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Michago is a private property in the U.S. state of Michigan along the east side of Lake Michigan between White Lake and Benona Shores at the intersection of Webster Drive and Scenic Drive in Oceana County, which is divided into numerous lots containing houses and cabins that are used mainly as vacation destinations.
Michael Blecha and his daughter Tricia with their dog Sugar, and Joseph and Patricia Chaput on the porch at their cottage, summer 2008
Michago Beach Estates
Michago is on 73 acres near Lake Michigan, divided into numerous properties with cabins and beach houses. The full name of the area is Michago Beach Estates.
Being located right on the coast of the lake in western Michigan, Michago is well positioned to feel the benefits of favorable geography. As weather systems tend to move from west to east, propelled by the jet stream, the unique north-south alignment of Lake Michigan makes its east coast (the western Michigan side) a land of beautifully sandy and accessible beaches up and down that side of the lake. The winters are extreme (as in the rest of Michigan), but during the summertime the cool breezes off the lake and the fresh summer air make the region highly attractive for vacationing.
Michago evolved during the 20th Century from farmland next to dunes alongside the lake in the early years of the 1900s to the vacation escape that it had become by the 1980s. Today it continues to serve as a destination for several families during the summer, the older generations of whom still remember much of the place’s history.
1921: Father Furman would take a cruise from Chicago occasionally right into White Lake–on one visit he found and bought a house in Montague. That is where Elizabeth Furman & Albert Furman had their honeymoon–and also on that trip came ‘Uncle Eddie,’ Uncle Mike and Fr. Furman (and the cook was already at the house, preparing for the guests). On the trip to Chicago, they left at 6 a.m. and it took until 2 a.m. the next morning.
c. 1929: After driving around the area, Fr. Furman purchases farmland which included an old house, chicken coop, wood shed, and a barn on the property, as well as lakefront.
c. 1930: Fr. Furman dies, leaving the house to his brother John and the rest of the land to John and various nieces and nephews.
1931: The wedding of Ed and Pearl is held at a Church in Montague. Patricia Chaput, 4 years old at the time, and cousin Charlotte were flower girls. Dinner was then held at the Colonial Inn hotel in Whitehall, then the party went back to Michago. In a time before electricity in the area, light was provided for the reception held in the field outside the house by circling the cars and turning the headlights on. Every radio was tuned to the same station so everyone would dance.
1934: Albert Furman acquired John Furman’s piece of land from his mother as he bought the property piece by piece from his cousins.
1930’s and 40’s: Visiting frequently with his wife Elizabeth, son Albert (Bud) and daughter Patricia as well as many friends, Albert modernizes the old house when electricity came to the area by the lake. Water was still brought up by bucket from a fresh water spring down the hill near the beach. Cooking continued on the old wood stove, until purchased by Quinn Sutton in the 1980s from Dan Kyter.
1946: Albert builds the big house, currently blue, on the foundation of the old barn.
1959: Albert Furman dies. In 1961, Elizabeth Furman puts the property up for sale for $65,000.
c. 1963: Chaputs and Nickels and Dieschbourgs form a corporation and purchase the property for $55,000, planning on subdividing and selling lots.
The families share the houses with an eye to building their own in the future.
c. 1963: The partners built a small cottage on the bluff for rental, called the Juneau.
c. 1963: Next door to the Juneau, a larger cottage was built for rent (and the owners’ use) called the Olso.
1964: The “Beaver” was built by the entrance to the property for use and rentals.
c. 1965: Nickels buy the big house for $16,000.
c. 1966: Tom Dieschbourg builds his house on the beach.
1967: Joe Chaput builds his cottage on the bluff with the help of 3 summer apprentices and his sons, Peter and John.
c. 1969: purchase of Annex Cottage, the house next to the Chaputs, built by John Lulich, who had decided to move to Wyoming.
1981: Chaput Beach house built before a law forbidding the building of such types of lakeside cottages goes into effect in the state of Michigan.
1980s: Lake Michigan’s level rises, badly damaging a few of the beach houses and requiring rebuilding.
c. 2006 Old house dating back to the pre-Michago days is torn down and a new house is built on the lot.
notable properties at Michago
The Beach House
roads inside Michago
Michago Drive is the main (north-south) dirt road running into Michago that connects to the paved county streets Scenic Drive and Webster Road.
Sunset Drive is the road that runs parallel to but west of Michago Drive and runs into Toboggan Drive–along it are the sites of the old houses like the “big house” from the Albert Furman era. (see timeline)
Toboggan Drive is the dirt road that crosses Michago Drive and runs east-west down along the creek to Surfside Drive.
Surfside Drive runs north-south along the lake; it is the dirt road along which the beach houses are built. It crosses Toboggan Drive
nearby bodies of water
Shelby is a farming community
Stony Lake (the town)
Silver Lake (the town)
is a village in Oceana County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,914 at the 2000 census. The village is located within Shelby Township. (source: en.wikipedia.org 12/12/2007)
Hart Historic District
western Michigan lighthouses
White River Light Station
(Sometimes referred to as the White Lake Lighthouse, the station is currently an historic site.)
Silver Lake lighthouse
map of the region
(Michago is west of Rothbury)
map of Michigan
(Michago is north of Muskegon along the Lake Michigan coastline)
related items on the web:
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