Rosy Mound is a funny name

Arnie of Grand Haven asked, "Where did the name Rosy Mound come from? You had a nice article about the school the other day, which got me wondering about the name."
Mark Brooky
May 24, 2013



The area gets its name from wild roses that once populated its Lake Michigan dunes.

"Allegedly, the dune was named by either early settlers who found the top of it covered with wild roses or by Native Americans for the rosy hue cast on the dune at sunset," it is explained in a passage from the website.

But a May 1862 story in the old Grand Haven News asserts that a prominent local citizen of the 19th century came up with the name:

"Rosy Mound received its beautiful and significant title from Hon. Timothy Eastman, who, probably, was the first white man that ascended its summit, and found its sides and apex crowned with wild roses in richest profusion, imparting the most pleasing emotions to his delighted senses."

According to Dr. Dave Seibold — in his book, "Grand Haven in the Path of Destiny" — the name caught on and the big dune on the shore of Lake Michigan in Grand Haven Township forevermore was called Rosy Mound.

Sand mining over the years reportedly reduced the 360-foot-high dune of the 19th century to less than 200 feet today.

By the way, Eastman was the first Ottawa County clerk in 1838 and became an associate judge that same year. He became a county judge in 1847, and his son married the daughter of the Rev. William and Amanda Ferry.

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I attended Rosy Mound Elementary School in the late 1950's and 1960's and our teachers would take us on field trips every so often climbing to the top of the great dune. On one trip we picked wild Dew berries and Black berries to make homemade jam for our parents and I remember seeing a few wild roses growing on the wooded east side of the dune close to the top. I also remember attending square dances for us students in the early evening hours. When the Cuban missile crisis took place we had atomic bomb drills and we would go the bomb shelter located at the south end of the building and I remember the day President Kennedy was killed on a Friday, November 22, 1963. I liked going to Rosy Mound and when I look back at all the activities and field trips we took I see I was very fortunate to have been able to go to school there.

Grand Haven Happy

I remember riding our bikes down Lakeshore to the hill and climbing Rosy Mound many times in the 1950's. As an early teen it looked more like a mountain to me then. That soft sand steep hill was brutal but fun to climb up. 3 hard steps up and then the uncontrollable slide always back down 2 steps. Then repeat all the way to the top and plopped sweating like butcher. Gaze around a while and then the real fun part of bounding down the steep sand hill as fast as we could with monster length hopping step leaps. Who cared if you fell as the sand was so soft it never hurt! Then back up the hill again! Very fond memories!

Tires me now just thinking about it! Maybe I'm a lot older now, ya think? Sure was a lot higher then than it is now but I'm still not about to do it again at my age! Hey, anyone game to carry me up there to the top???


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