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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


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



david k petersen

Article 322 History Column Dave Petersen Hamlin Township will be celebrating their sesquicentennial this year and for the next few weeks we will be looking at some of their history and the attractions that make Hamlin Township unique. This is a good time to dig deep into your family archives and pull out your history of the area. If you have photographs to share with our readers please contact me at 757-3240, e-mail to davep@blackcreekpress.com, or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News, P.O. Box 340, Ludington, MI, 49431 Pic1 Sauble Inn on the South Bayou was destroyed by fire in 1941, originally built in 1895 by Charles Gatke it came to house up to 150 guests at one time. The Sauble Inn Resort was serviced by the Ludington and Northern Railway (Dummy Train) and during the resort seasons you could expect the train to make a round trip every half hour as it ferried resorters back and forth for the price of 25 cents for a round trip. Pic2 Once this was a popular attraction for locals out on a Sunday picnic event, climbing to the top of Old Baldy was just something you had to do, just like taking a walk on the breakwall during the summer. People packed their picnic baskets, lined up, paid their nickel, took a ride on the Ludington and Northern (Dummy Train) and spent an enjoyable afternoon. Here we see Old Baldy being loaded up and being hauled out, eventually it was all taken to Chicago. Pic3 Here we have Mount Epworth prior to development, you can see the grade for the dummy train at the base of the dune but there are no cottages there yet. Once Epworth was established in 1895 it grew quickly into a bustling resort community. Pic4 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 Hamlin 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. Pic5 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. Pic6 Our next image is a bit of a mystery, I have heard of this tree with the door and small room inside but really don't know anything in particular about it. Going out to Hamlin and the State park area for picnics and outings was a popular pastime for our residents around the turn of the century and when the personal camera became popular people took it along and had fun taking all types of candid photos. If anyone knows any of the details about this picnic spot please feel free to contact me about.

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