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, December 26, 1993, pg. 1

As some of you know, this writer has an extensive Albion numismatic collection, made up of tokens, medals, and paper money issued in our community. I’ve displayed this many times over the past 15 years or so, and wrote a year-long series in the Journal of Albion about the individual items in the collection. I’m always on the lookout for Albion tokens that say “good for 5˘ in Trade” on them, with the name of the local merchant.

This week I’d like to move our Historical Notebook northwards to the community of Duck Lake, a popular resort lake for many years. Duck Lake once had its own post office in the late 19th century, with the nucleus of the community being on the north shore. Today, Duck Lake is serviced by the Albion, Springport, and Olivet post offices.

The Duck Lake Boat Office was located on the north shore right near the present drain, on the site where the Silver Beach Resort now sits. The Office operated at the turn of the century, and was owned by William H. and Betsey (Munroe) Leonard. The building was 20 x 30 feet, with a wide porch on two sides. Pop and candy were sold and it was said that if you were known well enough, you could get a “sasparilla,” which was a shot of whiskey. The primary operation at the Boat Office was a boat livery with 22 boats. Lake ice also could be purchased by the chunk. There was an ice house, outside toilets, and a long and permanent pier which stretched into the lake. The pier was constructed wtih 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 William and Betsey Leonard, the business was continued by Arthur and Amarilla Stark. When electricity came in 1928, the Stark’s moved the old Boat Office building over by the Duck Lake drain, and converted it into a rental cottage. A new Boat Office was constructed on the original site, which is now known as the Silver Beach Resort. The original Boat Office was acquired by David A. Garfield in 1940, who built an addition on to it, and moved into it in 1950. Today the address is 552 North Shore Drive. Special thanks to Mr. Garfield for supplying me with this information. The original owner, Betsey (Munroe) Leonard, was his great-aunt, and Amarilla was his cousin.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of an aluminum token in my collection, which was issued by the Duck Lake Boat Office. Judging from the history of the Office and the appearance of the token, this piece has to date around 1905 or so. It is made of aluminum, and is 26 mm. in diameter. The obverse (that’s the front side for those of you unfamiliar with numismatic terms) reads, “AT DUCK LAKE BOAT OFFICE,” with the reverse stating, “GOOD FOR 5˘ IN TRADE.” There is a small hole in the center.

Duck Lake Boathouse Tokens

More Numismatic articles


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