“Your” Memories of Big Bass Lake- Part One

This new series will highlight various people’s memories of their experiences on Big Bass Lake.  Enjoy!

BigBassLakewas always my home away from home. I lived near Gary Indiana and visited my grandpa and grandma Matson every summer. I spent many a summer vacations with them. They had a home and two cottages close by the water, so I did allot of swimming. I remember helping them clean cottages. They were rented out through the week and sometimes just on the week ends. Many of the same people came back year after year. As time pasted and I got older, I still came up every summer. I was married the same year that my grandfather died in 1949. My husband took over my grandpa’s chores, cleaning cottages, repairing the wooden boats and painting them. As our family grew we continued coming up through the summer months. My six sons were raised on this lake as I was. All of my boys are married and have families of there own. Three of them have cottages on or near the lake. My husband and I have been retired on this beautiful lake for twenty five years. I have been so privileged to buy ice cream cones at Otto’s store, Skate at the roller rink, enjoy eating at Na-tah-ka tavern. I also was here to enjoy the red canoes and white sail boats from camp Martin Johnson. I am fortunate to be part of the history of the lake.  Barbara Hart

 I with spouses went on four winds Oct. 30, 08. The owners were gone for the season as the only way to the island is obviously by boat. There are 4 cabins on the island, all original to the camp. Nothing new has been built and those cabins have not been renovated or changed in any way. They look exactly the same as 1959 when I was on the island last. Ed is right when he says the island is about 200 hundred feet by water to the camp shore. TurtleIslandjust to its north is smaller and uninhabited. A sign on the approach states that it part of the ManisteeNational Forest. Since it quite small and can’t be built on no one wanted it. But we see tents pitched on it all the time. What a great place for kids to hang out. Shirley De Vries

 This is the yellow cottage my aunt and Uncle stayed in on the northwest bayof Big Bassfrom 1959 to 1967. It was a part of Hansen’s Resort. The road led behind it to our cottage, an OLD log style cottage called Four Oaks”. Up the hill behind this cottage were four other cottages. Two were stained and varnished logs. Next was a red log style cottage and next to that a newer but small sided cottage that is still there but has added a deck. The cottage we stayed in has been torn down and replaced with a three story summer home. Also the road to our cottage behind the one in this picture is gone. Amazingly this cottage is still there but now is painted dark brown. I saw “our” cottage last in summer of 1994 and the owners allowed me to come in since they told me that it was to be torn down. It looked the same! Other than they added a shower to the bathroom. Shirley De Vries

My grandfather. E S Bartlett, told me that HauntedIslandwas a sacred Indian burial ground and had been disrespected when people built cabins there. I thought the boys from the camp told each other the legends of that, but it doesn’t sound like those stories have survived. Grandfather always felt it was important to respect those burial mounds, every bit as much as you would our own cemeteries. Sylvia Mohr Bartlett

 Our cabin was the one directly behind you from where you took this picture. It is up on the hill. The bridge used to be wooden. I remember when they tore it down and put the concrete one up that is there now…I felt like something special was taken from me. We used to play on the bridge. I once did an oil painting of that bridge and gave it to my grandmother…I wonder what ever happened to it.

I do remember my grandmother calling that Island Tiny Tim, now that you mention it. I have only been back to the lake once since they put in public access. I cried when I saw how it has changed and how crowded and full of speed boats it was. When I was growing up very few people had speed boats. We had one and a couple other people did too. Janine

 My family rented a cottage on the North Westbay since 1958 thru 1968. We stayed at a place called Hansen’s resort whi8ch included 6 cottages on that north shore. Ours was the furthest east, an OLD log cabin type cottage called four oaks. The cottage was torn down in 1995 and replaced with a 3 story and the oaks are down to 2. Only two of the originals remain a brown log cabin right on the water and a small white cottage that was next to ours. Shirley De Vries

 Our Cottage was the first log cabin that sat up on the hill, across from the bridge, next to Waitt’s house. When my grandparents retired up there they painted the cabin light yellow. It broke my heart as I always loved the natural look of the logs. We had a fairly large amount of land surrounding us that my grandparents later sold off and a cabin was built on the north side of ours and another between ours and Waitts. We had three piers. One for swimming that was on the far right facing out towards the lake and 2 to the left that was for fishing. We hauled in sand for the swimming area. We were there in the 50’s- to the 70’s. I used to swim across the lake to the other side and back, but not as far as you are. Closer to the bridge. I spent many hours on that bridge, also swimming off HatIslandas well as fishing in a boat off Matson’s Island. That’s where you could find all the perch. There was not a public access at that time. The deer would walk across the lake in the winter when it was frozen. Janine

 The smallest island in BigBassLake. The island is still there, but the tree is now down. It is now the home of a family of loons. I’m not sure if it is the same birds, but they have been nesting here in the spring for several years. The loon parents can be seen and heard throughout the summer as they raise their babies. This year they have two, and they are almost full grown. Janice Vander Wal

 There were five islands when I was a kid= Four winds, Turtle. Loon. Big and Haunted Island. I remember going on haunted island at nine years old( 1959] the house was black and scary. My brother climbed the stairs and fell thru at the top to the lower floor. Shirley De Vries

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