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

John Gurney Park / Auto Tourist Camps

 
 
John Gurney Park Marker (Side 1) image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 3, 2017
1. John Gurney Park Marker (Side 1)
Inscription.
John Gurney Park
Former state senator Theron Gurney and his wife, Helen, donated land to the village of Hart in 1912 for a park to honor their son, Lieutenant John Gurney (1871-1898), a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, had died at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War. In 1914 the Progressive Park Association erected the entrance arch as a memorial. John Gurney Park was one of several auto tourist camps developed along the West Michigan Pike during the 1920s. In 1921 the pavilion was built and the park was improved with water and other amenities. A 1921 Hart Journal called it "one of the most beautiful and spacious parks that any town in Western Michigan can boast." Hart Lake was created in 1925 when the Pentwater River was dammed for a hydroelectric plant

Auto Tourist Camps
With the introduction of the Model T by the Ford Motor Company in 1908, the automobile-previously a luxury-became something the working class could afford. Taking a drive soon became a source of recreation. Since no services were yet available, travelers who took long trips to scenic areas had to camp overnight, often on private land. In 1919 the Michigan State Parks Commission was founded to create a state park system that offered
Auto Tourist Camps Marker (Side 2) image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 3, 2017
2. Auto Tourist Camps Marker (Side 2)
public access to lakes and beaches and free camping to auto tourists. Before long camping became a national phenomenon. To meet the demand the Michigan Tourist and Resort Association proposed that five camps be built in 1920 along the West Michigan Pike, one of the state's first improved continuous highways. By 1923 Michigan had some 300 free auto tourist camps.
 
Erected 2009 by Michigan Historical Commission - Michigan Historical Center. (Marker Number L2210.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 42.274′ N, 86° 21.563′ W. Marker is in Hart, Michigan, in Oceana County. Marker is at the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Katheryn Street, on the right when traveling north on Woodlawn Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hart MI 49420, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pentwater Wire Products (approx. 6.2 miles away); Brass Anchor (approx. 6.2 miles away); The Lumber Industry (approx. 6.2 miles away); Graveyard of Ships / Veterans' Day Storm (approx. 6.2 miles away); Ships and Shipping
John Gurney Park / Auto Tourist Camps Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 3, 2017
3. John Gurney Park / Auto Tourist Camps Marker
(approx. 6.2 miles away); Lites Drug Store (approx. 6.3 miles away); White Elephant (approx. 6.4 miles away); Pet Hollywood (approx. 6.4 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  John Gurney Park. (Submitted on August 14, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
 
Categories. EntertainmentRoads & Vehicles
 
Plaque on Entrance Pillar image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 3, 2017
4. Plaque on Entrance Pillar
This park and memorial arch are a loving tribute to the memory of John Asa Gurney, USA, who fell in battle July 1, 1898 at Santiago-de-Cuba. This arch erected by loving friends - 1914 -
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 57 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 14, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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