Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Love Affair with an Era

I have fallen in love with a book...

This book is about the resort community of Macatawa Park, which had its heyday in the late 1800's and until the early 1920's.  I have always been intrigued by that time period and especially the buildings from that era.

So for my Walk and Click adventure this week I visited our local museum.

They have some wonderful information and pictures of the resort area in their permanent display. Thankfully they allowed photos in that area, so I didn't have to be sneaky with my iPhone.

Macatawa Park
In 1882 the Macatawa Park Association was founded for the purpose of developing a resort on Lake Michigan at the mouth of Black Lake. Cottages were built and a hotel opened. In 1895 the new Hotel Macatawa was completed with 60 well-appointed rooms. Thousands of visitors came by rail and ferry and later by steamer. The hotel was razed in 1956.

I am so bummed that it was razed and I was born a little to late to see it. 

This is the competition across Black Lake, working on their own resort community.

The Hotel Ottawa
Built in 1886 for 1,000 guests, The Hotel Ottawa was the center of the Ottawa Beach Resort area north of the channel. The Pere Marquette Railroad provided service from Grand Rapids beginning in 1890, steamships arrived daily from Chicago. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1923, but the area's popularity continued with the opening of Holland State Park in 1928.

There was even a roller coaster where cottages stand today.

Jenison Park
Originally a residential resort, Jenison Park was transformed by the Interurban railway into an amusement park in 1903. A figure-eight roller coaster, a giant swing, slot machines, and other concessions made the park a popular attraction until the 1920's. A variety of problems, climaxed by the Interurban's demise, led to its closing.

I hope to get back over to that side of town in the near future to poke around and take some pictures. This is the same area as from my lighthouse post.

A Few Other Fun Items at the Museum

The Drive-In Menu From Russ' Restaurant 

A dollar and change for a hamburger.

Love this old postage machine. Sanitary stamps made me laugh :)


  1. How fascinating...I love looking at old photos and imagining all the stories those times could tell. Thank you for sharing, Sarah - "sanitary stamps" made me smile, too. :)

  2. Oh my goodness, the Russ' menu with the Dutch Twinburger!!!! Now that is something I remember!

  3. It looks as though you had a fund walk! It's too bad some of those places are no longer standing, but it's good you were able to see pictures and read about them at the local museum. These historical places can be so fascinating.

  4. I love hearing about where you live and your museum sounds really interesting I always think how sad it is when such lovely buildings are lost...

  5. I really enjoyed your stroll through history.

  6. sanitary stamps, yeah, right! I love the old hotel photos. Can you just image being there? Reminds me of Downton Abbey or that movie that Chris Reeves was in at the Coronado Hotel I think. My memory is not great for movie names... Sometimes I wish I had lived back then but.... nawwwww.

  7. What a clever idea to walk and click in a museum! I need to branch out a little and try something like this! That hotel was beautiful! So very sad the so much history has just been torn down!

  8. Wow! fascinating photo history ~ excellent!

  9. I am fascinated by that era, too. I've always been shocked at how many of those beautiful buildings were destroyed by fire, and surprised at how completely most of those old resorts disappeared. It seems many of them really didn't last all that long.

  10. Sarah, it's fabulous how you make the most of a walk, even indoors. I enjoyed you little history lesson. It saddens me that old landmarks are leveled or are destroyed by fire or the elements. I think it's getting worse ... people don't value the old as much. Of course, it's quite amazing to see how the cost of things have gone up. Of course, we all remember (well, those of a "certain age," parents saying they could get a loaf of bread for a nickel. This was a fabulous walk through time. Thanks for sharing in Walk and Click Wednesdays!!

  11. What a fascinating spot this must have been! Would have been a great place to do a photography workshop. I also love these historic places!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)