Oakland County Boat Club

Object ID: 2013-020-004

Date: 1912-2012


Many founding members toiled long days in the early automobile factories to gather $500 to buy this site on Sylvan Lake. The first meetings were held in an old shed used for a boat livery. In 1916 the Boat Club was built with rooms for dining, dancing and meetings. The club’s prospects dimmed when returning World War I veterans abandoned their boats for the new automobile craze. Eventually
automobiles and the trolley line brought new members to Sylvan Lake looking for relief from the crowded roads and city life.

Shores of Sylvan Lake

Object ID: 2013-020-005

Date: 1890


Sylvan Lake is called “” The Prettiest Little City in Michigan.”” Its name means “wooded shady lake” for its unique natural beauty. A trip to Sylvan Lake gave people a new attitude on life. After the 1890s, trolleys and automobiles allowed people to visit Tower Beach on the Telegraph Road side of the lake for slide rides, picnics, fishing and swimming. In the 1940s marshy lakefront property on the south side of the lake was filled to create Ferndale Beach and Park for the enjoyment and growth of the community.

Traveling Sylvan Lake

Object ID: 2013-020-006

Date: 1900


Trolleys and automobiles appeared in southeast Michigan around then, and more people could enjoy distant places. Travel time from Detroit to Sylvan Lake’s natural beauty and attractions was slashed
to about an hour. In the early 1890s, entrepreneur Merrill B. Mills planned hundreds of acres of his property at Sylvan Lake as streets, subdivisions and the luxurious Sylvan Lake Inn. Even more boldly, he created a local link to the regional trolley system, inviting visitors and investors to the community he was creating.