Hotels, Motels, and Inns
When Colin Campbell purchased Apple Island and set about to establish his summer home there, he and his family launched a movement that was to slowly alter the social and economic structure of old, agriculturally-oriented West Bloomfield. The enchanting vistas and shimmering lakes that had so enraptured the earliest settlers of the region were now being introduced to a wider audience. The first trickle of these visitors came prior to the Civil War, usually guests of the Campbells, but later friends of other lakeside residents. Some of these tourists were merely content to drink in the quiet grandeur but others brought tents, shotguns, fishing tackle, and, in time, sailboats.
Family picnics became popular along the lakeshores. Nor were the margins of these waters reserved solely for strangers. Hardworking farm families made their presence felt after spring planting was done. One of their favorite locales was the William Cummings property in section 15, where one could go skinny-dipping in Upper Straits Lake. Resort hotels and an academy would further expose the region to outsiders. About this time, West Bloomfield got its railroad in the form of the Michigan Air Line, which became part of the Grand Trunk System. Entering the township in section 30, its rails ran east-northeast before curving up to pass between Orchard and Pine lakes, leaving the area in section 1. A depot at Orchard Lake and another at Sylvan Lake were provided. The winds of change that had been gathering over the horizon slowly swept down across the township fields, bent the dry stalks of yellow corn, and whistled through the cracks of weather-beaten barns. Excerpt from "Song of the Heron" a history of West
Bloomfield Township by Charles Martinez.