A Trip Down Memory Lane on the Lake
By Roger Duval
I had the privilege of meeting Ron Sutton who provided me with a wealth of information regarding the lake. Also, during Creekfest at the Old Mill I noticed an old picture of the lake and was introduced to Ken Bush who provided me with the historic photos.
Ron Sutton was born in the house at the corner of Allen Road and W. Seymour Lake Road that is now a salon. His father owned a Sinclair gas station next o the township offices. He attended a one room schoolhouse on the northwest corner of Bald Eagle Lake Road and Bird Road The school was used until 1949. I spoke to the current owner of the schoolhouse, which has been converted to a residence, and he still has the divided stone outhouse on the property.
The Detroit Urban Railroad provided passenger service to Ortonville until 1931. Ron remembers an ice house at the south end of the lake. Ice was transported to the Holtzmans, later known as the Bald Eagle Lake Resort, where it was then sold or delivered on the Lake. The ice house was a double-walled building with sawdust between the walls and ice. Teams of horses were used to cut and pull ice from the lake for the ice house. The ice house was in use until the mid 1930s.
Many of the places on the lake were for weekly rentals until the late 1940s. There would always be a party on the lake as the kids from Pontiac would come on the weekends. There was an actual bridge to the island that was large enough for boats to pass under. It was later replaced by the current road and now a culvert is in place of the bridge.
M-15 would cut south to what is now West Seymour Lake Road and then head northeast and travel along the lake. Before Lake Louise was created by a dam they connected M-15 from Seymour Lake Road, east to Allen Road, for a thru-way. Huff was merely a deep pond before Lake Louise was dammed.
Dor-Ray Grocery was operated from the red building on M-15 from 1949 until the late 1980’s. I remember that they sold gas on the lake. You would ring a bell on the dock and they would come out from the store to pump your gas. The multiple rental house at the corner of M-15 and Allen Court was a gas station. Once it closed a Mobil station operated where the veterinarian is now located. The M-15 Party Store was a hardware store until the 1960s.
The Boat Bar was there at that time. I remember when they rented rooms for deer season by the week above the bar. Before the property now known as Foothill Condominium was developed at the west end of the lake there was a ski hill. It was already closed when I came on the lake but I did ski down on my cross country skis and almost went into the lake. There were tow ropes and a metal building. It was know as Eagle Mountain.
When we purchased our cottage in 1982 there was Bald Eagle Lake Resort on Allen Road that charged $2 admission to use the beach. They also rented row boats and had a stand. The property was later purchased by Jeff Harrell who built two modern homes on the site. I always regretted never getting a picture of the place, but thanks to Ken Bush here is a photo of its early years. The lighthouse was a favorite of the boaters.