always in our hearts and we continue spending our summers here. It is the best place in the world and the only thing that would make it better is to have the public launch site close and the camp re-open! A new Fun Spot would be most welcome also. That’s where I learned to bowl and Loon Lake Roller Pavilion is where I tried but never learned to roller skate. Also remember attending the Hunter’s Ball there a few times.
Luke’s Corner Store was another wonderland of enchantment. You could always find anything and everything you could possibly need at that store. They even had a paperback lending library for a time.
John Wilson’s Bass Lake Store was great because of those awesome cinnamon rolls and the hand-dipped ice cream cones which John hated to dip. My husband Jim always planned his ice cream cone purchase to time with when John was in the store by himself and had to dip the cone! So many wonderful memories! Patricia McArthur
Wow, it was fun reading this, my parents purchased one of the cottages that was part of the Old Homestead Resort in 1960 and it has been in the family ever since. I remember the camp, the roller rink and the fun spot. I spent many a weekend there. I can remember raiding the YMCA camp a couple times a year as a teen. I remember Luke’s corner, we used to walk up there all of the time – I think it was a relief for our parents to get rid of us for awhile.
I’ve been told by the previous owners, the Jones Family, who have a rich history in the area that President Ford and his family used to stay in our cottage (of course, this was a long, long time ago. Cheri Spencer
LOL I remember the “Fun Spot” too, it was a “fun Spot” for myself and my friends in the mid 60’s to go. We lived in Freesoil and there wasn’t much there so we would beg a ride from our neighbor, who was 14 with no drivers license who drove us over to Irons in his dads truck and we would skate and just hang out over there. I actually did move to Irons, on Midget lake, on 12 mile (county line rd) after I retired and only moved to CA because of the weather, I just can’t take Michwinters anymore! LOL Patrick
I used to visit both the Fun Spot and the Loon Lake Pavilion in the early 70’s too when staying with family friends on LoonLake. In 1986 my husband and I bought a small cottage on LoonLakeand are now building a new home there. The Fun Spot was still around but the Loon Lake Pavilion was gone. I wish my kids could have skated there! It’s nice to read the history of the Loon & BigBassLakesarea. Mary Anne Nugent
Also, remember the Loon Lake Roller Skating Pavilion around the corner from Na-Tah-Kah? Would also love to get some pictures of that place. I used to visit the Fun Spot a lot as a kid. It closed I believe in the late 70’s. Ditto on the photographs. I have been searching high and low for them. Michelle Olmstead
My family (my dad, 2 aunts with spouses and 2 uncles with spouses) started rented from Mr. Kass next to the store in the fifties and sixties. Later from Dinty Moore and countless others until the late seventies. I continued going from the eighties until present. My nephew and his family will rent from John Baldiga, August 18-22. I remember the Brown twins and of coarse Jon Holmes skiing at dusk. I learned to roller skate there. I remember Stu at the camp. My sister Hazel and her girlfriend Carol were their age and always looked forward to seeing them; The Fongers from SpringLakehad a cottage there. We live in SpringLakeand even though I grew up here, the lake is no comparison to BBL. Alan Garter
I was just searching the web to see if I could find pictures of Big Bass Lake & Irons to show my husband. He hears all of the stories about all the good time we has growing up and going to my aunt & uncles cottage on BigBassLake. I have not been back there for a while though my family still does and they still have the same cottage. My cousin Dave Waters moved up there to Irons. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago. I remember taking a row boat up to Ottos store and passing under the bridge. We also took drinks of water from the pump outside the store and everyone drank from the same tin cup that was attached to the pump on a string. I used to love the hamburgers from Na Ta Kah’s. I also learned to skate and the skating rink there. I remember the neon lights that surrounded the eves of the roofs off both the general store and the rink. I have so many memories…. One that sticks out was a young boy fishing on the lake got a fishing hook in his finger. He was out there by himself and crying. My dad rowed out to him and got the hook out. Years later my father broke down on the road and two young men pulled up to help him. My dad tried to give them some money and the guys said no that’s ok. My dad then asked their names. The one had a name ( Can’t remember) that caught my dads attention. My dad said I took a hook out of a little boy’s finger one time that had the same name. The guy then finished my dad’s sentence telling him exactly on the lake where it was and that it was him who had the hook in his finger. He again thanked my dad for taking care of him that day. One day I will take my husband so he can see. Judy Disclafani – Rosenblum
My own history of Loon Lake Skating Rink was that my uncle Al Dumas had a band that played there in probably the 1930’s. My uncle Everett played the banjo. I would assume this was on weekends. My husband says it was a dance place at that time. Shar Bartlett
I worked at CMJ 1956-1961 as counselor, water ski instructor, and out of camp director. Jerry Broadway was our boss. The best boss I had my entire life. How could anyone forget the Loon Lake Roller Rink and Big Bass Lake Store? We use to take our campers to both places as activates. After hours, the camp staff not on duty use to go there for great fun and roller skating. The gals from all around including BassLakeand WolfLakeuse to show up in their short shorts. We all learned the Congo, two step, and couples skate. What fun. Bay Andreas
My husband Bruce worked with his Dad Otto and Mom Ruth at the Bass Lake Store that Otto built in the 1920’s. The couple lived in an apartment that was then part of the little store. Ottos father Robert Henry Bartlett and his wife Abbie owned a grocery store in Peacock, MI His Aunt Katie Bartlett ran a hotel and restaurant also in Peacock. Edwin one of Robert’s brothers owned a sawmill on the SableRiver, which was later sold to Zahn Tuckey’s son. Shar Bartlett
MY FATHER STARTED BRINGING OUR FAMILY TO BIG BASSLAKEINTHE FIFTIES. MY FONDEST MEMORIES ARE OF THE STORE AND ROLLER RINK. WE FIRST STARTED RENTING FROM MR CASS NEXT TO THE STORE. MY FATHER WOULD BRING AN INFLATABLE APPLE AND HANG IT FROM THE TREE TO LET FAMILY AND FRIENDS KNOW WE WERE THERE. MADE MANY FRIENDS OVER THE YEARS (MY MOTHER AND FATHER WOULD VISIT THE HARTS OFTEN, MANY TIMES IN GRAND HAVEN ON THEIR WAY TO THE COTTAGE ) I REMEMBER THE TWIN BOYS RON AND DON BROWN AND THE BALDIGAS AND JOHN HOLMES BAREFOOT SKIING IN THE EVENING WHAT A SHOW!!! THE ROLLER RINK WAS MY FAVORITE. Alan Garter
I remember Otto Bartlet. When I was just a little girl, we would go to the store quite often. My sister, Doris Ault,[called Dodo] was a friend of Dixies.We stayed summers with my grandparents John and Gertrude Matson on the lake. Dorispassed away a year ago. But before she died she told me that she had talked to Dixiea couple of years earlier. Bruce and Dixiewere a little younger than me. I remember the roller rink also. I was married in 1949; we came up to my grandma’s cottage on our honeymoon. We purchased a little Brownie camera from Otto’s store to take pictures. We paid $4.98 for the camera, which we still have. We retired on BigBassLake25 years ago and live next door to my grandma’s cottage. Of course grandma is gone now but she lived to be 105 years old. Barbara Ault Hart
I go back a very, very long way. Back to the 1950’s, (Otto – white Mustache and all). I remember Otto turning the crank on a 55 gallon barrel to deliver pre-mixed 2 cycle fuel for our 1/4 HP Evenrude outboard. (You could row faster than that thing would propel that old row boat). )
Sure wish the environmental could be solved/resolved. What a shame that that piece of history is languishing. The last time I was there back in the 1990’s the Bass Lake Store was still open.
Hello to the Fords, and to the people that still remember Burton Jones who owned the Old Homestead Resort. We stayed at Cabin #10 for about
Fifteen years or more during the 1950′ and 1960’s. We would walk down the road to “Lukes” for a Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer. I wanted to live there onBigBassLakefor the rest of my life.
Those were, truly the days! Fondly remembering “Chip” and the wonderful times we had. Fred Gilbert
I just learned about this web sit and appreciate all the hard work that has gone into this site. I am the great grandson of John and Gertrude Matson of the John Matson resort, descendants of Anton Matson. My mother Barbara Hart has been doing genealogy on the Matsons and bass lake for years. I have been at the lake since 1954 and remember waking up every morning by the bugle from camp Martin Johnson. What a great place to grow up. Don Hart
This is so interesting. My grandma lives on big bass and loves genealogy. I am somehow related to the Matson’s. Oh my grandma would love to see this so much I’m going to tell her about it. Lauren
WOW its great remembering all the fun on BigBassLakemy family at a cottage on the North West sideof the lake up the hill from the Jones’s place. Unfortunately I have only been back a couple times in the last 20 years but I am going back this summer. My cousin and I would spend 2 weeks every summer with my grandparents and walk all the way from our place by Lukes to BigBassLakestore just to call home to our parents. On one of my return visits about 8 years ago I stopped by the old cottage and the new owners were there while talking to them they started asking me about hand prints in the concrete retaining wall and this block of cement that they had kept with two hand prints in it, the block had my hand print in it from when I was about 8 I am 42 know and it is in my landscape. Mike Roskamp
I too have many wonder full memories of the skating rink. Its smells (usually of the family of skunks under it, but it was all good) the music, the lights reflecting off the lake, not to mention the sounds of the bullfrogs on the walk home. And yes the fun spot, going there was a treat as well as the homemade ice cream at SaubleLakestore. Those were the days. Anne Kemp
Oh, I remember the Loon Lake Pavilion skating rink. I only went there once – couldn’t skate. But I loved listening to the music from across the lake sitting on and aunt & uncle’s deck. Long time ago. I still can’t skate. But I sure have fond memories of the area. Cindy vanderPeyl
It stands to reason that if you have a fantastic ski resort in the Winter, you might want something in the warmer months. The Caferfae Golf Resort, nestled in the Manistee National Forest, is your answer featuring a prestige 18 hole championship course. And then our resort serves both seasons with A-1 service. In just a few short months you’ll be looking down at scenery like this!
On a trip to Shanty Falls in Wabash the boys decided to take a shower under the falls against my better judgement. I chose to watch them and standby in case anything went wrong. The kids had a ball and on our way home we hiked up to the top of the falls and walked along the shoreline on our way back. All of a sudden the kids faces turned to horror. They observe three cows going to the bathroom in Shanty Creek. They each looked at each other and somehow didn’t feel as clean as they thought they were. They all said showers as soon as they got home. I think I was the only one that got a laugh out of that.
The Four Winds Island is currently owned by my dad’s parents and my dad’s uncle and aunt There are 6 buildings on the island from the original YMCA camp The Main cabin, biggest building on the Island, shower/red cabin( whole wall used to be all screens with lifting shutters. 2 small cabins one on top of a hill and the other at low spot on the island, and the bunk house. Many campers/counselors names from the late 1970’s still cover the ceilings and walls. Luke Lidgard
I remember (years ago) my brother and I would take the rowboat from the North Shore of Bass Lakeand row to the general store. We would try to go early in the morning to get the homemade cinnamon rolls; the aroma as you entered the store would overwhelm you. In the front room (facing the lake) was a round table for the regulars to drink their coffee and talk about fishing. The old store was just a classic. Don Clodfelter
There are about 40 cottages on Little Bass Lake. The NE portion of the lake is populated the least. Most of the west side is full of cottages. The lake is fantastic for swimming. Very clean and refreshing. I swam off my dock on Tuesday morning. Visibility for snorkel is about 15′ and the temp now is in the low 70’s. There are very few speedboats on the lake. Don
We hit the road, all 7 of us, to vacation at Businger’s cottage on BigBassLake. We made the trip in the row boat down the channel to Little Bass Lake. We vacationed there from approximately 1953 to 1960. We swam; water skied, fished and went on local adventures near there. We went low bush blueberry picking, saw deer and went on outings to Manistee & Ludington. We had such a good time those years. My Father would always take a book to read while sitting on the screen in porch watching us swim off the dock. Helen
Another resort by the name of Dinty Moore’s was built on the northwest shore ofBigBassLake. It is said that the Old Homestead still stands at the North end ofBigBassLake. Part of the family that owned the Dinty Moore resort constructed a store and gas station which was later sold to E H Lucas who expanded the project and Luke’s Country Store was the outcome. Later under new ownership it turned into the better known name of Luke’s Corner.
DintyMoorewas my Great Uncle by marriage to my Great Aunt Theo Moore (Wolf). They have a very rich history in this area. I will soon own the place on Big Bass where they spent their last years. Dinty passed away in the house where he loved to be. I have going toBassLakesince I was a child and remember the Camp when it was still in operation.
And yes, I remember “The Fun Spot” I had the chance to bowl there once back in the late 80s before it burned down. I can still hear the old air driven pin reseter they had. Kent
I have many happy memories ofBigBassLakeand the store from back in the ’60s. My grandfather used to go toBigBassLaketwice a year, once in the spring with his buddies and again in late summer with the family. When I turned 10, I got to go with the men in the spring! We stayed at the rental cabins adjoining the store. I don’t remember the resort’s name or the proprieters, after all it’s been over 40 years.
My Grandpa would take me along when he’d navigate the channel to fish Little Bass Lake. It was a big adventure to me.Grampa would stand up and pole the boat through the shallow channel. Just like the “African Queen”. As I recall Little Bass Lake had a lot of turtles.
As I recall, Otto was a smiling little man with a fringe of white hair. He always wore a crisp white shirt and a bow tie. He had a daughter named Dixie. I bought a lot of comic books from Otto over the course of the years we vacationed at BigBassLake. John Akers
My parents rented a cottage across the lake from the roller rink every summer for 10 years. We would go there often. When it was time for bed, the music lulled us to sleep on hot nights. The lights would glow on the lake. For a kid, this was a magical place. I was saddened to hear that it was no longer there. It is like a part of our past has disappeared. Diane Hagen
Does anyone remember “The Fun Spot”? It was a bowling alley on Peacock rd. I remember the alleys were a little warped, but it was a lot of fun. Becky Schulte
I have a cottage on the SW side of Little Bass. Most of the Lakeis about 30′, however the East side is over 40 close to 50′ in one spot. There are big pike in this spring fed lake, but hard to catch. It’s a very clean and nice lake. Don
My grandparents, Edwin Stanley and Grace Bartlett owned 350 acres in theManisteeNational Forestwith a cabin my Dad built during the Depression and an old burned cabin site. Brookwood was the name of the acreage, the entrance was through Peacock. McCarty Creek ran through our acreage.
We spent many times at Big Bass Lake Store which was owned by my (great)-Uncle Otto and also at his home which was nearby on the lake. In fact at 3 I almost drowned in that lake!
Thanks so much for the photos- of the store and the area- it brought back a rush of very happy memories!
My Dad’s Uncle and cousins built many cabins in theBigBassLakearea as well. At one time a great aunt, great great grandmother and great uncle also ran a boarding house in Peacock and they had the post office there for awhile.
Do you remember any of the other stories about the area- such as Bloody Run?
Dawn Bartlett Kroma (You can read more of Dawn’s experiences under the category “Brookwood” on the Sidebar)
Tonight was our first night at our property with the Hoffman Estates Boys Club. We had dinner about an hour ago and the kids took a brief swim and were getting ready for their first campfire of the trip. They had put their swimming suits on the clothesline to dry and one by one sat down at the campfire. By this time it was almost completely dark. I directed the boy is to turn around and look at the Haunted Island. We’re going out there? Two of the boys said that in unison and I told them not on this night much to their relief. I told them a few ghost stories and one about bears. Then I asked them if they were ready for their first night hike on our property. They begin yawning saying how about tomorrow night? So we continued telling stories for another hour and then they were ready for bed. It had been a long traveling day Plus setting up camp and they were really tired. So off to bed they went dreaming about what would happen tomorrow on their first real day at camp. Not a bad first night.