Prospect Point Resort Hotel?
Jul 21, 2015 at 12:05 PM
Dr. Dave Seibold again provides our answer.
From his history tome, "Grand Haven in the Path of Destiny," Seibold noted that the site was known as Prospect Point Resort Hotel for just a decade, 1953-63. But its history goes back further.
The orchards and vineyards of Sunny Slope Farms was the original use of the 900-foot shoreline on the north side of the mouth of what is now called Pettys Bayou in Spring Lake Township. In the 1880s, the property was acquired by the Marshall Field Co. for a camping retreat for the Chicago department store's executives. Marshall Field later built a 10-room lodge.
A Chicago man, Christopher Beale, bought Field's lodge in 1895 and named it Prospect Point Manor. Although Beale died in 1904, his family kept the resort until 1941. Seibold said the 1934 brochure for the resort advertised room and meals for $3.50 a day.
Joe Bachunas, who operated several other resorts in Michigan at the time, bought Prospect Point Manor in 1941. At that time, it consisted of the lodge, a barn, 10 small octagon-shaped cottages and a pair of two-bedroom prefab cottages. During World War II, the hotel was enlarged and the old barn was turned into four rental units.
Dave and Mary Coats bought the place in 1953 and renamed it Prospect Point Resort Hotel. That's what you remember it as, Tim.
"Business was good and for a time the Arbutus Bank Hotel, which had closed after World War II, was rented as auxiliary space for the overflow of guests from Prospect Point," Seibold wrote.
A big attraction at the resort was Dave Coats' 26-foot Chris Craft speedboat, which he was said to have kept in mint condition and gave guests evening cruises on Spring Lake. Also during the 1950s, Lyle "Whitey" White gave weekly water skiing lessons at Prospect Point.
The resort was sold in 1961 and business declined, prompting its closure after the 1963 season. A Grand Rapids insurance company bought the property in 1970 and, with the help of a Grand Haven commercial developer, had plans to revitalize the resort until a fire in June 1971 destroyed the hotel.
The LBB Development Corp. acquired the property in 1976 and built the Prospect Pointe condominiums in the late 1970s.
To see the Mailbag answer about the Ripple Haven Resort, click here.
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