Springtime view from Miller Hill
Glen Lake, Springtime View From Miller Hill, photo by John Clement Howe
John took this photo yesterday from one of Leelanau County’s most amazing places, the Miller Hill Lookout. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s Geology Tour page has this to say about Miller Hill:
From the high vantage point of Miller Hill, you can see the continuing pattern of bluffs and bays. Sleeping Bear Bay gives a strong impression of the lobate shape of the ice that created it. If you had stood here 11,000 years ago, you would have seen the waves of ancestral Lake Michigan lapping up at the base of Miller Hill. The lowland between here and Lake Michigan is a sand bar consisting of a series of low ridges and troughs parallel to the shoreline, formed as ancestral Lake Michigan receded. The Crystal River, hidden in the woods below, flows along the troughs making many hairpin turns at low points as it seeks a path to Lake Michigan.
From Miller Hill you can also see Sleeping Bear Point at the western end of Sleeping Bear Bay. In 1914 and again in 1971, landslides occurred at Sleeping Bear Point. Each time about 20 acres of land slid into Lake Michigan. A smaller slump occurred in early 1995. Because of geologic conditions, it is likely that landslides will occur again in the future. Shoreline currents and wind carry sand to the Point where it accumulates until it becomes unstable. The sloping bottom of Sleeping Bear Bay can tolerate only a limited amount of accumulation. When too much sand builds up, storms or saturation with melting snow can trigger a landslide.
My mother was born exactly on this site in 1917, (Dorothy Cheney) and my Uncle drowned just off the shallow part in the picture in Big Glen in a storm in November in the early 20s. He was a strong swimmer but the other boy he was with was not and they both perished. They were rowing the boat to get groceries in Glen Arbor. My Uncle’s name was Glen Cheney. My Grandfather Calvin farmed an apple orchard there on Miller Hill in the early 1900’s. I didn’t know the look out was accessible now to the public? As a boy my brothers and I helped our father clear the brush away on the lookout. The picture brings back a lot of memories.
Great memories, Mike. It is accessible to the public as a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
I just read your post. Was a fire tower located just north of the current lookout site? I have found reference to one being there but have been unable to locate any proof. Any information would greatly be appreciated.
Hmm. I’m not sure. I passed your question on to Mike. I would also try calling the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore office at 231-326-5134 or click that link to get to their email address. Would be interested to know the answer!
Also, you should add your site to Absolute Michigan!
Here is a little background…In 1861 Daniel Miller, moved by missionary zeal, arrived with his two older sons in Northern Michigan which had just opened for homesteading. They filed a claim for 160 acres for each of them in Glen Arbor Township in Leelanau County which included a hill overlooking Glen Lake, Lake Michigan
and South Manitou Island which was used as a scenic view and called “Miller’s Hill”.
A year after filing their claims the Daniel Miller family moved to Glen Haven near Sleeping Bear Bay. Rev Miller continued his ministerial work there until failing health forced him to retire. On March 18 and 20, within two days of each other, Daniel and Ann Miller died, victims of an influenza epidemic. They are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City.
Donald L. Miller