Our next move however was to see about a quick run of the ghost town of Idlewild, which was of interest to Navi, and since it was near the Marlborough Ruins. A stop in Mount Pleasant delayed us a little too long, and by the time we got to Lake County it was already dark and freezing. We also managed to get my truck stuck in a ditch in Idlewild, thanks to the freshly fallen dusting of waxy snow over an icy road. After spending quite a few minutes of exhausting labor, we had the truck freed. Navi got a picture of the Lake County Courthouse and we continued straight to Muskegon to get a crust-house motel room to lick our wounds (get drunk) from this non-start.
We decided that even though the "RealTalk Temperature" was a bazillion degrees below zero, a leisurely stroll out on the breakwall would be nice.
From above it looked like a paper mill, and that assumption turned out to be correct. Better yet, it was no longer operating, but to our chagrin it was under demolition this very minute.
For what it’s worth this was the Central Paper Co., who had begun operations in 1900, and was the first paper mill in the U.S. to use the sulfate process. In the old days Muskegon was one of the great lumber capitols of the north, with logs floated downriver to Lake Michigan where they were sawn and shipped to cities like Boston, New York, Detroit, and the like, wherever society’s elite were building fancy mansions for themselves, driving up the cost of virgin Michigan pine, maple, and oak. Naturally a city such as this also fell into the paper-making business as well, though that industry was mostly centered to the south, at Kalamazoo.
Vacant firehouse downtown:
The lumber baron ghetto:
It’s worth noting that the art deco Muskegon Water & Sewage plant, which sat wide-open and in ruins for many years was also demolished by the time we got there. I believe there were a couple other things we checked out but came up snake eyes as well. Wow, this trip was beginning to blow. Time to move on to a different city, and a different county: Grand Haven, the seat of Ottawa County.
Previously submerged water caves containing ancient aboriginal pictograms have surfaced, and shallow-water shipwrecks have been exposed in many places as well, most notably at Grand Haven. A newspaper article with some flashy photos promised a veritable “ship graveyard” once forgotten, was now laid bare for all to see. How could we not go see that?
As it turns out, McInerney made seats for Cadillac and Hudson automobiles. Doesn’t get much more “Michigan” than that.
So yeah we didn’t get in there. Or the Hotel Rowe. Which I’ve been scouting for literally five years.
The next morning made our last-ever trip to the Brewster-Douglas Projects where we sat around and drank moonshine with Crawly and Chad, before heading down to one of our favorite bonfire spots in Delray for the night.
References:Working for the Japanese, by Joseph J. Fucini, p. 10