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    The History of Cass Lake, Michigan

    March 17, 2021 at 12:13 am · · Comments Off on The History of Cass Lake, Michigan

    The History of Cass Lake, Michigan

    Another name for Michigan is “The Great Lakes State,” and it is an apt title given the number of natural lakes in the area. With such an abundance of lakes in every corner of the state, it is no wonder that fishing, water sports, and other water-related activities are so popular here. Many lakes will even have a sandy beach, making its shores the perfect place for a fun day out with family or friends.

    Of course, not every lake in Michigan is the same. They come in all shapes and sizes, with some being better for outdoor activities than others. From all the lake options you have, however, one of the best choices to make is Cass Lake, MI.

    What is Cass Lake?

    Cass Lake is just one of the many freshwater lakes located in Michigan. More specifically, it is within the affluent Oakland County and just around 30 miles away from the big city of Detroit. This is around the Southeastern Michigan area. With this strategic location, you can bet that there are a lot of activities going on in and near Cass Lake at any time.

    The Perfect Destination

    Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or on the lookout for water sports, Cass Lake is the perfect destination. It is definitely one of the reasons why people love Keego Harbor lake apartments.

    Cass Lake, Michigan

    River Sun

    Many people might be enjoying the sandy beach experience at Cass Lake today, but most of them probably do not know its history. Not all the local lakes in Oakland County have such an interesting background. Since Cass Lake is also next to some valuable waterfront property, according to real estate listings, any potential investors should also look into the history of the place.

    If you are planning to visit Oakland County and pay a visit to Cass Lake, here are some historical facts about the place:

    1. The Original Purpose of Cass Lake

    The lakes of Cass Lake were once a section of the Red Lake Trail. The latter constitutes several interconnected waterways and was mostly utilized as a highway for trappers, traders, and Native Americans. This trail of water is stretched from the southmost part of Leech Lake to the Red River of the North.

    2. The Old Name for Cass Lake

    The Cass Lake we know today was originally named Red Cedar Lake due to the trees that grew on it. However, the name changed in order to honor the Governor of the Territory of Michigan. His name was Lewis Cass, and he used to be a part of the military before becoming the governor of Michigan in 1813.

    The governor is still remembered in Oakland County, the lakefront areas, in Waterford Township, West Bloomfield, and most of Michigan. Michigan Governor Lewis Cass is most known for negotiating the treaties with Native Americans for establishing American settlements.

    Michigan Explorers

    3. The First Michigan Explorers

    Cass Lake and its lakefront areas are where the first outsider explorers came within Michigan. They first scoured West Bloomfield (or West Bloomfield Township) and then headed east to Waterford Township. Before Waterford Township, however, they also encountered what is now called Orchard Lake and Orchard Lake Village.


    After they passed Orchard Lake Village, they also saw and explored Pine Lake, Union Lake, and several other lakes in the area. For more information on the lakefront areas, it is wise to know everything you need to know about Cass Lake apartments.

    4. The Name of West Bloomfield Township

    West Bloomfield’s name is not a very complicated deal; it came from the windflowers growing in the greater West Bloomfield area. The explorers and first settlers in Michigan found them in the lake front properties alongside Cass Lake.

    Needless to say, the West Bloomfield area was very attractive to the earliest Michigan American settlers. Cass Lake Front had large fields, farmlands, and several other beautiful natural resources. Incidentally, these large fields now make a great place for cross-country skiing today.

    Fisherman with rod, spinning reel on the river bank. Sunrise. Fishing for pike, perch, carp. Fog against the backdrop of lake. background Misty morning. wild nature. The concept of a rural getaway.

    The Main Attraction

    The lakes of West Bloomfield were probably the main attraction for the settlers. West Bloomfield and Waterford Township had not just Cass Lake, but also Orchard Lake, sparkling water, a canal front, and several waterways.

    Today, we know Cass Lake, Waterford Township, West Bloomfield, and Keego Harbor as some of the best and most affluent places in Michigan. They are also excellent spots to settle down and raise a family or further one’s career.

    5. Glacier Activity

    We all know that Orchard Lake and Waterford Township are areas near Cass Lake, but we may not know how Cass Lake actually came about. Basically, this is a glacial lake formed after the occurrence of a glacier activity. This kind of lake occurs when a glacier erodes some of the land, which creates a depression. Then, this depression fills with water when some of the glacier ice melts.

    Glacier Lakes

    Glacier Lakes

    Experts now believe that Waterford Township and other areas near Cass Lake might have been glaciated as well. This resulted in several glacier lakes in the area in addition to Cass Lake. This is why there are so many water sport activities in the region, with cross country skiing options in the winter. For more summer activities, you have an option to go to places such as the Dodge State Park or the Pontiac Yacht Club.

     6. Cass Lake Led to Industrial Growth

    Many of the Michigan Lakes, including Cass Lake, are directly responsible for industrial growth in the area. A lot of people were drawn to the Cass Lake Front area due to its sweet, fresh water and the mill power availability there. Milling industries were soon powered through the water currents from Cass Lake, Keego Harbor, and Orchard Lake Village. A base was ready for Henry Fords’ efforts in making village industries.



    Ford set up several small auto plants within the Cass Lake area. His aim here was to give easy access to people and decentralize automatic operations from the major industrial locations. As most early industries required hydroelectric, the best strategy was to make them along the waterways.

    7. A Boost to Property Value

    There is no denying that Cass Lake has increased property value in its nearby areas. This is why places, such as Waterford Township and West Bloomfield, have higher property costs than the surrounding areas. There are a lot of people who would pay high prices for the sake of a lakefront home by Cass Lake. For a more cost-effective housing option, you may want to check out the top Cass Lake apartments in Michigan.

    Up North

    8. The Lakes Used to be “Up North”

    There was a time when the citizens of Metro Detroit saw the Oakland County lakes as being in the “up north” area. This basically meant that the Cass Lake Canal Front area, Keego Harbor, and Cass Lake were mainly for the wealthy and affluent classes only.

    People would scramble for the lakefront properties around the Cass Lake area while housing companies also had cottages for rent for anyone who wanted privacy, yet proximity to Cass Lake.

    Perfect Dwellings

    At present, these cottage rentals act as permanent structures in the Orchard Lake and Waterford Oakland County area. They can be seen along the shorelines of both Cass Lake and Orchard Lake. For people who love nature, these dwellings with a lake view are like a dream come true. These homes give the residents a view of some gorgeous sunsets and allow them to experience nature like never before. This is one of the reasons why nature lovers might prefer Cass Lake over other places.

    Cass Lake: A Popular Destination

    The importance of Cass Lake lies in its history and the events that occurred around it in the past. Now, it is a very popular destination for those who want to enjoy nature, go fishing on a regular basis, or just relax and unwind. During the summer months, you can see a load of sunbathers on the sandy beach down at Cass Lake. The one-mile shoreline is more than enough to accommodate tourists, though the place does get crowded at times.

    Happy crazy friends diving from sailing boat into the sea - Young people jumping inside ocean in summer vacation

    Something for Everyone

    It is not just sunbathing and relaxing at Cass Lake, though. There are also pontoon boats available for rent. If you would like to try something different, go for a challenging canoe ride. Swimming here is also an excellent exercise; it cools you off and relaxes you as well. Overall, there is something for everyone to enjoy whether they live near Cass Lake or not.

    Canoe resting on a dock

    The Takeaway

    The history of Cass Lake is certainly a rich and interesting one, which makes it one of the best spots to visit in Oakland County. If you are interested in investing in the lake front properties around Cass Lake, contact a local real estate agent. They might be best equipped to identify prospective properties consumers can invest in.

    If you would like to settle down here for some time or the rest of your life, Keego Harbor apartments might be the best option next to Cass Lake, such as Cass Lake Front Apartments. For more information on the Michigan lakes in Oakland County, you may also want to read up on the top five lakes in Oakland County, MI.

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    Keego Harbor, MI History: Everything You Need to Know

    June 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm · · Comments Off on Keego Harbor, MI History: Everything You Need to Know

    Keego Harbor, MI History: Everything You Need to Know

    Maybe you are a history buff, or perhaps you just want to know more about the city you will soon call home? Whatever the case, Keego Harbor has a fascinating history and beautiful city motto “Heart of the Lakes.”

    Where is Keego Harbor, Michigan you ask? Located in Oakland County, Michigan, Keego Harbor is a small town with humble beginnings. Fun fact: this Michigan city is the third-smallest in the entire state. With that being said, Keego Harbor, MI actually has a lot to offer its residents and visitors.

    For starters, this small city’s motto, attributed to several nearby lakes, makes it clear that boat life is more than just a fun phrase. Here, residents take full advantage of Cass Lake, Union Lake, and Upper Straits Lake. Moreover, this city is not far away from Sylvan Lake and Dollar Lake.

    Keego Harbor, MI History

    Of course, this amazing city was not always an outdoor recreation and watersports mecca. In fact, life in Keego Harbor in the early 1800s was more focused on farming, fishery, domestic work, merchants, and trade skills. Nevertheless, there were a few well-off individuals who frequented these parts strictly for a little R&R. That being said, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let us start at the beginning.

    Early 1800s

    Like most of the country, Keego Harbor was first settled by Native Americans. However, the non-native residents first began settling here in the mid-1820s. As briefly mentioned, these settlers were your typical working class of the time and made a living on their newly acquired land.

    It was not until the late 1890s that there was an influx of employment opportunities and people. Thanks to the Detroit Urban Railway building, a trolley line that connected Detroit to Pontiac by way of Keego Harbor in the 1890s, the Heart of the Lakes went from a small working-class town, with some Cass Lake, Michigan vacation rentals for the affluent, to a more accessible area for businesses and residential communities. Though things were beginning to look up for this area of Michigan, Keego Harbor had yet to be declared its own official city until the early 1900s.

    1900s to 1950s

    One of the pivotal moments for this area of Michigan came in 1912 when a lawyer and real estate investor named Joseph E. Sawyer bought a substantial amount of property here. Sawyer then proceeded to develop his land and carve out a canal from Cass Lake to Dollar Lake, which later he referred to as the Harbor. Sawyer then took the Ojibwa word for fish “keego” (from The Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow) and named the entire area Keego Harbor.

    With big plans in mind, this future city was going to be a major Oakland County resort/vacation spot. However, these ambitious plans were put on hold indefinitely. Yet, another blow to the area was that despite having the name of Keego Harbor in 1912, this particular spot remained a part of West Bloomfield Township until 1955. On March 25, 1995, Keego Harbor finally became a city.

    1960s to 2000s

    Now an official city, Keego Harbor made a name for itself as not only a tourist attraction and vacation spot, but also as a wonderful place to live. Single-family homes, small lakefront cottages, and amazing apartment complexes steadily increased in numbers.

    Consequently, the population grew; and in the early 2000s, roughly 3,000 people called Keego Harbor home. This overall growth led to more businesses, Keego Harbor parks and rec areas, Keego Harbor restaurants, and an abundance of recreational facilities. What is more, two beach accent points and a boat launch took beach and boat life to the next level.

    In terms of the demographic of Keego Harbor, as time went on, this small town/lake area of Michigan became more diverse. Furthermore, this laidback community also began having a mix of both white-collar and blue-collar workers. Learn more about the history of Cass Lake, Michigan here.

    2001 to Present Day

    Now, this fabulous beach town is home to almost 3,500 people. Nevertheless, present-day Keego Harbor continues to offer a welcoming and close-knit community with almost endless recreational activities.  Thus, if you are moving to a brand new apartment in this city, you will feel at home here in no time at all (learn how to find an apartment in a new city here).

    Moreover, now that you have a better understanding of this lake town’s roots, you will become one of the locals with ease. In the meantime, get ready for life at the lakes and probably the best summers of your life. Checkout all of the free summer activities for kids near Keego Harbor, MI.

    Everyday Life in Keego Harbor

    A quick look at daily life in Keego Harbor will show you a family-friendly community of hard-working individuals who love a good bonfire by the lake. Residents here also do not mind spending their downtime enjoying this city’s sleepy resort-like downtown area. Nights are often spent at fantastic lakefront restaurants and bars. Weekends are spent exploring nature trails, biking paths, museums, local markets, and annual festivals. You can even try your hand at learning to stand-up paddleboard (speaking from experience, it is definitely not as easy as it looks). Of course, if you still need a few more reasons to look forward to apartment living in Keego Harbor, then come out to Cass Lake Front Apartments and see for yourself.

    Exploring Your Community

    By now, you may have noticed that Keego Harbor is quite the place to live. So, take your time moving into your new apartment (here are some tips for moving into an apartment), and when you are ready, hit the town.

    Whether you are about that boat life or not, there is still a wealth of fun waiting just around the corner from your new apartment. For starters, you can take a stroll down memory lane and check out the Orchard Lake Museum. This particular museum allows you to get a close-up to what once was.

    Historical Sites

    Moreover, the Orchard Lake Museum itself is a historical site. Built in 1854, this museum was once the Orchard Lake House, and later the Orchard Lake Hotel. The hotel operated until roughly the late 1930s. At that time, the Orchard Lake City Hall was constructed in place of the 1850’s hotel and is the current structure that houses the museum. As you may recall, West Bloomfield Township and Keego Harbor were once the same; thus, even though this museum is in West Bloomfield, it still highlights the past of this lovely area. Another historical site in the area worth checking out is the Old Indian Trail Historical Landmark.

    Outdoor Recreation & Fitness

    Of course, you can go to the beach and go sailing through the lakes if you so desire, but don’t forget there is more to Keego Harbor’s outdoor recreation than its many lakes. For instance, there are gorgeous outdoor parks, like Fran Leaf Park, Sunset Park, Baxter-Morgan Park, Firefighters Park, and Hester Park. Choose any of these incredible outdoor spaces for a picnic by the pond, a leisurely bike ride, a soccer game, a refreshing swim, or to watch your children play outside for once. Likewise, if you want to maximize your fitness potential on the days you are not outside living your best life, then stop into Bloomfield Fitness for a personal training session or two.


    Finally, if you are a foodie or you have currently been surviving on carry-outs, Keego Harbor has got you covered. There are several restaurants and bars that will satisfy any and all cravings, like the Brewhaus Bar and Grill, The Lodge, Harbor Steak House, Gino’s Restaurant, and Indo. Embrace Nutrition is also a lovely smoothie and energizing tea spot if you are health-conscious with a sweet tooth. Plus, you can drive a few miles towards Orchard Lake Road and dine at J. Alexander’s or grab some freshly prepared goodness from Whole Foods Market.

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