Lake Michigan's Left Coast

“Finest Summer Home Region on the West Shore of Lake Michigan”

The title comes from the 1930s brochure advertising lots in my neighborhood. The brochure continues:

One of the most charming stretches of shoreland on Lake Michigan is now available to you!

What an ideal location for a summer home of beauty and distinction! Here the blue waters of Lake Michigan roll across the white sands of a perfect bathing beach. A tree-fringed, level meadow stretches back hundreds of feet from the beach to a low, wooded bluff. Birch, oak, elm, hawthorn and linden spring in profusion from the flower-carpeted earth of this low rise of land. Delightful ravines harbor murmuring blooklets. Unlike any other lake shore frontage within convenient distance of Milwaukee, there are no steep hills to climb–no sliding, rolling earth. An auto road leads directly to the beach. Beautiful sites are now available to discriminating people. Restrictions are ample.

One can imagine what “restrictions” the marketing copy references.

Many of lots on my little dirt road remain in the families of the first-time buyers. Many of the cottages are decades old, including mine. At some point, property owners planted dozens of pines of various sorts. Today the far-from-scarce survivors tower above the rooftops. The liberally sprinkled giants grow right down to the “white sands of a perfect bathing beach.” Except that the beach no longer exists, or has moved, or is temporarily covered by the angry surf of a wild Lake Michigan shoreline unprotected by harbor or other humanmade structure. In any case, my little stretch of road reminds me always of the North Woods of Wisconsin. It’s like being Up North, but the lake is Lake Michigan, and civilization is only minutes away.

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