I have been feeling really nostalgic for my Northern Michigan childhood lately. I don’t know if it is because I have been connecting with old friends, have kids now or I have been listening to Bon Iver beautifully sing Michicant lately, but something is gnawing at my roots. Sometimes living in Portland, Oregon and all her beauty, I forget how fortunate I was to grow up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I really have had the best of both worlds.
When I was a little girl my Great Uncle Jack Martin passed away. Upon his death my entire family inherited this “little” lodge on the Lake Superior Shore. Granot Loma.
My uncle Jack had inherited it from his wife, Joan Kaufman of the wealthy banking family of Louis G. Kaufman. Kaufman underwrote the construction of the Empire State Building in New York and had early involvement with General Motors and had amassed a lot of wealth early on. My Great Uncle Jack who worked on the property tending hog pens, fell in love with Louis’s daughter Joan and they got married. Rags to riches really. However, after a while they couldn’t afford the upkeep and Jack had to sell parts of the surrounding lands. By the time we inherited it was about 5ooo acres vs. the original 20,000 acres. However it was still grand.
My family is quite large on my mom’s side and collectively decided that they could not keep up with the work a lodge of that size would require and decided to sell it. At the time I thought it was wonderful. Being a young child I was to be one of the inheriters. The lodge sold for 5 million and by the time the money was all distributed I think I got a new bike and a boom box out of the deal. Sweet! Today I would give anything if we hadn’t sold it. I had no idea then the history that place held. Gershwin, Muhammad Ali, Mary Pickford, and Fred Astaire all hung out there.
Today it is up for sale again for $40 million and I just wish I had the funds to buy back my families history. Lucky for me the history and DNA of this place has been well documented online and I can share it with you. I even found out something new while researching this post, the lodge was constructed of timbers from Oregon. The Irony.