Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, July 15, 2007, pg. 6

In the December 26, 1993 edition of this column, we featured the Duck Lake Boat Office and illustrated a token used at that establishment. Recently, Larry Randall of the Duck Lake Area History and Genealogy Club supplied us with a nice photograph of the Office building, and so we thought we’d unveil it to you our readers this week in our Historical Notebook.

The north end of Duck Lake was once bustling with commercial activity a hundred years ago. Duck Lake had its own post office from 1875 to 1901, with the nucleus of the community being on the north shore. The Duck Lake Boat Office/livery was originally located on the north shore just west of the drain which is located west of the old Silver Beach resort.

The Office was operated in the late 1890s and early 1900s by William H. and Betsy (Munroe) Leonard. The building measured 20 x 30 feet, with a wide porch on two sides. Pop, candy, and tobacco products were sold, along with other small items for tourists, nearby campers and ball players. Lake ice stored in an ice house could also be purchased by the block.

The Boat Office/livery serviced 22 boats. There was a long and permanent pier which stretched into the lake. The pier was constructed with large timbers, filled with large rocks. The pier rotted out and was removed around 1915. At one time a steamboat, the O.K. Sackett, took passengers for rides around the lake from the pier.

After the death of the Leonards, the business was continued by Arthur and Amarilla (Leonard) Stark, the latter being the Leonard’s daughter. When electricity came in 1928, the Starks moved the Boat Office east of the drain, and converted it into a rental cottage. A new Boat Office was constructed on the original site, which eventually became known as the Silver Beach resort. This was moved north across the road around 1947 due to winter ice pushing up on shore during the winter months and damaging the foundation. The original Boat Office was acquired by the late David A. Garfield in 1940, who built an addition onto it and moved into it in 1950, with the address being 552 North Shore Drive.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of the Duck Lake Boat Office at its original location. In the distance are buildings erected by Dr. Stephen Munroe (see pg. 157 of “The History of Clarence Township: Then and Now”). First is the carriage barn, next the very large horse barn with cupola, and on the far left, the Munroe Schoolhouse. We also present the obverse of a 24 mm. diameter aluminum token yours truly recently acquired, issued by the Boat Office, circa 1905. It states “Good For 5˘ DUCK in Trade.”

Duck Lake Boat Office

Boat Office Token, circa 1905


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