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Mason County Memories

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History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News

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Ludington Area Landmarks History Column Dave Petersen There are and have been a number of great buildings and landmarks that have had a great impact on Ludington's history and lore that we are going to explore for the next couple weeks. There are some that still exist and have provided photographers the opportunity to create thousands of images over the decades such as our North Pierhead Lighthouse which is probably the most photographed lighthouse in the Great Lakes. On the opposite end of the spectrum are buildings like the old Mason County Jail which were interesting architecturally but few photographs seem to be in existence. Pic 1 Dummy Train Starting out in 1896 as the Epworth League Railway, renamed the Ludington and Northern Railway in 1902. It was the main source of transportation to Epworth from Ludington. The Dummy Train route was eventually expanded north to the Middle Bayou in 1909. Picnickers would pack up their baskets and head out for the day. The advent of better roads and the automobile brought about the end of the Ludington and Northern Railway in 1919. Pic 2 Elks Building This is a nice view of a familiar building showing the store that existed prior to it's annexation to the Elks Clubhouse. Remember those great stained glass windows? Even as a youngster walking through town I would sometimes stop and admire those windows. Pic 3 Rainbow Gardens There were a couple different fires at this location over the years, one in 1927 and another in 1963. For those who are unfamiliar with Rainbow Gardens and the role it had in providing night-time entertainment and dancing down at the beach it was located at the NW end of West Ludington Ave where the Jaycee Mini Golf is now. Pic 4 St. Simons Church Completed in 1902 it was a landmark that was visible through out Ludington and also one of the buildings whose architecture stood out against the skyline to welcome travelers coming in on the carferry. There was an effort to save the towers prior to their demolition that was unsuccessful. The site remained vacant until the new city hall and police station were built at that location. Pic 5 Beach House Absolutely one of my favorite places, built by the Civilian Conservation Corp after the local group was established there in 1933. Pic 6 Hamlin Dam The Dam at Hamlin (originally named Big Sable) has given way on several occasions since the first one was built in 1859 by Charles Mears. When it collapsed in 1887 the lumbering village of Hamlin was washed away. The Dam collapsed again in 1888 and 1912. The village of Hamlin was named after Mears choice for Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and is located within the boundries of the Ludington State Park. If you have any photographs or stories to share with our readers please feel free to call Dave Petersen 757-3240 email davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News.

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