After attending a wedding in Kalamazoo, MI with my cousin and partner, we made our way due west to visit a friend in South Haven, MI. My friend, Marc, that now resides there, told us about a beautiful trail that provides great views of Lake Michigan. He also hinted at strange ruins that was a mystery as to what these artifacts were and where they came from. If you take a look at the pictures attached, you will find columns that we came across. Marc just sent me the following article he found, after years of wondering what these columns were and why they were there.
Lost Mansion Trail
There is a story about a man who, many years ago, wanted to build a mansion in the majestic sand dunes of Southwest Michigan. While acquiring a site near South Haven, and drawing up building plans, he happened to find a fully constructed stone mansion for sale across Lake Michigan in Chicago. He bought the mansion and his dream was within reach. He had the mansion disassembled. Then carefully marked and numbered each stone component, carefully packed them and loaded them onto a cargo vessel. The voyage across the great lake was uneventful. The crew dropped anchor and began the task of unloading the large heavy stones and moving each one onto shore and up the dunes to the building site. As luck would have it, Mother Nature chose this moment to throw a tantrum. A massive storm blew in, swamped the transport craft and much of the cargo ended up in Lake Michigan. Some parts of the mansion had been unloaded, but much of it was lost. You can still find a large number of the mansion parts scattered across the top of the dunes on the North Point Trail.
The North Point Trail is located in North Point Park south of South Haven, Michigan. The park is commonly known as the “Old Boy Scout Camp,” as this area has been used and maintained by Boy Scouts from Southwest Michigan for many generations. They have had several Eagle Scout Projects in the park including planting of hundreds of indigenous trees, maintaining the trails and erosion control measures. The trail head is right next to the road where there is a small parking area. This is a natural trail through a forest of tall trees. Stay on the main trail. After some mild climbing as the trail wanders upward into the dunes you will come to a dead end where you can go right toward the lake or left into more forest. Go left and take the short trail down to another T. Here you go right and after a short walk will have another gentle climb to the mansion ruins and a fantastic view of Lake Michigan. When you are ready to return, you can retrace your route or take a different path. From the ruins return to the T. Instead of going left to retrace your path you can go straight. This will wind through the forest and eventually bring you back to the main trail where you turn right to the parking area.
North Point Park contains sand dunes made of sand deposited in the Great Lakes Basin as the glaciers receded thousands of years ago. North Point is part of the world’s largest freshwater dune system, which stretches 100 miles along this part of Lake Michigan. These coastal sand dunes are special environments that support more unique species of plants, insects, animals than any other ecosystem in the Great Lakes Basin.
South Haven, Michigan is a very busy place during the tourism season. There are some local treasures that are easy to miss in all of the hustle and bustle.
Pilgrim Haven & Sea Glass – Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is a great place if you want to get close to Lake Michigan without climbing any dunes. The haven is 27 acres, including a stretch of Dyckman Creek, and over 750 linear feet of beach along Lake Michigan. The property which was used as a camp for over 70 years is now being protected from development as a natural area. There is very easy pathway through the preserve which includes a picturesque bridge over the creek. The beach easy to get too and is covered with stones and pebbles making it a place where fossils are everywhere and sea glass is being formed constantly. Better parking and barrier-free beach access are planned for the future.
The Michigan Local Market is a small shop on the corner just down from the movie theater. They
helped make this book possible and know where all the cool destinations are. Inside the shop are the works of local artists and craftsmen. Everything in the store is made in Michigan.
Captain Nemo’s may not be the most famous eating establishment in town, but it is a local favorite for reasonable prices and great food. This is also the place to get that fantastic Sherman’s Ice Cream if you don’t want to wait in line out at ice cream stand.
Visitors to southwest Michigan soon realize that this is blueberry country. DeGrandchamp Blueberry Farms is regularly voted the best U-Pick farm for blueberries. You don’t even have to pick them if you don’t want to. They have them ready to go.
North Point Park – From downtown South Haven take the Blue Star Highway south. Continue past Route 43 to Ruggles Road to the right. You will only go a short distance, just past 77th St. and there is a small parking area on the right. See the green sign that says North Point Trail.
Pilgrim’s Haven – Take the above mentioned 77th St. toward Lake Michigan. Take 18th Ave. west. It should be the first turn west, it is a dead end, there may not be a sign. At the end of that road is Pilgrim’s Haven. If you miss 18th Ave. there is another pedestrian access on Fire Lane L.
Important Notes: North Point Park contains several unmarked trails that branch off the main pathway. If you stay for the sunsets and plan to return to the parking area later, these trails, again unmarked, can be confusing in the dark.
Currently, there are no comfort facilities at either trail.
With that said, Marc’s reply to the article was the following, “”Finally, but so vague! Who was it, what year, what house? Crazy the whole mansion is in the lake”