Ganges Township

Grist Mill about 1860 - It fell down in a storm in 1915.

View Aerial Photo

A 21st Century View along the lake by Vern

.....There were no good places to land a boat between Saugatuck and South Haven and both represented a trek of considerable distance over barely discernible roads for early lumbermen and farmers.  to help solve this problem, in 1849 Marcius (Deacon) Sutherland bought a plot of land at the west end of the quarter line, section 5 of Ganges Township and built a 200 ft. long and 16 ft. wide pier out into the lake. It was widened to 40 ft. later.

.....The Lake Michigan shore forms a long curve inland at this point, and a small creek empties into the lake which could furnish power for a mill.  The timber at that end of the Township tended toward hardwoods, generally unsuitable for lumber, but fine for cordwood, used before the advent of the big coal markets and as the motive power in steam driven lake vessels.  A secondary product was tanbark from hemlock woods, used in the making of leather.

..... In 1852 a mill was moved in from Battle Creek and put into operation with a steam engine.  About the same time a wood-turning shop and furniture factory was built, taking advantage of some of the hardwoods in the area.  a fanning mill was also begun to turn out fancy work.  The first post office was in 1854, it closed by 1900.

..... About 1860 a Mr. Nichols purchased the wood-turning shop and put in a grist mill, grinding both flour and feed, using the small creek for power. 

.....Until the coming of the rail road through Fennville in 1871, all lumber from the Hoisington saw mill north of Fennville and the Phillips mill on section 11, Ganges, was shipped from the pier.

.....The Ganges pier was taken out by 1904 ice. The north pier continued in service with the Wilson Line for fruit cargo and passengers until August of 1917 when the Anna C. wilson, the last of the regular steamers, discontinued service.

Could this be the place where stones were gathered to build the Memorial Markers in Fennville for World War One Casualties? The whole lakeshore is covered with stone making gravel.

One of Pier Cove's piers in 1896. Note the railroad tracks for loading the produce from rail cars onto the waiting ships. Could these past relatives be catching those wonderful Lake Perch?

P I E R    C O V E  1873

.....O. C. Simonds, the last owner of the mill and pond land was a landscape architect and a former superintendent of Grayson Cemetery in Chicago.  He planted many unusual plants in the valley of the old mill pond and the area became quite well known by naturalists for its many varieties of trillium in the spring.  The land has been declared a nature and wildlife sanctuary and is administered by the Pier Cove Ravine Trust Association.

Ganges Township

C O U N T Y   P A R K     OUTING  in 1960

Bertha     and   Elmer  HUTCHINS               Ora Thorsen      Asa HUTCHINS
Bea Hutchins is in back ground

.....Some time between 1846 and 1850, Benjamin and Elvira Plummer moved to Section 8, Ganges Township from Goshorn Lake and built a saw mill on the creek near Lake Michigan.  O. R. Johnson built a tannery across the creek from the mill.  The pier was built by a stock company about 1854.  A brick yard was established on the north side of the creek to the west of the road and drying sheds on the east side of the road.  The store was on the east side of the lakeshore road on the south hill.
.....In the summer of 1871, 1500 baskets of peaches were shipped from the pier, and Harrington and Barron began a fruit package factory to supply the local demand.  The village was described where a half dozen houses stood around the tannery grounds where employees lived, and single men boarded at what was called "Plummerville Proper".  There was a meeting room over the store where dances and other social occasions were held.
.....The saw mill ceased operation by 1870 and the tannery, with the local supply of tanbark exhausted closed in 1876.  The pier soon washed away and the building either torn don or moved.  Mr. Plummer, who was one of the 1834 pioneers of Saugatuck stayed in Plummerville.


Ganges Township
Glenn Pier warehouse
and loading sheds
.....In 1842, Arba Nelson Crawford, his wife and sons, Fredrick and George, were the first settlers in the area that would become Glenn.  The terrain was woods as far as a man could walk, and Crawford had to cut down the trees, grub out the land and plant his wheat, corn and vegetables.  The woods was easy to get lost in, even their cow got lost, trying to find it's way home to be milked and fed.

.....The Indians in the area were friendly. Their camp of wigwams were east along the Black River. One night the family stayed at the indian came while looking for the cow. The indians fed them and an Indian woman made the a pair of moccasins. 

.....On another occasion the indians were having a war amongst them self's and the indians told them to stay in their cabin.  Three days later the war was over, what ever it was for, they gave them the all clear to come out

.....In 1856 a post office was established south across the town line and named "New Casco".  After three postmaster, permission was given by the government to move the post office north two miles where the saw mill was located.  In 1876 the name was changed to Glenn.  There were many trees in the are area, or glens, hence the name "Glenn".

.....By 1873 the first pier was built out into the lake to provide a shipping point for cordwood, lumber, tanbark and fruit.  It was near where the creek flowed into the lake, sometimes known as Mink Creek.  Sail boats carried the cargo, mostly to Chicago.  Later a larger pier was built with a large receiving building on the beach.  The pier had an iron track , see photo above.  In 1892, 8000 baskets of peaches were shipped in one night.  The first telephone was located on the pier with the chief purpose to call South Haven when a boat had left with fruit aboard.  In 1905, farmers began to truck their fruit to South Haven and the use for the pier was gone.  the last boat to stop in glenn regularly was the Anna C. Wilson of the Wilson line in 1917.  Glenn now is primarily a resort town.
From books by Kit Lane
Go To: Allegan County History Maps