Aunt Barb and Uncle Willie

Aunt Barb, often called Babs by her fariends, and my Uncle Willie lived in Enterprise, Alabama. They had an adopted son, John, which everyone, including them, called Jeb. Uncle Willie spoke very fast and at times was difficult to understand being from the deep south. Aunt Barb was the industrious one as she loved to walk at a brisk pace and was always busy in the garden or cooking.

Barb, Willie, and Jeb are all gone now. In fact of my grandparents family, each of their sons and daughters died in order of their birth. My dad first, then Aunt Barb, Beth, and finally Uncle Joe. His wife Mary died in 2012. Craig and Mark their sons are still alive today.

Uncle Willie loved to play the golf courses around the greater Big Bass Lake area and he also loved to fish Big Bass Lake. They are all missed much

The Paul Bunyan Museum

Being six foot ten myself I tended to understand the plight of Paul Bunyan better than most. I can’t say that we saw eye to eye but we were in the minority on size.

I enjoyed the Baldwin museum as a youngster. For years thereafter I thought it still existed. It put Baldwin on the map. What are your memories of this unique museum and what year did they close?

Na-Tah-Ka South

recently I flew back from Arizona to Michigan for some family business and was shocked to see a Na-Tah-Ka restaurant on M-37 on the southside of Baldwin. I stopped in for lunch and asked if they had moved from their Big Bass Lake location. I was surprised to learn they had not and this was the second location. I had a great lunch there with great service. I think Larry Bender made a wise decision to move his restaurant to this location near Big Star Lake.

Idlewild Lake Resort- The Black Eden

Idlewild Lake Resort was often known as The Black Eden and I have a link here to a Detroit Publication about the resort but please note that it is dated back to 2002 and things are again on the upswing.

Founded in 1912 this resort was largely built for the Afro-American middle class as a getaway from everything around it. It was noted in the 1950’s and early 1960’s as a beacon for black entetainers including Bill Cosby, Della Reese, Louie Armstrong, and Sammy Davis Jr.

When the Civil Rights Act was invoked in 1964 things began changing. With the advent of other venues competition began to spell problems for this resort. Lake County, where this resort is located, had one of the poorest economies in the entire State of Michigan. As a result the resort also suffered with neglect.

Yet a rebound began to happen in 2000 and a lot of people attend the Idlewild Jazz Festival which has helped to bring new blood into the area. New Afro-American’s are coming into the area to establish residency. As for a local connection for me, Madame Walker, who has an entertainment venue named after her here in Indianapolis, also visited the Idlewild Lake Resort during her era.

If you want even more history of this area google up Wikopedia about the Idlewild Lake Resort. The area has revitalized. By the way the resort is near Baldwin, Michigan, in the heart of the Manistee National Forest.

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.
Manistique Michigan claims to be home Paul Bunyan and they have this statue of him on Highway 2 in Manistique which is in the upper peninsula.
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.

The Paul Bunyan Museum In Baldwin

This is how the Paul Bunyan Museum appeared in the 1950’s as one was approaching Baldwin, Michigan, from the south on M-37. There was either a sign or a large picture of Paul just outside the museum.  The one to your right could well have been it.  Now that sign is in front of an antiques mall but in its day the museum was flooded with tourists.

Even though most associate Minnesota with being the home state of the lumberman, Michigan also lays claim to that honor.  Maybe we could get Babe the Blue Ox to settle the issue. 

Going north on M-37, the museum was just off the road to your left.  Maybe some of our readers know when it officially opened and then again when it shut down operation for good.  Also who owned it initially?  I would think something like that museum would only add to the Baldwin area’s other tourist attractions such as The Shrine of the Pines. 

The museum no longer existed when I began taking Boys Clubs of America trips up to our property in the 1970’s.  It sure would have been on of our stops on our journey to the Big Bass Lake area.  If anyone has any other information on this museum, please leave us a comment with your thoughts. 

The Marlborough Cement Haunted Factory

Outside of Baldwin, Michigan, are the ruins of the Marlborough Cement Factory where at night voices are said to be heard. Maybe they come from this opening? Care to find out for certain? Just make your way inside. Just make sure you have some buddies with you.

Shrine of the Pines

Whenever Mike and I come to Baldwin, Michigan, we always stop first at Jones Ice Cream for a treat before going to the Shrine of the Pines. Located on the Pere Marquette River, one of Mike’s favorite places to fish, is this world famous tourist attraction.

There are more than two hundred masterpieces that one can review at the Shrine of the Pines. What you find here is the lifetime work of Raymond W Overholzer. You can observe a table that he made from a 700 pound stump or a rocking chair of roots that is so perfectly balanced that it rocks 55 times with a single light push.

There is a fireplace here that has been built with seventy tons of native stone and there is also a gunrack here that turns on 39 wooden roller bearings with shelves within its base to house ammunition. Remarkably, it holds 12 guns!

My personal favorite is a bootleggers table that has one holler leg and guess what was usually found inside that leg in those days? Mike and I aso love to walk the trails and then go down to the Pere Marquette River itself for an overview of that location, You can find the Shrine of the Pines two miles south of Baldwin on Michigan 37 and this is one place you must visit when in the area.

Moving Day

I’ve heard o I’ve heard of house trailers but this is ridiculous! They won’t have any trouble obeying the school zone speed laws. In fact they may hold school buses up. How’d you like to get behind this guy on a curvy Road? Well he won’t have to look for a gas station if he has to use the bathroom. But he may have to look for a plumber to hook him up to. Use the bathroom. This is actually the Baldwin Historical Society Museum being moved to its new location. Hope they made it?

Morning Has Broken!

I went shopping in Baldwin this past month when I came across this picture and couldn’t resist snapping it. What a way to begin a morning. I stopped by a coffee shop and got some Java and a donut and thought about that beautiful picture I took. I daydreamed about it a good 10 minutes. That Rising Sun made me ever so warm on such a cold morning. Oh well, better get on with my shopping.

Blessing of the Bikes

blessing-of-the-bikes-in-baldwin-mi each May in Baldwin Michigan is The Blessing of the Bikes. They come from all over the country. One thing is clear. When you park your hog you better know where you left it. there is a sea of motorcycles all over Baldwin. Businesses boom with sales and the town nearly doubles in population. This happens in early May and if you want to attend this year come early and have fun. Baldwin rolls out the red carpet for this event.