Part 1 of 4 1855 - 1912
The colorful history
of Lakeside Inn goes back to February 28, 1855 when William Barnhart bought
the property from the United States government. A land grant was signed
by President James Buchanan to Mr. Barnhart. Mr. Barnhart had helped build the
Duck Lake Lumber Mill in 1844 and he
continued his interest in lumbering by purchasing this property to build
a mill. Lakeside Inn's property was at that time known as "Sprigg's Landing."
It was 68 acres. This property included the lakefront along White Lake
and on the hill by what are now the corners of Scenic Drive, Murray Road
and South Shore Drive. Ebenezer Sprigg built a large three-story frame
house by this corner. In later years it was run as a summer resort under
the name of "Fernwood" and some years later was purchased by the Lewis
Family who lived there in the summers and built other family homes, a retreat
house for Catholic nuns and priests from the Chicago area, tennis courts,
etc. In 1857, George Rogers, who built the Long Point Lumber Mill, bought
the land from Barnhart and built a steam power lumber mill. Not long after
he built the mill, Rogers fell overboard from the steamer Oceana while
crossing White Lake and was drowned. In 1860 the property was transferred
to Amos Rathbone of Grand Rapids. It was sold several times after Rathbone
owned it and then came into the ownership of Green, Kelsey and Company.
The area soon became known as "Green's Landing." George Green built a sawmill
on the property. Shortly thereafter, James and Peter Dalton,
whose family had emigrated from the county Roscomon, Ireland in the year
1834, purchased the George Green Mill. The atlas of 1877 shows a group
of buildings clustered about the sawmill of that day including a store,
office, blacksmith shop, carpenter shop and a boarding house. Part of the
main building of Lakeside Inn is the original general store built in the
late 1870's. In the White Lake area at that time were 19 steam powered
lumber mills. The pine lumber industry served the demands of a quickly
The lumbering era on White River and White Lake lasted
from approximately 1837 to 1903. However
by 1882, the forests of the area were nearly depleted and in 1903 the last
log drive of any consequence came down the White River. Remnants of the
lumbering days can still be found in White Lake directly in front of Lakeside
Inn. Particularly with low water levels, one can easily find pieces of
lumber sawed over 100 years ago. Long ago lumber companies simply threw
rejects into the water and these are the pieces that can be found presently.
For the towns of Whitehall and Montague, which were seeing economic problems
after the lumber was gone, the hope of a new livelihood in the resort business
was encouraging. The transition from the lumbering era to the popularity
of the White Lake area as a major resort destination began in the 1880's.
At that time steamers and trains were making regular trips to the area
and bringing with them a ready supply of people who wanted to spend their
summers out of the heat of the cities and into the coolness of the Michigan
By the 1890's the summer resort business flourished
in the White Lake area. George H. Mason, who had married Emma Dalton, daughter
of Peter Dalton, began operating the general store and the Michillinda
Post Office on the site of Lakeside Inn.
They went into the business of renting out rooms above the store.
Guests would arrive from Chicago by steamer. The Goodrich Steamship Lines,
out of Chicago, docked at the end of Scenic Drive at the Michillinda Dock
just to the left of the road.
As a further note, the name
“Michillinda” originated as a combination of the abbreviations of the states
of Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The name began as so many people from
Illinois and Indiana were beginning to spend their summers here. The area
was known as “Michillinda, Michigan.”
to go to
of the Lakeside Inn Story
In the early 1900's there were
many large hotels dotting the shoreline of White Lake and surrounding areas.
Some of those resorts were: The Michillinda Pines operated by Mrs. John
Austin, Duskewrera Club Inn operated by William Bruce, White Lake Villa
operated by C. W. Johnson, Maple Hurst operated by Mrs. A. Webb, Murray's
Inn operated by William Murray, Sylvan Beach Hotel operated by E. J. Whelan,
The Locust operated by Mrs. P. H. Long, Bellevue run by Mrs. C. U. Smith,
and, of course, Lakeside Inn operated by G. D. Mason.