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Hamlin Lake Preservation Society



Protecting Hamlin Lake for Future Generations 

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Hamlin Lake Memories

Laura Lyons, Indian Pete Bayou

 My family fell in love with Hamlin Lake in the early 1960’s, a couple of years before I was born.  We’re from the Chicago area originally like many other Hamlin Lake families.  One summer my parents just started driving north on US 31 and on a whim decided to stop in Ludington.  For years after that Ludington became our vacation destination. 

 They stayed at what was then Havener’s Haven, which a couple of years later became Ferwerda’s Peaceful Acres Resort, at the south end of lower Hamlin.  According to family stories,  I was drawn to Hamlin Lake from infancy.  My mom was unable to just relax on the beach at Ferwerda’s as I would crawl toward the water and if I was stopped I’d just bawl.  We even have a picture of me as a baby, sitting waist high in the lake smiling broadly in my element.

 Our family continued to vacation yearly at Ferwerda’s where the lake was a central focus.  My dad discovered that there was a series of five stumps not far out from shore at Ferwerda’s where you could swim from one to the next and even though the lake bottom would be well over your head, you could feel with you feet for each stump and be able to stand up on it at about the chest or waist high.  Until this Hamlin Lake Memories idea came up, I hadn’t thought about those stumps in years.  Maybe I’ll go to Ferwerda’s this summer and see if I can still find them!

 Our vacations got longer and longer each year, until it was obvious that we just had to live year round on Hamlin Lake.   In 1976 my parents bought what is now my home on upper Hamlin at the mouth of Indian Pete Bayou, from Virginia Gaines.  At that time it was still quite rural out here.  I had two horses, and the neighbor girls up the hill had a horse and a pony.  Just imagine Hamlin lakefront property with horses on it.  That would never be possible today.  I remember taking our horses into the lake down the public access next to my house.  What an incredible feeling to be on the back of a horse as she plunges into the water and rears up as she walks along the bottom on her back legs until she gets out over her head, then swims doggie-paddle!  We also used to ride our bikes full-speed off our pier, another exciting plunge into Hamlin Lake!

 Speaking of bikes, one memory that wasn’t so great at the time but is funny now is how a neighbor boy who was mad at me in those tempestuous junior high years used to steal my bike and hide it in the lake.  I’d have to swim around looking for it to get it back.  He has since grown up to be a really nice guy so I will not mention who it was!

 Hamlin Lake has continued to be a big part of my life into adulthood.  I asked my husband, Willy to marry me on this lake nine winters ago on New Years Eve when we walked across the frozen lake over to Buggs Point which we affectionately call Engagement Point, on the north side of the Narrows.  At midnight, as fireworks were going off around the lake in celebration of the new year, I got down on my knee and gave Willy my grandmother’s engagement ring to in turn give back to me.  His enthusiasm for the idea of marriage was instantaneous and he immediately began planning on how we should get married close to the next big fireworks holiday, the  fourth of July.  We got married on June 29, 1996 in a ceremony outdoors in the lakeside backyard, and myself and several wedding guests swam afterward during the reception.  As the reception wore on Willy and I gradually transformed into quite the aquatic bride and groom.  Willy in his suit jacket, vest and swim shorts, me in my wedding veil and bathing suit!

Sadly my mom died less than a year later and my dad had died tragically just three years after we moved to Hamlin Lake.  I am forever grateful that I was then able to move into the home that I spent my junior high and high school years in and to continue to enjoy this priceless jewel of a lake, with all its many memories. 

  Hamlin Lake Preservation Society, PO Box 178, Ludington, MI 49431