Area History

Part III: D.H. Day

In 1870, the Northern Transportation Company bought Glen Haven and the cordwood operation to serve its fleet of 24 steamships. Eight years later, D.H. Day a land developer and agent for Northern Transportation, found his way to Glen Arbor. Day was smitten and had, within three years, purchased the Northern Transportation Company's properties.

The core of his business was lumbering but Day was an early proponent of tourism and agriculture. He operated two passenger and freight steamers form the little towns of Glen Haven and Glen Arbor to Milwaukee and Chicago. And, his farm boasted 5,000 acres of apple and cherry trees, as well as, a large dairy. To enhance his tourism and farming interests, Day converted the dormitory at Glen haven to the Sleeping Bear Inn and built the Glen Haven Canning Company. 

Although Day's business activities benefited the area in many ways, Day's work in the field of conservation may have had a more lasting, even if long-delayed, impact. Day served as Chairman of Michigan's first State Park Commission and, in 1919, donated 32 acres on the shore of Lake Michigan as the D.H. Day State Park. That park is now a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and serves as one of its two campgrounds. 

With increased maritime traffic in the part of Lake Michigan which lies between the Dunes and and Manitou Islands (called the "Manitou Passage"), and the large number of vessels visiting Glen Haven and Glen Arbor, risks increased as did tragic accidents. Thus, a Coast Guard station was established at Sleeping Bear Point in 1901. It was moved to its current location sometime thereafter. The Life-Saving station followed in 1931. Both remained in operation until 1944.

Part IV: The Sleeping Bear Dunes Park