Fresh Air Camp

Object ID: 2013-020-002

Date: 1907


The Detroit Free Press began the Fresh Air Camp in 1906 to give underprivileged Detroit children the experience of two weeks of recreation in the countryside. Most were on their first trips away from home, their first rides in new modes of transportation – interurban trolleys, automobiles, buses – which brought them to a whole new world in only an hour. Until 1962 the camp gave children sunshine, fresh air, fun and good food. Generations of village residents shared in play and entertainment with the visiting children.

Merrill Mills Dream

Object ID: 2013-020-003

Date: 1890


Merrill B. Mills had many plans in the early 1890s for his land around Sylvan Lake. His Sylvan Lake Improvement Association developed lakeside subdivisions and a resort hotel. He hired architect
W. B. Stratton to design a resort hotel. The Sylvan Lake Inn was built in 1893 on this Point, including a dance pavilion, bowling alley, billiard parlor and riding stables. To make it easier to visit, in 1895 Mills built an electric trolley line along Garland Avenue linking the Inn to Pontiac. Festivities were followed by financial difficulties, and the Inn burned to the ground in 1903.

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.