It’s Valentines Day, and Clark Lake is no stranger to the concept behind it—love. Countless romances over the years fill memories. Some of them were summer flings, others resulted in marriages and families. If you type “marriage,” “wedding,” “proposal,” “engagement” in the search bar on this website, you’ll see how this happens. Articles in the “My Clark Lake Story” or “Historical Perspectives” section will show how Clark Lake played cupid.
How many engagements and weddings have actually occurred at Clark Lake? That number may remain forever unknown. But it would be a good guess to say “many.” An early wedding story involves a couple whose presence at the lake has subsequently reached mythical proportions. Ted Ligibel, who wrote the Clark Lake history book, tells of Rollo and Virginia Every’s wedding on the water. As most familiar with lake history know, Rollo was the proprietor of the Eagle Point Hotel and resort. Ted interviewed Virginia much later and preserved the details of the September 3,1926 wedding.
It was fall, and Rollo was busy closing up at end of season. Virginia says the idea to marry on the water was “hatched” the night before in Rollo’s small office at the hotel. Virginia had always thought she would be married in a church; but if not in a church, the ceremony had to be on the water at sunset. Rollo’s best man would be Wayne Shawaker, a close friend. Rollo and Wayne tied their two boats together. The bridesmaid was Janet Pugh. Rollo’s cousin, Louise Every was the soloist who brought along her guitar for accompaniment. They found a willing minister from Brooklyn to conduct the service. At the ceremony he intoned “You are united in holy matrimony here on the placid deep.” The tied-together boats had launched from the west side of Eagle Point to catch the setting sun. No surprise that a breeze had something to say about what happened next. As the ceremony progressed, the boats drifted west of Kentucky Point to what was then known as Gilbert’s Point (North Shore where the Pineapple used to be). They almost ran aground, which Virginia found amusing, and caused her to laugh. Anyone who knew Virginia would not be surprised by that. Later, the wedding party adjourned to the hotel, where Virginia’s mother had invited all the hotel guests to join them for a baked chicken dinner.
This website debuted in August 2013. Since then, stories about weddings and engagements have added to Clark Lake’s historical lore. One of them took place on Eagle Point. Sally Dandar (Ligibel family) married B. J. Lyons on July 20, 2013. Quoting the website story, Sally says “we were in a magical land—a breezy summer afternoon with lots of sun; once it set, lanterns burned brightly; live music echoed across the lake and the evening ended with a fireworks display!” The Eagle Point location had special significance as you peruse the article by clicking here.
Keeping to the Eagle Point theme, Brett Potter and Denise Denman married at sunrise on the front lawn of the cottage that once belong to Rollo and Virginia Every. The evening of their wedding featured a toga party. Click here to read about it and view photos.
In addition to weddings, Clark Lake has been the venue for proposals and engagements. One of them occurred during Raft-O-Rama on August 2,2015. It was then that a sign on a raft in the parade posed the question from Shawn Tracy to Cindy Blevins. Click here for the story. Also two follow up stories tell what happened later. Click here for the Valentines story in February 2018; and another story on July 26, 2019.
The Searles family reaches back several generations at Clark Lake. Ellen Searles met Adam Luhmann at the University of South Carolina. They remained friends for 10 years. Then came the pandemic. Adam spent some time with the Searles’ at Amelia Island, Florida, and then the summer of 2020 at the lake. He worked remotely as did Ellen. The romance started in Florida and blossomed at Clark Lake. Once the issues of the pandemic receded somewhat, Adam and Ellen moved to Colorado briefly, and then returned to Michigan to live in Grand Rapids. They were both at Clark Lake on a rainy Friday in August. That’s where the conspiracy unfolded. About fifty Clark Lakers and other friends were hiding the Searles’ garage. Everyone but Ellen knew what was about to happen. As Ellen and Adam were on the deck looking out over the lake, Adam dropped to his knee.
The wedding is planned for December 31, 2022. Other photos from that day.
Not far away from the Searles cottage, another 2021 Clark Lake engagement occurred. It happened in a place that had become meaningful to both of them. Cody King and Jackie Byron have always enjoyed Jill Bentley’s horses and being in the pasture around them. It was in one of those pastures that Cody proposed. Click here to read the story and view the photos.
If you’ve been following the website, you may know about the most recent Clark Lake proposal. At the Clark Lake Cup earlier this month, Brandon Sneed and Morgan Hojnacki became engaged. Both had skated for Almeada Court in the hockey game. While both were on ice skates in the Eagle Point Cove, the event happened, surrounded by team mates and spectators. Click here and scroll down for the story.
Whether a fleeting romance or marriage and family, Clark Lake holds a large store of memories. Interestingly enough, a video intended for Thanksgiving shows how this worked out for some of the people in this story (about 55 seconds into the video).
This Valentines Day story only scratches the surface. So many love affairs are a part of Clark Lake. Weddings and receptions occur on the water, on the lake, or nearby. They happen at private residences, or in some cases, at the Clark Lake Community Center. Wherever, whatever, or whenever, Happy Valentines Day!