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Mason County Memories

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Article 325 History Column Dave Petersen This is the last week we will look at Hamlin Township at least until this summer. Today's column is more of a photo stream of pictures that relate to the Ludington State Park. Long considered the jewel of the State Park system it was my favorite place to go when I was in high school. Back in those days we could have a bonfire on the beach, and there were so many other teens around at that time. Being on the back end of the baby boom meant big classes in school and a lot of people close to my age to hang around with. Even our neighborhoods were packed with kids, all one had to do was walk out the door with a ball and glove and start hollering for a baseball game and kids would appear out of nowhere it seemed with their gear for a sandlot game. But I digress, The Ludington State Park came about in the 1930's and benefited heavily from the CCC camp as the boys who worked in the camp improved trails, built the Beach House and shelters and even small bridges along the trails. Pic1 The dunes themselves are great, you can sometimes find bits of pottery, fulgurites, which are evidence of a lightning strike in the dunes, there are always places where interesting stones and fossils can be found as well. It is a great place to fly a kite as well. Pic2 The beach at lake Michigan just to the north of the Beach House has been a popular place to spend the afternoon for many years. If you go back to the 1890's after the dummy train began operations a Sunday Excursion out to the area that comprised the State Park was a regular event during the summer as groups went out to play and picnic in the dunes. Pic3 The footbridge has gone through a number of changes over the years as it has been replaced from time to time, it is one of those landmarks of the Park that endures. Pic4 One of the several shelter house along the trails, back in the day I recall being out there in January with some of my friends building a fire in the fireplace. These days I'm not so interested in being out in the cold for any reason. Pic5 This is a good overall view of the Dam that created Hamlin Lake and a portion of the CCC camp to the left of the picture. A great illustration of the natural beauty of the park and one of the reasons that thousands of people are drawn to the park for rest and relaxation. Pic6 A closer view of the CCC camp at the Ludington State Park circa 1940. There is not a great deal of pictures of the CCC camp in Ludington. The boys who worked the camp could come from all over the State of Michigan. 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

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