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Mason County Memories

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Article 338 History Column Dave Petersen Some time back I was given an old photo album that had at one time belonged to the Butters family here in Ludington. Many of the pictures in the album were of a house boat moored at the shore of the Pere Marquette Lake near old Buttersville and other miscellaneous pictures of Butters relatives and friends. Last year when I visited with Mary Mitchell and copied her Butter's family photos I gave her the album as I felt that these types of family pictures belonged with the family. Mary in turn gave the album to Ruthanna Schofield of Atlanta Georgia a direct desendant of Marshall F Butters owner of the Houseboat in today's article. Ruthanna was in Ludington recently in large part because of her contact with Mary and receiving the album. Her first visit in 63 years, having come here as a youngster during the summers. She brought with her some history, clippings and memories of the old houseboat that didn't remain a houseboat. 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 The Hostess as she was called was built on Hamlin Lake (just below Sauble Inn) by M.F. Butters and launched July 16th 1908 it was as the paper extolled the social event of the season. Mrs. Butters arranged for the Dummy Train to transport their guests numbering 125 people out to the lake for the festivities. Pic2 An inside view of the Hostess; after the Dam went out at Hamlin the Hostess was left high and dry with nothing but a slight stream of water moving through where the lake had once been. The Hostess was moved from Hamlin Lake to Pere Marquette where it was moored and resumed its social prominence. Pic3 Even a wedding was planned for the Hostess in June of 1910. Guests were invited for a party for their son's birthday but unbeknownst to most of the guests E.C. Hardy and Miss Marie Dickson were planning to be married, they stepped under the arch, and Reverend Bourns conducted the service. The newlyweds were left on the boat for a ten day honeymoon. Pic4 The Hostess was moved once again, this time to a knoll in Linlook Park. The Hostess was found to be leaking and not suitable for life on the lake. The family moved the boat to a knoll overlooking Lake Michigan, built a deck, planted a garden and the hostess continued her life as a central part of the families summer festivities. Pic5 This is a later view of the Hostess locked on land with a sea of flowers taking the place of the waters of the lake that once surrounded the families summer retreat. The building was torn down after the family lost their lease on the land. Pic6 Ruthanna Schofield is shown here at about age 4 sleeping with the life ring of the Hostess. She has hopes of finding a memento from the boat or even one of the life rings. No one from the family was able to return before the boat was demolished. If you have stories, pictures or mementos from the Hostess the family would be interested in seeing them.

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