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South Haven in Van Buren County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

West Michigan Summer Resorts / Jewish Resorts

 
 
West Michigan Summer Resorts Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 4, 2021
1. West Michigan Summer Resorts Marker
Inscription.  
West Michigan Summer Resorts
After the American Civil War (1861-1865) a new wealthy class arose with the time and means to escape the grime of industrialized cities for the summer “Season.” In the 1870s the Little Traverse Bay region became one of Michigan’s first popular resort areas. Early vacationers came by passenger steamer on the Great Lakes. Railroad companies later developed their own resorts. By 1922 improvements on the West Michigan Pike and state parks made the dunes of West Michigan much more accessible. Inexpensive automobile travel enabled the rising middle class to vacation in Michigan. Many were immigrants from Chicago and modest cottage resorts catering to a specific ethnic population soon dotted West Michigan’s shore.

Jewish Resorts
During the 1880s, Jews fled persecution in Eastern Europe for the United States with a dream of owning their own land. Some received loans from the Chicago Jewish Agriculture Society to buy farms in the South Haven area. Around 1917 these farmers found themselves renting rooms to the growing surge of auto tourists vacationing
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in the area. At the time, Jews had difficulty finding places to stay because facilities excluded certain ethnic, racial, and religious groups. South Haven’s Jewish farmers converted their farms to resorts to meet the demand. Their success led others to open Jewish resorts, most along North Shore Drive. By the late 1920s more than sixty Jewish resorts were operating in South Haven, resulting in its nickname “The Catskills of the Midwest.”
 
Erected 2010 by Michigan Historical Commission - Michigan Historical Center. (Marker Number L2212C.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceParks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1870.
 
Location. 42° 24.578′ N, 86° 16.632′ W. Marker is in South Haven, Michigan, in Van Buren County. Marker is on North Shore Drive, 0.1 miles north of Dyckman Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Located in Packard Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: North Shore Dr, South Haven MI 49090, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. South Haven World War I Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Haven Peaches (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Home of Heroes (approx. ¼ mile away); Coastal Crossroads
Jewish Resorts Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 4, 2021
2. Jewish Resorts Marker
(approx. ¼ mile away); Time Capsule (approx. ¼ mile away); Catskills of the Midwest (approx. ¼ mile away); Local Pioneers (approx. ¼ mile away); Strike Up the Band! (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Haven.
 
West Michigan Summer Resorts Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 4, 2021
3. West Michigan Summer Resorts Marker
Located in Packard Park
Jewish Resorts Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 4, 2021
4. Jewish Resorts Marker
Looking towards the beach access to Lake Michigan in Packard Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 3, 2021, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. This page has been viewed 536 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 3, 2021, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 29, 2024