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History

History Devils Lake Yacht Club
Devils Lake Yacht Club has a rich history and is located in Manitou Beach, Michigan.  Our facility was originally built in the 1870’s as the Pleasant Grove Hotel.  The Victorian era clubhouse is a historic landmark at Devils Lake.  In September of Devils_Lake_Yacht_Club_Seal_Tranparent1940, the Devils Lake Sail Club met with the Devils Lake Motor Club in the Pleasant Grove Hotel.  The meeting of these two clubs resulted in the formation of the Devils Lake Yacht Club (DLYC) in December of 1941. During World War II, members voted to retain the club in 1943. In that same year, DLYC member, Morris “Pappy” Crow, suggested the Devils Lake Yacht Club purchase the Pleasant Grove Hotel for $10,000. Today, the Devils Lake Yacht Club still stands on the South side of Devils Lake, where the club maintains the traditions started many decades years ago.

History of Devils Lake 
Devils Lake and Round Lake were first inhabited by Native Americans many years ago.  Chief Metwa and his tribe came here to camp during the summer months.  The wigwams of the tribe were located on the north and east side of Round Lake, with the council grounds established at the head of Devils Lake.  The Native Americans, so legend has it, gave the lake its name.  One day a Native American princess, an excellent swimmer, went swimming in Devils Lake near the north end council grounds.  She disappeared and was never seen again.  The Native Americans decided that the lake was the home of a devil who had claimed the life of the princess.  So it became Devils Lake, the Native American name was "Michenmanitou."  For many years a rocky area on the east shore of the lake was known as the Devil's Chair.  Just off the Echo Cove beach was a bottomless hole known as the Devil's Hole and it was thought to be inhabited by a monster which went down this hole, through a tunnel under the ground to Binn's Lake.  This monster was said to have a well-traveled path to Sand Lake and Wamplers Lake.  In April of 1833, the Honorable Orson Green and Joseph Beal's family camped on the shores of Devils Lake and slept under the "blue vault of heaven" on the land he settled which still belongs to his family. According to Mr. Green, "at that time there were no inhabitants, save the Native American, in all this country, from the Chicago Road to and into the states of Ohio and Indiana." 

Several other exploring parties visited this region in April and May and all of them entered their land in the township of Rollin as well. The area's first hotel called Allen's Landing, was built by John B. Allen in the 1870's, now known as the Devils Lake Yacht Club.  Mr. Allen also built the North End hotel.  This started an era of popularity which has never ceased.  At the turn of the century the elaborate Birdsall's Hotel which was built later became the Lakeview Hotel and Dance Hall and finally Tibbs IGA.  With the coming of the Cincinnati Northern R.R. and a branch of the New York Central, thousands of visitors came to Devils Lake and made it a very popular spot. The railroad even offered special rates.  Early rumor has it that Mr. Birdsall spent $50,000 developing this hotel and summer playground.  Two steamboats sailed the lake, having one as a double-decker with a sidewheel.  At the cost of one quarter, you could have a nice cool ride around the lake.  A channel had to be dredged at Cherry Point where the sand bar crossed the lake so that these boats could carry passengers and mail.  Before that time when the horse drawn threshing machines needed to go from one side of the lake to the other and crossed on the sand bar.   With the arrival of the automobile, the lake area began to develop as an all-summer, everyday playground.  As lakeshore property sold for cottages, the summer homes became thicker and thicker. The Beals, the Greens and other early settlers would not now recognize the lake they discovered in 1833.  Allen's Landing was purchased by E. C. DeMerritt and rooms were rented out.  For years Mrs. DeMerritt cooked famous chicken dinners and was said to have been an excellent cook.  Many activities took place on the hotel grounds and the biggest one during the summer was the Annual Farmers Picnic.  Folks from Hillsdale and Lenawee counties came to the lake for a holiday the last Thursday in August.  They came by train, horse and buggy, farm wagons and later by automobile. Concession stands lined the walk from the hotel to the area where the Manitou Inn now stands. 


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Pleasant Grove Hotel History
The earliest mention of development at Pleasant Grove came in 1880, when a new hotel was set to be built.  The hotel, it was announced, would be 36x80, 24 feet tall, built upon a high patch of ground west of the tree grove at the steamer launch landing.  The two-story hotel opened in June 1881 and was declared to be a fine addition to the tourism industry.  In 1888, it was determined that a third story of rooms would benefit the business, as it was in direct competition with the larger Lake View Hotel and Lake Rest Resort.  An expanded porch and verandah were built around the north and east sides of the hotel in 1909, which continued to operate until the late 1930s.  The old hotel came into the possession of the Devils Lake Yacht Club in 1945 where it was modernized in places to suit the needs of the organization.  The former hotel is the only surviving building from Devils Lake's early modern history.

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