“When a community loses its memory, its members no longer know one another. How can they know one another if they have forgotten or never learned one another’s stories? If they do not know one another’s stories, how can they know whether or not to trust one another? People who do not trust one another do not help one another, and moreover, they fear one another.” (Wendell Berry, What Are People For)

Everyone has a story.  This page will link to memories for each person in the township who cares to share one.

Other resources

There are some fascinating things on the Antrim County genealogy website, including photos, cemetery records and more.

20 Responses “Ourstory” →

  1. Bill Bennett

    March 11, 2008

    What a wonderfull site… Torch Lake Views reflects the very soul of those of us who have been touched by the lore surounding this most beautiful lake and community. My Bennett family came to Antrim County way back in 1868 and now I represent the fourth generation.My Great Grandfathers Henry Bennett and Henry Dawson who traveled so many miles from Ireland to raise their families, break the Antrim soil, and view the lake views are now so honored too.


  2. Gerry Sell

    March 11, 2008

    Bill, thank you so much for your comment. I’d love to learn more about the Bennetts and the Dawsons, and to add links to their stories. I look forward to hearing any you’d like to share!

  3. I was looking for a true Traverse City (or surrounding area) pie to give as a gift. The name New York Cakes threw me. Had to look you up to make sure that these pies were truly from Up North!


  4. Gerry Sell

    July 4, 2008

    Well, T, what can I say – the Warners used to live in New York – thus the name – but these days they live in Eastport, and the bakery in Atwood is about as Up North as you can get this side of the Bridge. I really recommend the peach cream cheese bearclaws.


  5. Beth Dunham (Toner)

    August 18, 2008

    It was great to meet you! I will e-mail you some *great* photos.

    Thanks for arranging such a beautiful weather week for us. And young Joseph Toner was very distressed yesterday when we pulled into our driveway here in PA yesterday. It might have been the 12-hour car trip, or the fact that he realized we weren’t going to My Torch Ake anytime soon!


  6. Gerry Sell

    August 18, 2008

    Young Joseph is welcome back in Torch Ake anytime, along with you and the very engaging Viola. It was nice to meet you, too – I look forward to another installment of your memoirs, and to the great photos!

  7. Speaking of preserving memories, I have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One of the items on her to do list is to go back to the area of Torch Lake where her family spent time many summers. What she remembers is staying in “Lila’s Cabins” and she thinks they were on the southern tip of TL. She thinks they have since been torn down and replaced by something else. I’d really like to take her back there for a few days. Does anyone have information about the “Cabins” and their location? Thanks so very much, Vicki


  8. Gerry Sell

    September 24, 2008

    Hello, Vicki. My best wishes to your friend as she tends her to do list. She should just get up here now — there are still some warm Indian Summer days, the lake is every shade of blue, and there are hints of color in the woods. To me, this is glory time, with lovely vistas, local food at the peak of perfection, and no crowds.

    I don’t know of Lila’s Cabins, but perhaps other readers will, and I’ll ask around. There are a lot of amateur historians around here! Most of the summer cabins will be closed now, but there are other places to stay as a base, and lovely daytrips all around the lake. Ask your friend to tell you about all her summer memories – even show you old photos if she has them. Maybe it will help you to find Lila’s location, maybe it will help you find places to visit (Brownwood? Alden? Dockside?) – and maybe the memories themselves will be a comfort.



    March 6, 2010


    • Why, thank you, Jill. I seem to recall that there was general hilarity and that most of the funniest stories were yours. Actually, everyone told some pretty good stories, and my only regret is that there’s not a one of them I’m going to tell. It turns out there are some secrets in Central Lake Township.

  10. Carrie Perez

    May 18, 2010

    I found a very old picture of my Grandpa who used to come up and pick cherries in the summer. No, he was not a migrant worker, but a Michigander from Pontiac of Huron Indian and English decent. (my maiden name is not Perez. My husband’s father was a migrant worker here.) The photo was of my Grandpa standing next to an “Entering Antrim County” sign with blossoming trees in the background. Who knew I’d end up living here? Not I. I was born further north and to the east we’ll say, but never heard of this place or saw the photo until I met and married my husband. How much I have learned about my grandfather and family from just one photo and a couple of questions to my now 90 yr old Grandma!

    • Carrie, thank you so much for sharing that story. If you would like to post a copy of the photo of Grandpa here, I would be honored. How startled you must have been when you saw it for the first time!

      I think your Grandma and Nora Metz would have a lot to talk about. Michigan has a very long history of relying on vast movements of labor–not just for harvesting and processing, either, but before that for lumbering and railroads and ironwork and again for the auto industry. I’ve been astonished at how much my Civil War veterans and their descendants moved around in order to work, and at how many of them felt the pull of Torch Lake and kept coming back.

  11. Donna Brown

    May 23, 2010

    I’m trying to find my old school friend, Jane Pearl Martin, sister of Betty Beeby. Do you have any contact information? OR would you please pass my information on to her for me? We went to Central Michigan University together back in the 40’s.

    Thank you, I appreciate it.

    • Hello, Donna – Thank you for dropping by Torch Lake Views. I’ve forwarded your request to an appropriate family member, and would expect that she’ll get in touch with you in due course.

  12. Sarah Nevins

    July 15, 2010

    Hi Gerry, I’m so enjoying your Torch Lake web site! We’re former owners in Blue Heaven for over 50 years. Now I get “home sick” for my summers there. But your web site cheers me up. I was so glad you had the adventures of Tom and Joanne’s bike trip. I love the beautiful pictures and stories of the area. I’m learning so much more about Torch Lake. It will always be my summer home. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Sarah! Babs and I have often talked about doing a little history of Blue Heaven. It sounds like you should be one of the people we interview!

  13. thewellhousecircle

    August 14, 2010

    Hello, I have stumbled upon your blog on an internet wander and have been charmed and entranced by it! I loved the Wendell Berry quote, and the stories that you are documenting. When I first read the word ‘township’ I thought you must be in South Africa; then I saw County Antrim and thought, is this Ireland? Then I discovered it’s Michigan which took me back in time as that’s where my father’s from (but not County Antrim). I’m writing from rural Bedfordshire in the UK and have recently launched my own ‘community’ (virtual) blog. It’s early days so far but I’d be so pleased if you visited and commented some time, I will be keeping up with yours. Many thanks for a lovely end of day discovery!

  14. On March 8th I purchased the property commonly known as “Eastport Service.” Although I have plans of my own for the building, I am desperately looking for old photographs of the building and property throughout its years. I have one picture when it was an Amoco Gas Station. I would like to also find some pictures of it early on when it was a Shell Station. Any help would be great. I want to put the pictures up in the office of the shop. If anyone could even give me some leads or a phone number please do so. My number is 231-675-2348. Feel free to call me as well. Thank You!


  15. Jim Gainey

    December 16, 2011


    This is Jim from Eastport Market. I had Charter out today (12/16/11) to install HD cable and internet. IT IS WONDERFUL. The speed is amazing. Just wanted to let you know. Hope your experience with Charter is as good as mine has been. Good luck!


    • I’m so glad it’s working for you, Jim. I have a confirmed appointment for tomorrow morning–I appreciate the good wishes.

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