Spring on Good Harbor Bay

Via Michigan in Pictures

Spring on Good Harbor Bay

Spring on Good Harbor Bay, photo by Eric Raymond

Good Harbor is located on the northern edge of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Lake Michigan end of County Road 651. Today only evidence of the vanished village are the pilings of what was once a 500′ dock that could load 4 schooners at a time. The Good Harbor page from the Lakeshore explains that logging in the area began in 1863 to supply cordwood fuel for  steamers, leading to the founding of a village in the 1870s.

Shortly after 1880 (Henry) Schomberg bought out Schwartz’s interest and built a big sawmill which had a capacity of 30,000 feet in a 10-hour day.

…The Schomberg Lumber Company ran a hotel, two stores which became a shopping center for the local farmers, and a saloon. The township line between Centerville and Cleveland townships ran down the middle of Main Street in Good Harbor. Centerville did not allow saloons, so Good Harbor’s saloon was built on the Cleveland township side of the street … At the height of the lumber business, the mill worked day and night during the winter and during the day in the summer. As many as 75 teams of horses were used hauling logs to the mill, lumber to the dock, and supplies to the camps. The lumber company owned some of the teams and the rest were owned by local farmers and rented to the lumber company. At its peak, the mill cut 8,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.

The schooners were loaded by farmers who were called to work at the dock when the ships arrived. Good Harbor had no protection from storms with a northwest wind, so ships had to leave the dock and sail to the Manitou Islands for protection when a storm would come up. Sometimes storms would come up too fast and the ships were driven aground.

You can read on for more and also see some of the wrecks in the area in the Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve.

Check this out bigger and see more great photos from the Sleeping Bear and Leelanau Peninsula (including another shot of the pilings by Terry Clark) on Eric’s Leelanau County Facebook page.