A Grumpy Boat by Roe Boate

I just don’t get no respect!  After years of faithful service to my owner, he dumps me here in this graveyard to rot alongside these other relics.  For decades I took him all over Big Bass Lake with his stinking bait fouling up my person.  And, was he grateful enough to patch up a few of my leaks?  No, the cheapstake couldn’t afford that but he could afford worms. 

No wonder I aged so fast what with my creaky oar locks.  A drop of oil or two would have prevented that but that old skinflint owner of mine chose beer over helping out my creaky joints.  Add to that of having his posterior on me continually was more than I could bear.  So what if I gave him a few splinters in his bottom over the years.  Was hat enough to justify him dumping me here to let the worms rot away my frame? 

That guy never even covered me when it rained so that  I nearly drowned when I filled up with water at those times.  What did he think I was?  A cold tub?  He even left me on shore during the winter and then wondered why I began shriveling up!  Froze up was more to the point. 

And do you think I ever got a new paint job?  NOT!  And so I wind up here along with all these other old timers.  If I had the chance I’d like to take out one of my oars and paddle the daylights out of my owner.  I gave him the best years of my life and then he replaces me with that shiny speed boat.  You would have thought that he would have liked the exercise I provided him that he’d have had to pay for at some health club.  Yeah, I heard that some of my contemporaries wind up in those places as rowing machines.  Lucky stiffs!  Instead I wind up being a stiff at this graveyard.  I just don’t get no respect!

Big Bass Lake Boat Graveyard

Big Bass Lake has its own cemetary that people DO know about, that being Lakeview Cemetary on the southeast side of the lake but many are unaware of another cemetary close to the lake, that being a cemetary for rowboats. Now, you may not hear taps being sounded every time an old boat makes its way here but there are opportunities for a unusual flower garden that can resurrect some of these boats.

I wonder if our old rowboat made its way here as at one time John used his pontoon boat to drag our waterlogged old rowboat fifty yards from our pier to the public landing. Jack, the owner of the Big Bass Lake store at that time, and myself aided in that quest which turned out to be one long trip even though the distance covered was about a hundred yards. Once in the lake the boat nearly sunk making the travel difficult.

Is it a flower bed today? Or can it be found in that unique graveyard quite close to Big Bass Lake? Only the worms know for sure.

Storm Damage Around Big Bass Lake

You can see some power lines down as the tree fell in a storm that hit the Big Bass Lake area yesterday.

The cover of a pontoon boat was dislodged during the storm. Power was out to the entire County and only a local restaurant had a backup generator to stay open. Power was expected to be up soon.

High winds and heavy rain hit the area rather hard. These pictures came by the courtesy of Ed Hawks.

Did Your Rowboat Wind Up Here?

I can almost hear the faint sound of taps in the background as I view these old boats.  I wonder what adventures they could each tell us about during their younger years on Big Bass Lake.  I wonder if our ol rowboat is here?  It sure was a comical adventure getting it from our pier to the Big Bass Lake Public Landing about a hundred yards away.

Comical because our boat was old and water laiden and the trip via a pontoon boat saw the heavy old rowboat almost sink several times enroute to that landing.  I know whereever that old boat is today it sure served us well over the years.  Perhaps its here in this boat “cemetary”?

Does anyone know exactly where this boat graveyard is located?  And what is the purpose for such a place?  Let us know by way of a comment.

Scared Stiff

One night I was walking through Lakeview Cemetery taking a stroll when two girls from Camp Martin Johnson came up to me. They told me they were out after hours and were scared. They asked me if I would escort them out of the cemetery. I agreed and I told them then I used to be scared of cemeteries to when I was alive. You never saw two girls run so fast. Believe it or not.

The Legend of the White Moose

Have you ever heard the legend of the white moose? In the 1950s and 60s it was legendary in the Big Bass Lake area. If people were to see a white moose crossing a road at midday it was said to have ended droughts in the area. But you actually had to see it with some form of verification. Within 2 days, as the legend had it, Bountiful rain would refresh the land. I wonder if any long-time residents of the area I’ve heard of this Legend? It would seem that any kind of moose would be rare in that area much less a white one. But perhaps they were more plentiful in those days. If you’ve heard of The Legend please leave us a comment as to what you might be able to add to it. Thank you.

Still More Ghosts of Camp Sauble

I went there in the evening in the cool of the night. I walked through countless buildings and yet felt as if I were being watched. I kept looking about but saw nothing. I thought I heard the creaking of a door once but it must have been my imagination. Still that unseen presence I could feel as chills ran up and down my spine. I saw a wooden door closed seemingly all by itself. It must have been the wind. I thought all about the people that had been there before. What were they like? I wasn’t there by myself as a friend was with me for the first time. I have been here several times and each time I feel that presents getting stronger. My friend thought I was imagining it and maybe I was. But there is something here I know it. At the same time I’m not sure I want to meet it. I just want to know if what I feel is real? Once I thought I saw an image in a second-floor window. This time though I just felt a presence. My friend suggested we go as he felt nothing. He told me it was just an old buildings and that was it. I knew better and someday I’ll prove it.

The Barbershop at Big Bass Lake

In the 1950’s, I remember my dad taking me through our woods to the north side of Big Bass Lake to get a haircut at this location. I also remember crossing the small creek enroute to that barbershop over something resembling a green bridge that was none too safe.

Later, on many boys club trips to the property, the kids and I tried to find that green bridge but with no success. The creek even seemed smaller not even needing a bridge to cross it. However that just might have meant that the creek had a lot of water in it during the time my dad and I crossed it many years before.

Does anyone else remember this building being used as a barbershop? And when it ceased to be that? I know my friend John’s wife used to cut hair in that vicinity out of their home but that was in the 1980’s. And is there a barber presently servicing the residents of Big Bass Lake today?

Big Bass Lake Road

Big Bass Lake Road if found under three directions- South, West, and North. Only East evades its entirety. The south portion of Big Bass Lake Road stretches itself from just east of the Public Landing all the way to the Big Bass Lake store in a long straight-a-way.

Of course it wasn’t always that way. In the 1950’s, when the road was unpaved, it went around a quagmire swamp about halfway down that stretch. Even today there is a slight dip in the road over that stretch of highway.

I liked it somewhat better as an unpaved road. The last time I was in that area, the eastern side of the lake was still unpaved for most of the journey to the north side of the lake. It was unpaved around both the Lakeview cemetary and the Camp Martin Johnson entrance. I’m sure that has been rectified since that time especially with all the new development at Heritage Bay, the former site of the camp.

For most of the southern jog of the road, Big Bass Lake is in view, which is also the case for the north side of the road. The western portion of Big Bass Lake Road is largely out of view of the lake. Yet, for about a half mile on the eastern unpaved road, Big Bass Lake is also in full view.

Our former property extended from just west of where the public landing was located all the way to Matson Road on the north side of the lake.

More Ghosts of Camp Sauble

What happened at this building at Camp Sauble in the last month? A couple were walking the road just outside this building when they heard noises coming from inside even though the building has been deserted for years. The man quickly scanned the building by entering through a door. He found it completely empty and as soon as he got outside they both heard noises again. This time they both ended the home cautiously and again nothing was inside. The woman noticed the floor and there were no Footprints but their own. They returned to the road to continue their walk when the noises again occurred. This time they walked faster away from the building. What were these noises? Is the camp haunted? That couple sure thinks so. And they won’t be back. I wonder what really happened there?

Elk Township Hall

This is the Elk Township Hall, the governmental Center for our district. Strangely enough, The Sauble Township Hall was actually located on the east side of Big Bass Lake. The Noreika Farm, which belonged to my grandparents, was on the west side of the lake and under the authority of Elk Township. Elsewhere on this website I have some interior shots of this building. Meetings are held their monthly. And, they have their own website.

More on the Big Bass Lake School

One has to wonder if Mr Potato Head ever made an appearance at this early school with a field named after him in ever so close proximity.

A hundred years ago, writing paper was scarce and much class work was written on slates with slate pencils. These slates, and especially the slate pencils, were very fragile. Michael Landon’s “Little House” also showcased those slates in its early years.

There was no janitor for schools in those days. Teachers and pupils did all clean up work required to leave the building and grounds in perfect condition for the next day’s class. Boarding around, or living for a few weeks in the homes of each of the students, was a common practice for teachers at the one room schoolhouse. While boarding, the teacher not only did her share of the chores, but was also expected to tutor the children. An alternative to boarding around was for teachers to live with relatives.

Pupils enrolled in a one-room country school attended all grade levels, from first through eighth. In some semesters, however, there might be no students in one or more of the grades. In its day, the on-room school as a neighborhood center, as well as a place to introduce youngsters to classroom education and discipline.

Today this school still stands and is used as the Sauble Township Hall.

Maybe Ed Should Consider This for his House?

Ed? Why swim in Big Bass Lake when you can have a pool in your house? And a sauna? You could live like a king! This house and pool are in the Irons area. Perhaps Ed should consult with this homeowner? And remember, Ed, those long Michigan winters? Just think of how good that sauna could be in the winter?


rest in peace are such comforting words. The Big Bass Lake store, Sauble Lake Emporium, Loon Lake roller rink, Ward Hill Ski Area, hotspot, the Paul Bunyan Museum, peacock Resort, North Shore camp, and Camp Martin Johnson remain in our memories but are no more. With some the structures remain but the spirit inside is gone. Perhaps you know of another entity that belongs on this list. Add a comment and let us know what it is and your memories of it. That also applies for any of our list above. I would also add to my personal list the Marion Boys Club, the salesian boys club, Hoffman Estates Boys Club, and Bradenton Boys Club. Of these only then Hoffman Estates Boys Club is gone completely. Rest in peace!