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Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan in the southwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Grand Beach is a small beach community near the Indiana border.

Grand Beach is separated from Indiana by the village of Michiana, along the coast, and by just over a mile in the southern portion of New Buffalo Township in the east. US Highway 12 forms the eastern boundary of the village, while Lake Michigan forms its western boundary. Other routes to or from the village include Lubke Road and Wilson Road, while Grand Beach Road parallels US-2, forming an access road to the larger highway.

Within Michigan, the nearest cities and towns are Michiana, New Buffalo, Three Oaks, and Galien. Except for Michiana and New Buffalo, several Indiana localities are closer, such as Michiana Shores, Duneland Beach, Merrick, Davis, Ambler, Long Beach, Springfield, and Pottawattamie Park. Chicago, Illinois is about seventy miles from Grand Beach, along the southern part of Lake Michigan.

Grand Beach has always been a small village. Despite a current population under three hundred, it has never been larger than it is now.

It should be no surprise that the area that was to become Grand Beach was originally part of the land used by the Ottawa, Pottawattomie, and Ojibwa people, although there is no evidence of a Native American village there.

Shortly after European-Americans began coming to the area, the pine forest was cut and what remained was considered to be without much value. Floyd R. Perkins, an owner of the Fuller Advertising Company, purchased a parcel of land on the dunes that he intended to use as a shooting preserve. Later, he decided to sell it, assigning the advertising compy to a young advertising writer on his staff.

When Perkins read the copy, he was sold on his own property and decided not to sell it, but to establish a summer colony. To market his new venture, he formed a company, known as the Grand Beach Company, and began buying up land. When the company had acquired four miles of beach land, they began developing it, building roads, waterworks, bridges, cottages, and golf courses. His perception of Grand Beach was as a short-stay resort. Vacationers could take the Michigan Central Railroad to Grand Beach Station, rent a cottage for a day or two, eat in the dining hall, and enjoy bathing in the lake, and other activities.

In 1907, twenty portable cottages were purchased from Sears and Roebuck. Phillip Hesse, a member of the Grand Beach Company, was the first to establish permanent residence in the village. In 1911, twenty-eight privately owned cottages were added to the community, besides the portable cottages owned by the Company, and many of these were owned by people who became year-round residents of Grand Beach. Three Frank Lloyd Wright homes were built in Grand Beach, one of which still retains much of the original design.

Also in 1911, the Grand Beach Company opened its first golf course, a 9-hole course set on seventy-five acres, its links extending inland from the railroad station. At that time, the Michigan Central made three stops a day at Grand Beach, bringing passengers from Chicago, a trip of about an hour and fifteen minutes. A post office was established on May 10, 1912, with Philip Hesse as the first postmaster. The office operated until June 30, 1957.

In the 1920s, an entertainment pier was built out onto Lake Michigan, offering dining and dancing. A footbridge linked the pier to the Golfmore Hotel, just across White Creek, in Michiana.

Later, a second nine holes were added to the golf course. At one time, there were twenty-seven holes, but it was later cut back to nine holes that run from the clubhouse to the village gate and back.

The Grand Beach Property Owners Association was formed in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Its officers attempted to collect money from the owners to pay for needed repairs, but not everyone would cooperate or be able to pay their share. To collect taxes, Grand Beach was incorporated as a village in 1934.

A small resort community from its inception, Grand Beach does not have any industry, although a few businesses serve a local clientele as well as vacationers and travelers along US-12. The Grand Beach Municipal Golf Course occupies a significant portion of the village.

The focus of this category is on the village of Grand Beach, Michigan. Topics related to the village itself, or any businesses, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational facilities.

 

 

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