vicksburg michigan views page 4



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Lee Park, circa 1910 - hand colored photo by William Koons

Property of the Vicksburg Historical Society

Table of Contents





Historic Village - STRONG SCHOOL










Pickerel Lake - Robinson's Bath House & Store

Indian Lake - Lemon Park

Adams Park Indian Lake



Kalamazoo County USGenWeb Site

this page:

See the Kalamazoo Valley Museum publication, Museography Summer 2005 (a .pdf file) article, Summer fun:  Lake Resorts in Kalamazoo County.


 By Maggie Snyder

Pickerel Lake:  Robinson?s Bath House and Store

Established by Eva Robinson Braden in 1925, the bath house was located on the eastern edge of Pickerel Lake next to present-day 29th Street in Pavilion Township. The Robinson family owned property on the lake, including a stretch of sandy beach and a cottage.  

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Pickerel Lake, east shore along present day 29th St., 1925

The bath house was originally just that ? a place to change into a swim suit and access their private beach, carefully maintained by Eva?s family, which included husband Max Braden and brother Frank Robinson. From Eva Braden?s diary: ?Wed. June 17: We opened it in the evening for the first time. Bought first stock of Clenewerck?s, also bought 12 bathing suits.? Whether you rented a suit or brought your own, after changing everyone paid .10 for a wire basket for their clothes and shoes, which was placed on shelves for safekeeping.  

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Pickerel Lake, Robinson`s Store and Bath House, 1925 

The store opened with only tobacco products and candy, but soon added pop and ice cream. Business was immediately very brisk, and it wasn?t long before Eva was looking for more things to sell in the store. From her diary: ?July 8, 1925: Commenced serving hamburgs at the bath house?. The Robinson?s also owned a summer cottage on the lake which was rented out by the week to vacationers.  

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Pickerel Lake, Robinson`s Store , 1930  

In the fall of 1927 Eva noted in her diary: ?Sent check to the Bank of Scotts to cover $60.00 note I gave to start bath business on this year. Now square with the world with $21.00 to the good.?

The bath house portion of the business diminished as the years went by, but the store was an important part of the summer season for area residents through the early 1960?s.

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Road work crew at Pickerel Lake, 1930

Work crews build a ?modern? gravel road along the eastern shore of Pickerel Lake on the site of present-day 29th Street. Robinson?s Bath House can be seen at the right side of the photo.

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Pickerel Lake, located in Pavilion Township, covers about 135 acres.  There is no longer any public access.

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  Pickerel Lake area plat 1920

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  Illustration of Pickerel Lake


Lemon Park

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Lemon Park dock and launch, 1908

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Lemon Park, 1913, waiting for the train, a common excursion for area residents in the days before the automobile.  Hand colored by William Koons.


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Adams Park Indian Lake

By Maggie Snyder

Adams Park was developed in the early 1920's by Wells N. Adams and Garry Frick of Kalamazoo, on farmland that bordered Indian Lake's eastern shore. The property was part of the large estate of Peter Beebe, who died around 1880.

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Adams Park, 1936

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Adams Park, 1940s

Existing cottages as well as a hotel and possibly a store at the time of the purchase indicates that Wells and Frick simply continued an enterprise that had already begun earlier in a more rustic and less organized form.

Unlike Lemon Park, Adams and Frick had a restriction against the public sale of liquor and/or the building of a dance hall on the premises written into the contract. It differed from Munn's Knoll in that it had a hotel and more or less public swimming beach. And it was different
from both Munn's Knoll and Lemon Park in that there were no railroad tracks nor entry road by which to reach the development. Guests reached it only via launch from Lemon Park, disembarking on a cement landing built on the lake, right at the edge of a long grassy stretch from the beach to the hotel.

The hotel appears to have been a remodeled farmhouse.  Adams Park apparently took off like a rocket in an era when people who could afford it were thinking about owning a summer home.

In 1921, Alex Smith, who was known affectionately as Dad or Pap, bought property from Adams and converted an old cottage into a store.

Sometime prior to 1925, a fire of unknown origin gutted part of the hotel, so that it couldn't be used. The expense of remodeling was probably deemed too much, as the property was put up for sale and was purchased by the Church of the Nazarene - see page 5.

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A view of the Methodist Episcopal Church, on the left, and the Congregational Church on the right, friendly religious rivals situated across from each other on South Main Street. The Congregational Church was moved to Main Street from Maple Street in 1882. After the congregation disbanded, it was sold to the school and used for classrooms and as an auditorium. It was razed in 1932.

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Methodist Church, Vicksburg, 1954

In 1869 construction began on the original building which was rectangular, with the main entrance to the west.  The building contractor, Peter Strome, used hewn beams in a barn frame design that were erected at "public raising".   Dedication of the completed structure took place on Dec. 1, 1870.   The building still stands, but with many additions and renovations.  The Vicksburg United Method is a registered National Landmark. 

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St. Edwards Catholic Church, 1905-1966

When the Lee Paper Company (see the Lee Paper Company page)  readied for initial production it sought skilled workers from New York, Chicago, and Wisconsin.  Many of the potential workers were Polish Catholics who were reluctant to relocate to an area without a Catholic Church.  The new paper mill promised to provide housing and a church.

Under the direction of Father Lempka, a Polish priest, a 10' x 60' church with a small sacristy, was constructed on West Prairie Street during the winter of 1905-06.  While the project was underway, Masses were celebrated in the mill itself.  The mill even held a benefit that netted $106.00 for the congregation.  Seven railroad coaches were required to bring visitors to the February 25, 1906,  Dedication of St. Edwards.

The church remained a part of the Mendon Parish until 1951, when a resident priest was appointed and the house next door was purchased for a rectory.  Attendance soared to 300.

May 6, 1956 the Golden Jubilee of St. Edwards was celebrated by three priests.  By 1958, a building campaign was underway .  When $100,000 had been raised, the parish purchased 35 acres on East W. Ave.  Ground was broken for the new church on January 17, 1966.  The old St. Edwards was demolished to make room for the West Prairie Street apartments.

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Scotts M. E. Church,  1912 

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Village Views Page 3

Village Views Page 5


Kalamazoo County USGenWeb Site