What unites the Clark Lake community is the love of the lake. And, with this love comes an indefatigable interest in its history. On this website there are three sections that spotlight history–My Clark Lake Story (real life experiences of those at the lake), Historical Perspectives (where you are now) and Tributes (stories of those who left an imprint on the lake but are no longer with us).
This section, Historical Perspectives, is devoted to the history of Clark Lake–photos, notable events, and virtual artifacts. An example of the latter is a find by Bill Leutz–a description of Clark Lake from 1903 that predicted trolleys would line its shores by 1923.
Ted Ligibel, who wrote the history of Clark Lake (see book cover), now adds a virtual artifact to this website. “It’s one of the earliest, if not the first, state government maps of the county”, says Ted. And of course it includes the county’s favorite lake– Clark Lake. According to a 2013 Cit Pat article (posted on MLive), the map was created in 1844 and “though there were previous surveyor maps, this is the first detailed map that indicates some of the geological and other highlights of the county a little more than a decade after its settlement.” Ted indicates that the map was created by Douglass Houghton, while he was state geologist.
Consider what early map making must have required. The Cit Pat article quotes Houghton’s description of the challenges: “Wading the streams by day, tortured by swarms of mosquitoes at night – often short of provisions, and often drenched by rain – were it not that courage is uplifted by the love of science, both for its own sake and the good it is to accomplish, the task of the pioneer explorer would be hard indeed.” Houghton perished in Lake Superior on a survey mission.
As you look over the Clark Lake inset, you’ll notice a settlement to the west called “Fentonville.” Anyone heard of it? That perhaps deserves a bit more research.
Ted explains that the late Joe Collins gave him the map as the Clark Lake book was being written. Joe Collins had purchased it from the Michigan Historical Collections of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.
The view below includes more of Jackson County.