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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sylvan Lake in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Great Escape

Traveling to Sylvan Lake

 
 
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 15, 2021
1. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker
Inscription.  
The world got bigger for most people around 1900
Trolleys and automobiles appeared in southeast Michigan around then, and more people could enjoy distance 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.

You Auto Know
Garland Avenue has a boulevard because the trolleys ran down the center of the street until they were removed in 1928.
 
Erected 2013 by MotorCities National Heritage Area, National Park Service.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1900.
 
Location. 42° 37.183′ 
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower left image image. Click for full size.
By Photo courtesy of Annalee Kennedy
2. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower left image
Children pose during a summer picnic visit to cool down at Sylvan Lake, about 1916.
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this page online
N, 83° 19.762′ W. Marker is in Sylvan Lake, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker is at the intersection of Garland Street and Oakwood Street, in the median on Garland Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Keego Harbor MI 48320, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oakland County Boat Club (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); "X" Marks the Spot (approx. ¼ mile away); New Life for Children (approx. ¼ mile away); Ordered by Mail - Sent by Rail (approx. ¼ mile away); Sylvan Lake Inn (approx. ¼ mile away); "Body by Fisher" (approx. 0.4 miles away); Learning and Growing (approx. half a mile away); Welcome to Beaudette Park (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sylvan Lake.
 
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — upper middle image image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society
3. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — upper middle image
A trolley on the Orchard Lake Division of the DUR (Detroit United Railway), which ran down Garland Avenue.
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower middle image image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Oakland County.
4. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower middle image
"Driving to the Lakes, Pontiac, Michigan" postcard, about 1910. It became the "in" thing to spend the day fishing, boating and swimming.
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — upper right images image. Click for full size.
Top: Courtesy of Oakland County; bottom: courtesy of Helen Jane Peters.
5. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — upper right images
Top: "Interurban to the Lakes" postcard, about 1910.
Bottom: Sunset at Sylvan Lake, 2010.
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower right images image. Click for full size.
By Maps courtesy of Brian Golden
6. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker — lower right images
People came to Sylvan Lake on the DUR trolley system from Detroit and elsewhere, as shown in the 1909 route map at right. In 1895, Merrill B. Mills built a link to this system through Sylvan Lake, as shown in the map above. The trolley stopped at the corner of Garland Avenue and Pontiac Drive, and a horse and buggy picked up visitors to go to the Sylvan Lake Inn.
The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 15, 2021
7. The Great Escape: Traveling to Sylvan Lake Marker
View looking toward the east.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 17, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 17, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Jun. 18, 2021