Former, CCGS member Eleanor LaCaze shared the following article. While some may be familiar with this material, several of our members had never seen this compilation and asked that it be featured in a CCGS newsletter. This was done many years ago, but the information remains pertinent to Charlevoix County researchers. If you have further information on this community, or in regard to any community or township within Charlevoix County, please contact the newsletter Editor.
Boyne Falls derived its name from the Boyne River with its falls or rapids at the location. The name was given by "Uncle" John Miller, the first settler near the mouth of the stream that empties into the head of Pine Lake. The town of Boyne Valley was organized in 1873, and in the spring of 1874 the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad began operation. Boyne Falls was incorporated as a village in 1893. William Nelson was the first postmaster of Boyne Falls.
With the coming of the railroad the village began to grow, which marked the beginning of the logging era. Other industries included a lath mill, a shingle mill and grist mill. The town also boasted three hotels: Galster's, Marsh's and MaGee's (The Brookdale). In addition there were a number of general stores operated by L.A. Moon, the Davoll's, Fannings, Jaffee's and the Grobaski's who also had the hardware store. Other businessmen were Mr. Olsen who had the pharmacy, Mr. Quinn was the barber, Mr. Burke owned the livery stable, Mr. Wakeman ran the telephone office and John Porter was the banker. Of course, we can't forget to mention the village also had at least five saloons.
Among the early settlers was David Thompson from West Virginia, a lumberman who lived in the Deer Lake area. His son, Ethan W. Thompson, was president of Macabee's Life Insurance Company and served in the Spanish-American War. Ethan was also responsible for beautifying the cemeteries in Boyne Falls. In 1870, Oscar Marsh came to Boyne Falls as an employee of the G.R.& I. Railroad. He was a telegraph operator whose office was in a box car, as there was no depot. His daughter, Luella (Marsh) Wilson, resided in Boyne Falls summers until her death in 1973. Enon Wilson came in the 1880's and cleared the land to build a home at 2451 Center Street which still stands today. John and Sarah Cramer came here in 1885 from Indiana by covered wagon and homesteaded three miles east of town. Dan Judd, a Boyne Falls post- master, owned the first automobile in town- a red run-a-bout or "Tin Lizzie." The John Sudman's arrived in 1870 and settled on the shores of Deer Lake. L.A. Moon came to Boyne Falls about 1900 and lived in rooms above his general store with his family. Other settlers were John Paszkiewica, Marshall MaGee, Emerald MaGee, Frank Szczepaniak, W.J. Mears, Mike Sevenski and Albert Kroll.
As of 1900, the township officers were: William Mears- Supervisor; William R. Vliet- Clerk; C.H. Johnson- Treasurer; James Sudman- Highway Commissioner. Villager Officers were: Frank L. Pierce- President; Merritt L. MaGee- Clerk; L. Meaker- Marshall and Street Commissioner; James Thompson- Treasurer; John Galster- Assessor. Councilmen were: Alfred Sudman, M.W. Soule, O.H. Marsh, William L. Ellison and Patrick Doyle.
The Boyne Falls area and Boyne River have long been noted as a favorite fishing resort. Sportsmen now come from all over the country to fish and hunt in the Boyne area, and immense quantities of game are taken every year.