Area History

Part IV: The Sleeping Bear Dunes Park

In later years, Pierce ("Pat") Stocking had a profound influence on the area. Stocking was a controversial land speculator, lumberman, and developer who bought and sold thousands of acres of land. In anticipation of the National Lakeshore's creation Stocking purchased the Sleeping Bear Dunes. When legislation authorizing it was delayed for more than a decade, Stocking built his own "park," within which he created the first scenic drive that opened the Sleeping Bear Dunes to all Americans. At its entrance, a small, handmade sign said:

"Take only pictures, leave only footprints."

Today, the mouth of the Crystal River is part of The Homestead. So, too, is the site on which John LaRue had his trading post. "Fisher Lake", "Dorsey's Corner", and "Burdickville" seem more like neighbors than parts of history. Remnants of Mccarthy's dock, though visible, barely tell of the raly days. D.H. Day's farm - which is right across from the Dune Climb - is no longer active but still very beautiful. The National Park Service now owns the Sleeping Bear Dunes, D.H. Day Park, and Glen Haven and the buildings within it. A number of the buildings - notably, the Coast Guard Station, Life Saving Station, Glen Haven Canning Company, and D.H. Day Store - have been restored and are open to the public.

To bring this history to life, be sure to see D.H. Day's farm, the park he donated, and the buildings he built in Glen Haven. Also see D.H. Day's store and Glen Haven Canning Company, the remnants of McCarty's dock, the Coast Guard Station, and the Life Saving Station at Glen Haven. And, drive the Pierce Stocking Scenic drive, being sure to to stop at all of the scenic overlooks! 

About a hundred years after the first non-native visitors came into the dunes, another person who would have a great influence on the area arrived in a little town to the south. He was Dr. Joseph Maddy, the educator who founded the Interlochen Center for the Arts as a permanent, year-round training center for young musicians, dancers, actors, visual arts, and writers. During the summer, the Interlochen Center for the Arts  presents more than 750 programs of chamber music, orchestral works, instruental and vocal recital, opera, jazz, band music, and dance. Performers include students, staff, faculty, and world-renowned talents ranging from Willie Nelson to Itzhak Perlman.