The Community Center is a destination for Clark Lake history. The intention is to display artifacts on the walls, on shelves, or in cabinets. It’s part of Preserving Clark Lake’s Past, which is one of the Community Center’s missions. The house itself is an historical icon, having stood watch over Clark Lake from its Kentucky Point vantage, and having had the distinction of being floated on a barge to its present location. As time slips into the future, the house will say even more about the lake’s heritage. Though not a museum, the Community Center will speak volumes about Clark Lake through what it will display.
With the recent installation of the Jackson County Michigan Historical Society marker, a new addition is particularly relevant. In 1981, Susan Kopplin Kienholz created a drawing of the cottage owned by their family. Sue’s parents acquired the cottage in 1967 from Carlotta Graziani Wilson and her husband, Jim. When you read Carlotta’s piece on the Graziani’s experience at Clark Lake, this cottage enters into the story.
Thanks to Sue for generously donating this framed drawing to the Clark Lake Community Center. Once the description is framed, it will be placed at eye level, just below the drawing. Click here to read it.
A table, donated by Sue’s brother, John, will be placed just below the large photo where visitors can explore a copy of Ted Ligibel’s book, and the contents of a notebook full of additional historical information.
The main Graziani cottage on Kentucky Point was known as the Kentucky Homestead. Graziani’s also owned an adjacent vacant lot, and three more cottages to the east. The three cottages were already in place when Benjamin Graziani bought the land for the Kentucky Homestead he intended to build in 1899. He decided to keep them, and named them after counties in Kentucky. From right to left, they were Kenton, Campbell, and Boone. The photos were taken several winters ago.
After Benjamin’s passing, Carlotta and Jim spent summers in the Kenton cottage, while the Kentucky Homestead remained in the Graziani family. When Carlotta and Jim departed the lake in 1967, they sold Kenton to Susan Kopplin Kienholz’s parents, John and Jean Kopplin. You can read Jean’s Clark Lake Story by clicking here.
In this photo, you can see the Kentucky Homestead during the time it was used as the Clark Lake Yacht Club. The red arrow points to the cottage once owned by Carlotta Graziani and her husband, and later owned by the Kopplins.
In a few, well-chosen words, the Historical Marker tells the Graziani story at Clark Lake, how the cottage was saved from destruction by floating it down the lake where it became the Community Center in Jackson County’s first park.
The Community Center is a place where people connect. It’s regularly a venue for graduation and birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, reunions, life celebrations, showers, weddings, receptions, and a meeting place for lake organizations. Click here to see how others have enjoyed it. For rental information, please click here.