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WHITEHALL, MONTAGUE, WHITE LAKE, DUCK LAKE, DALTON, FERRYS.
THE LAKE AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. Nine miles north of Muskegon Lake is another barbor of importance, known as White Lake. Near the mouth are the villages of White Lake and Ferrysville, and at the head, four miles east, on the southeast, is Whitehall, and on the north Montague. Both these latter villages are reached by the Chicago & Lake Michigan Railroad, and by lake steamers from Chicago, Grand Haren, and other lake harbors. Their principal business is lumbering, and the growth of fruit has not assumed large proportions. Yet the facilities for producing and shipping fruit here are excellent, and only require development. Along on each side of White Lake are several successful orchards, enough to show that peaches and other fruit incident to this region can be successfully grown here, while at and near Duck Lake, peaches are already extensively planted. The immense quantity of fruit land here, owned chiefly by lumbermen, secure its cheapness and offer rare opportunities for those who desire to enter the busivess of frnit raising.
FRUIT LANDS. WINE COMPANY. The land between Muskegon and White Lakes is gradually being brought under cultivation, both for general and special farming, and several of the owners are liberal in their terms to actual settlers. It is proposed by them to start a wine company, offering, several years ahead, a good price for grapes, as it is found that the grape can be grown here with the utmost certainty, and if vine growers were assured of fair prices there would be strong inducements to embark in the business. The principal draw back to grape growing is the inadequate demand while grapes are fresh from the vines, and the difficulty of preserving the grape fresh until a large crop can be consumed and other fruit is scarce. This difficulty a wine manufacturing company would obviate, and although the idea of cor verting grapes into wine is objectionable on total abstinence principles, it is contended that wine drinking would to a great extent lessen the amount of whiskey drinking, and thereby decrease the aggregate of intemperance and greatly mitigate its evils. Without advocating this plan, we may venture the remark that if men will drink intoxicating liquors, it is much better to drink pure, upadulterated, mild wine than to drink the ordinary liquors of commerce. The owner of these lands, who is prominent in this project, is Mr. Samuel Odel, of Muskegon, and he is known to be reliable for any contract he may make.
WHAT ONE MAN HAS DONE. There are several interesting places in this region, that of Mr. H. S. Tyler, north of Bear Lake, being particularly worthy of mention. His shipping point is Dalton Station, on the Chicago & Lake Michigan Railroad. Mr. Tyler came bere a few years ago an invalid and without means. He went into fruit farming, recovered his health, and 18 now considered worth ten to fifteen thousand dollars. He is one of the most careful cultivators, and his place is a model of successful fruit farming.
Sach opportunities are open here to a thousand such men who are now languishing in cities for the want of healthy, remunerative employment. Industry, perseverance, and intelligent culture will accomplish the same results in all parts of the White Lake fruit region.
FRUIT EXPORTED. Mr. H. M. Gilman, Secretary of the White Lake Pomological Society, reports that 6,000 baskets of peaches, 200 bushels of strawberries, and six tons of grapes were exported from Whitehall this season, besides small quantities of other fruits.
NEW FRUIT FARMS--PRICE OF LAND. Mr. Gilman also informs me that there are six farms on the south side of White Lake, near to the water, specially devoted to fruit. They are all new farms and only three of them beginning to bear. That the upcultivated land of this region can be purchased at from $12 to $100 per acre, according to location and quality, the price decreasing farther from the lake.
INCREASING INTEREST IN FRUIT CULTURE. Mr. Gilman informs me that there is more general interest being felt in regard to fruit culture here than ever before, the present season having greatly encouraged growers, owing to both quantity and quality produced and prices realized. Many new orchards are being planted and tracts of ground being cleared for future planting. The prospect that Whitehall will become a prominent fruit port is rery encouraging.
PENTWATER, SHELBY, GOLDING, MEARS, PETITE POINT SAUBLE, CLAY
BANKS, HART, STONY CREEK.
OCEANA COUNTY AS AFFECTED BY LAKE WINDS. Lake Pentwater is located about twenty-seven miles north of White Lake, and the country between the two Lakes embraces some of the finest beech and maple land in the State of Michigan, with clay banks along the great lake. We can scarcely imagine a soil or situation better adapted for good general farming and for fruit than this. The land projects westward nearly midway between the two lakes, forming Petite Point Sauble, commanding the full sweep of the most prevailing winds from Chicago, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles of water, giving Oceana county the greatest possible advantage from the lake breezes on the southwest, while on the north west it is protected in a similar manner by the bay which commences at Petite Point Sauble.
THE LAY OF THE LAND. Passing along the Chicago & Lake Michigan Railroad from Montague to Pentwater, the rolling character of the land and the beech and maple timber, with here and there a small lake and creek, constitute the principal features, the settlements being new, but little fruit growing is yet visible from the railroad.
PENTWATER LAKE. Lake Pentwater is an irregular shaped piece of water three miles long, averaging half a mile in width and sixty feet in depth. The bar at the mouth has been so reduced by U.S. engineering as to afford a safe passage to vessels drawing ten feet of water, there being now twelve feet of water over it.
BEGINNINGS IN PRUIT CULTURE. Mr. Howard, member of the Executive Committee of the State Agricultural Society, has a good orchard near the village of Pentwater, which is handsomely located on the north side of the lake.
Mr. G. W. Grant has a five acre clearing on a ten acre block near the village which he commenced on seven years ago. He planted peach trees, but desiring to raise vegetables also, be used manure quite freely, causing a rank, sappy growth on the trees, and the natural consequence, the loss of the trees by winter freezing. He was more successful with plum trees, two of which, now seven years old, produced five and a half bushels. These were the Imperial Gage and Duane's Purple. The Jefferson plum also bears well. He has not yet been troubled with the curculio. Mr. Grant produces very large carrots, mangold wurtzel, etc., by manuring his sandy land.
There are numerous peach and apple orchards within a few miles of Pentwater, although not many in its immediate vicinity. At Hart also, the county seat, there are good productive orchards, Mr. Carver and Mr. Russel being prominent growers.
Mr. E. J. Shirtz reports at Shelby station, on the Chicago & Lake Michigan Railroad, good beech and maple land with good water. Apples a short crop this year, but fair quality. Peaches very good and of the best quality. Plums a good crop and very fine, the best varieties being the Lombard, the Golden Drop, the Yellow Gage, and Purple Egg. These varieties all did will. Pears very fine, the Seckel, Flemish Beauty, and W. Doyenné are the first and best bearers. Of grapes, which bore abundantly, the Concord, Catawba, Delaware, and Isabella are the leading varieties. But little damage has been done by insects. The little slug has affected the cherry and pear trees, eating the lining from the leaves, the remedy for which is dry dust or fine sand thrown thoroughly over the trees. This never fails to kill the slug.
AVAILABLE LAND. Mr. S. A. Brown of Grand Rapids runs one of the mills here, and owns large tracts of land which he is willing to sell cheap, or have improved on shares.
The Indian Rreservation, consisting of two townships of Oceana county and two of Mason county land, has been only partially taken up by Indians, the balance will probably be unreserved by act of Congress next winter, and will then, it is expected, be made subject to homestead entry one year before it is placed in the market for sale. This will afford excellent opportunity for actual settlers to make some of the finest farms in Michigan at little cost. The timber being well worth the cost of clearing, and the land when cleared, will be excellent for fruit and general farming purposes. It averages ten miles from Lake Michigan on its western line.
CAPABILITIES DEMONSTRATED. It has been shown that the finest apples, the choicest plums, and very good peaches and grapes can be grown in this region, but the home market is not yet fully supplied, and Moulton's fruit from Muskegon, was most prominent in the village stores.
MARKET AND SHIPPING FACILITIES, The home market is good, while the shipping by rail or water is already secured, and will soon be improved by the completion of the Detroit, Lansing, & Lake Michigan Railroad to Pentwater.
LUDINGTON CITY, AMBER, RIVERTON, SUMMIT, FREESOIL, GRANT,
PERE MARQUETTE LAKE.
LAKE PERE MARQUETTE AND SURROUNDINGS. Twelve miles north of Pentwater Harbor is Pere Marquette Lake, nine miles long and from half a mile to a mile broad. On the north side of this lake and open to Lake Michigan, is the busy, enterprising, and rapidly improving city of Ludington. No place that I have visited along the lake shore exbibits greater prosperity or promises more in the future than Ludington. Along the north side of the lake, for nearly two miles, are graded streets and beautiful avenues with shade trees and side walks. Many handsome stores, several hotels, good county buildings and residences, besides some of the finest mills, several of which are handsome structures, and the grading of streets give to Ludington the appearance of wealth and prosperity.
ATMOSPHERIC INFLUENCES AND SCENERY. The atmospheric advantage spoken of in the eighth article in relation to Oceana county, is equally enjoyed by Mason county. Grand Point au Sauble, near the center of the county on its west line, projects several miles west, giving to Mason county a frontage on the lake, with south-west and northwest aspects, and commanding, in the south-west direction, a sweep of about 180 miles of water, and another sweep from the north-west of fully one hun. dred miles. Although twenty days had elapsed between my visits to St. Joseph and to Ludington, I discovered little or no perceptible difference as to the effects of frost, although at several intervening points the frost king had greatly changed the face of nature. At the gardens of Hon. D. L. Filer and Mr. L. H. Foster, on the end of the avenue open to Lake Michigan, at an elevation of less than 40 feet from the lake, we found tomatoes sound and good, the leaves on the vines only slightly shrivelled, while in their front gardens Gladiolus, Stocks, Verbenas, Phlox, Coxcomb, Tritoma, and the sweet-scented Mignonette greeted us with their rich tints and pleasant perfumes, not even daunted by the first chill blast, and apparently wholly unconscious that they were twenty-five miles north of 43°-30®, and that it was October 21st. There we stood talking about fruit with Mr. Foster with these choice evidences of the Creator's favor at our feet, the bright, warm sun overhead, the gentle breezes sweeping up the gradual ascent, and the vast expanse of water, every ripple tinted with a golden hue, spread out beyond the power of vision to compass; the receding shore running north-west towards Point au Sauble on the right, the beautiful harbor with its busy little steamers and tugs plying for miles inland, and vessels loading with forest productions at the mills; the orchards and gardens about the city; beyond, to the south, a dark forest rising on ground two hundred feet above the lake, and extending as far as the eye could reach, offering to the hand of skillful industry a mine of treasure, and to the people good wholesome fruit in abundance, and we wondered if Moses when he stood on Pisgah viewing “the land of Gilead unto Dan," that land promised unto the seed of Abraham, could have seen a sight more beautiful or a land of promise more rich in Heaven's blessings. Well might the sainted Pere Marquette select this spot for his resting place,* giving to the lake the inheritance of his noble name.
FRUIT LANDS. Those high lands to the south, and these gently rising shores to tbe north, spread open to the lake, are destined in a few years to bear their burden of luscious fruit; the plum, the nectarine, the peach, and the grape, will here vie with each other in freighting steamers for distant and less favored shores, and when the pine tree shall have become scarce, and the lumber interest shall have departed for the remote south, or the less hospitable north, this goodly land shall send forth productions more valuable than lumber; crops that increase rather than diminish with the rolling years, each little hill rejoicing as a homestead, and every stream floating, not as now with logs, but with boat loads of the varied fruits of the season.
This is no fancy sketch, for although all the fruit trees here have been planted within ten years, there was at the county fair this year a magnificent display
* Pere Marquette died here May 18, 1675. Was buried on an elevation selected by himself, but two years after, his remains were removed io Mackinac and interred in a vault in the Mission Church of St. Iguatius.