Glen Haven, Michigan

Glen Haven, MichiganGlen Haven was first founded as a wooding station to provide fuel for the passing steamers. In 1857 a sawmill and an inn were built on the beach west of Glen Arbor by Charles C. McCarty, brother in law of John E. Fisher, the founder of Glen Arbor. McCarty called the area Sleeping Bearville. In 1865 a dock and the Sleeping Bear Inn were built. The Inn was used as a boarding house for lumberjacks and passengers. In 1868 McCarty built a sawmill on Little Glen Lake. Horses were used to transport the lumber from Glen Lake to Glen Haven. At that time 100 to 300 cords of wood were used by a steamer for a full trip from Chicago to Buffalo. By 1870 a two mile long tramway had been built to transport wood cut by the sawmill of Glen Lake to the docks at Glen Haven. During the winter of 1870-1871 214 people died because of shipwrecks on the Great Lake. In 1871 the U.S. Life-Saving Service was created. The Life-Saving Service conducted rescues from shore. That year the first Life-Saving Station was opened in the area.

In 1878 the President of the Northern Transit Company bought Glen Haven in order to make sure that there would always be a reliable supply of wood for the fleet. At that time D. H. Day moved to Glen Haven as an agent for the Northern Transit Company. In 1881 D. H. Day bought the town of Glen Haven. In 1901 the Sleeping Bear Point Lifesaving Station was built. At that time most of the workers at Glen Haven were of Norwegian and Swedish descent, a small group of workers were from a small Native American settlement a few miles away. As steamships began changing from wood burning to coal burning D. H. Day realized the need to expand his operations and changed his sawmill into a hardwood mill, which sold oak and maple boards to the building industry in Chicago. D. H. Day also promoted managed forests and farming. In 1910 he owned more than 5,000 acres of managed forest and 5,000 cherry and apple trees on his 400 acre farm. In the 1920s the Glen Haven Canning Company began canning and shipping D. H. Day’s fruit. In 1931 the Sleeping Bear Point Lifesaving Station was moved to its present site in order to protect it from the encroaching dunes. That same year the Glen Haven docks were closed. In 1972 the Sleeping Bear Inn closed and the buildings in Glen Haven were purchased by the National Park. Glen Haven has been restored to resemble the town in the 1920s. Just down the road is the Sleeping Bear Point Life Saving Station which has been restored and is now The Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum.

Glen Haven Links

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore page on Glen Haven

Photo credit: Glen Haven Canning Co. by cyoas55

Glen Haven, Michigan



4 replies
  1. Ron
    Ron says:

    On the week of 9/20/2010 the village of Glen Haven was still undergoing road and building upgrading. Parking and sightseeing were restricted due to major construction in progress.

  2. Deb
    Deb says:

    I was very disappointed by the “improvements” made to Glen Haven. It was a small jewel, a town where one felt as if it was a step back in time. The simple and beautiful landscape is now part of an asphalt drive and parking lot with what looks like a pirate theme of a miniature golf course with the new huge walk ramp leading to a boat. The thrill is gone. Way to go.

  3. Steve
    Steve says:

    My wife and I have been going in and out of Glen Haven on our day trips down M-22 for nearly 30 years. We have seen it as a run down little village and now as a National Park tourist attraction. Last week we had the opportunity to visit the Canning Factory Museum and were very pleased with the exibits and the staff. They were very knowledgable and courteous and took the time to tell the history of the museum. The blacksmith shop was open and we took the time to stop in and talk with the “smitty”. We were very satisfied with our visit

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