Albert Kahn Helps Countryside Improvement Association

Object ID: 2013-001-026

Date: 1920


The Countryside Improvement Association, as reported in the Summer newsletter (Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society), is celebrating 75 years of philanthropic activity in West Bloomfield. One of their 1920 projects, as reported by Gail Smith, occurred when…” it was brought to our notice that the (Detroit) Free Press Fresh Air Camp very much needed a suitable place for the children to eat. The first reaction to this was an appropriation of one hundred dollars, but just prior to paying this amount, our president made a personal visit to the damp and realized that wind and rain and clouds of flies just isn’t an added comfort when one is eating, and resolved that if the organization was assuming this responsibility, it must be done worthily. So we rallied to the challenge and began planning ways and means of raising the money. Dancing parties at the club, card parties everywhere, bake sales, etc. This went on until we had a sufficient sum to make a start toward an attractive, screened, and convenient mess hall, the plans having been donated by Albert Kahn. Mrs. Kahn was a member of the association. On July 10, 1920, we dedicated the building and named it Humphrey Hall, (now Sylvan Lake Community Center) after Miss Humphrey, who had given much of her time and thought to the carrying on of the work begun by Mr. Arthur Mosely at an earlier date.” And coincidently, the Kahn’s daughter, Rosalie Butzel, has just donated to the society, Albert’s street and name sign for his famed “Summer Cottage”. (1917-1968, located on the north side of Walnut Lake) along with a 3 story hand-carved bird house constructed by Mr. Hamlin, a conductor on the Farmington-Orchard Lake Interurban line, caretaker of the Campbell complex on Apple Island (1902-1905), and father of Winford Hamlin, Albert Kahn’s caretaker for forty years, who is himself quite a crafty woodworker. It was Winford, you may recall, 93 years young, that gave us a working model of the water-barrel cart and Apple Island ferry at the last annual meeting of the Society.