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!
one thing I regret about my boys Club trips to Big Bass Lake and that was that they never got to experience the Loon Lake Roller Rink. I suppose the kids would have rolled their eyes at the organ music, but they would have loved the ice cream served there. And had a Dairy Queen consistency that was quite good. But they would have also liked to roller skate each trip we made there. That would have made the trip even better. I personally enjoyed the ice cream too. I was never the best roller skater and I’m sure the kids would have laughed me right out of the rink. You know I could use one of those ice cream cones right now!
this is the Loon Lake roller rink and if they had one could not big Bass Lake have one too? Think about it? With all the new homes going into this area shouldn’t the young people have something to do? Of course they have Lake activities during the day but what about at night? And this is an activity for the entire family! Something to consider?
Unlike Big Bass Lake just to its North, Loon Lake has no islands to clutter it up so my excursion about the lake took me in close proximity to its shoreline. I stopped my motor for a few minutes of reflection where the Loon Lake Pavillion once stood. I had been there a few times and remembered the colors shining on the lake and that old theater organ music.
I also remember that slightly warped floor that sent me to the ground several times. A roller skater I am not. Darlene was a good skater while I was better at the pin ball games they had there. I don’t know why that area has not put up another roller rink for the summer crowd?
Moving on I followed the shoreline past small cabins and even some newer ones. When back on the northeast side I recalled some sort of camp or resort that was once there quite close in proximity to Na-Tah-Ka Bar and Grill. At least where it stands today. I think it was more of a resort than a camp but I don’t remember very well on that point.
It made me wonder just how many of those area lakes had resorts on them? Care to tell anyone?
Otto Bartlett, the owner of the Big Bass Lake Store, also owned the Loon Lake Roller Rink which was about a half-mile south of the store. But before it was a roller rink, it was a dance hall. And every Saturday and Sunday night there was dancing galore on the same floor that roller skaters would in the future call home,
Here’s the teaser for this post. Do any of our readers know who The Lucky Stars were? They were the musicians who provided live music for the Pavillion in those days. Were they a local group? Does anyone know the names of those in the group?
Even better, are there any that read our website that danced at the Pavillion in those days? I have a hunch that Dixie Bartlett was somewhere in the mix at that location. These questions are liable to take you way back and test your memory. The dance floor is open for comments on this subject. How about taking a whirl at them?
You could see the reflection of the colored lights on Loon Lake almost from every point of the lake, not to mention the theatre organ type music resounding off the waters. Inside was the slightly warped floor, the shutters flung open on warm nights so one could observe the night sky over Loon Lake, and that organ music belting out the tunes. Now and then all skaters had to leave the floor giving way to couples or all women or all men. I seem to recall some sort of ball that reflected different colors throughout the evening depending on the musical number.
I recall a side room with dairy queen like ice cream and a few pinball machines. As I said in another post, before this was a roller rink it served as a dance club. Otto Bartlett owned both the roller rink and the Big Bass Lake store so he was an early tycoon in the area. His daughter, Dixie, was a superb roller skater.
In the 1950’s when my family spent a few weeks at our family farm on Big Bass Lake we made several evening trips to that roller rink. They need another one on Loon Lake or better yet, Big Bass Lake.
I remember going around the Loon Lake Roller Rink and also falling a lot. I liked the color strobe lights of their day there and especially when they dimmed the lights for special numbers. My sisters enjoyed their trips there more than any other place on our vacations there/ They served great ice cream and I think my mother had a reprieve from the drugery of farm life. After all, it was where my father was raised, not her, but she usually got stuck up there while my father returned to work in either Indiana or Illinois.
There were posts around the floor which helped me many a times from falling more than I did. Plus you could always skate over to one of the open windows and get a good glimpse of Loon Lake at night.
The music was typical roller rink, the old theatre organ type. It sounded like something off the Lawrence Welk show. Yet even as many the times I fell I would do so all over again for a place like that to be reopened on either Loon or Big Bass Lake. The area needs something like that especially at night and on the weekends. Maybe just maybe that will happen some day?
Aside from going to the Loon Lake Roller Rink along with traveling the road alongside Loon Lake en route to Big Bass Lake, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about this lake. I used to look out the open windows at the rink to catch a breather from skating and always thought I heard some sort of camp on the northeast shore? That was back in the 1950-1960’s.
I was even more amazed to read the history of Martin Johnson, founder of his camp on Big Bass Lake. He spent a whole summer at Loon Lake little realizing that Big Bass Lake was less than two stone throws away But then that short stretch between the two lakes was heavily wooded. I often wonder why he decided not to stay upon Loon Lake to build his eventual camp and why he then chose to move on to Big Bass Lake?
Are there any stories circulating around about Loon Lake that anyone would care to share by way of a comment?
This IS the Loon Lake Roller Rink thanks to the Bartlett family which forwarded us three pictures of the area. . It used to be the “social hub” of vacationers in and around Big Bass Lake. The music was of the old theatre organ type and open ports were found throughout the rink. My sisters and mothers looked forward to our times there as that was usually the highlight of our trip to the farm for them. I could take it or leave it.
They had that old fashioned ice cream, kind of like the type Dairy Queen puts out today. They also had an old air hockey game table as I recall. The rink was just across from Loon Lake. As time went on the floor became slightly warped giving roller skating an all new twist.
At times they had specialty numbers there where only girls or boys could skate and at times even couples. With not much else to do around that area at night most people wound up there.
The rink doesn’t exist anymore sad to say. It was owned by Otto Bartlett who also owned the Big Bass Lake store. At one time before the roller rink it was a dance hall. If only those one time walls could talk.
Loon Lake is just down a hill from Big Bass Lake yet this other lake has a magic all its own. For those that once lived on that lake in the 1950’s and 60’s, at night they were treated to the theatre organ music of the Loon Lake Pavilion. From almost anywhere on that lake you could make out the bright colors from that facility in the evening.
I’v always thought of Loon Lake as more of a fishing lake than a recreational lake. I’ve seen a lot of fishermen out there at almost any time of the day but precious few doing things like water skiing. Between it and Big Bass Lake it was the quieter of he two and that’s not all bad.
Without the constant flow of speedboats crusing around, Loon Lake residents can enjoy the peaceful serenity of their lake. For about half its length, a winding road follows its shoreline. For those that live on this lake, let us know a little something more about life on Loon Lake by way of a comment.
This month, the focus will be on the Loon Lake Roller Rink however I will not be posting every day as this is a rather small category.
From the Club 37 Restaurant, just off Michigan 37, it’s about 15 miles to Loon Lake and another mile to Big Bass Lake. At the southwest corner of this aerial photograph is the turn off onto Big Bass Lake Road as one ventures northward along the west side of Loon Lake.
About halfway to Big Bass Lake was the old Loon Lake Pavillion or the roller rink as most of us knew it. Loon Lake was in full view of the rink with the shutters open as the colors and sounds of the roller rink reflected off Loon Lake nightly in the summer season. At one time this rink was used for dancing and it was owned by the same man that owned the Big Bass Lake Store, Otto Bartlett.
His daughter, Dixie, was an excellent roller skater in her own right. Past the rink the road has a few twists and turns before going up a small hill looking smack dab at Big Bass Lake straight ahead. Before arriving at the lake, on the right is the Na-Tah-Ka Bar and Grill.
As for Loon Lake, I often heard of its fishing lore but not much about how good swimming was there. What say you?