Gill's Pier, Michigan

Gill’s Pier was founded as a lumber town. Today all that remains are the pylons from the old pier, the nearby St. Wenceslaus Church, and the Gill’s Pier Road. The Gill’s Pier Vineyard and Winery was named in honor of the town of Gill’s Pier. The town grew up around the William Gill and Son Lumber Mill on Lake Michigan. The Gill’s Pier post office was opened on January 22, 1883, the same year that the Schooner Ketchum wrecked on the shores of Lake Michigan just down the beach from Gill’s Pier. The area around Gill’s Pier was founded by Bohemian immigrants who worked at the Gill Sawmill. They built the wooden frame of St. Wenceslaus Church in 1890, when Gill’s Pier had reached its peak of prosperity. At that time the town had 12 houses, a post office and a general store.

Not even twenty years later the Gill’s Pier post office was closed on January 15, 1908. Like so many other lumbering towns along the shores of Lake Michigan, Gill’s Pier soon faded into obscurity. In 1941, long after Gill’s Pier was deserted, the Bohemians in the area built up St. Wenceslaus Church out of brick. On a visit to the remains of Gill’s Pier make sure to stop at Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern for a quick drink or a bite to eat. Although the Lake Michigan beach at Gill’s Pier may be rocky, it is a great walk along the shore.

Leelanau on Location

4 replies
  1. Dave Schroeder
    Dave Schroeder says:

    The photo is at the end of Gill’s Pier road. Gill’s Pier is miles away from there. The Pier was where the buildings were. If you start going down the road from Happy Hour you cross a creek at the first curve. Where that creek flows into Lake Michigan is the site.

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