Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Sunday, July 25, 2010

History of the Lodge

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Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI 1990's
Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI 1990's
Birch Lodge currently sits on 19 acres with 1/4 mile of frontage on Big Trout Lake (aka Carp Lake), just west of the village of Trout Lake, Michigan off of Hwy 40. Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the lodge was built in 1911 by Dr. Edgar Ford as a T.B. sanitarium and summer resort. At the time the fresh air of the north woods was considered "restorative" and part of the cure. Dr. Ford died shortly before the lodge was completed, and the lodge was opened as a summer resort.

Described in the St. Ignace newspaper of Oct., 19111, the lodge was the "ultimate design complete from health, pleasure and recreation points of view". In addition to the guest rooms, a recreation room, large dining room, kitchen and laundry; the doctor included a private office and consulting room, and a hospital facility in the back wing. Also offered for the guests were boating equipment, and a dance pavilion.

The lodge was purchased in 1954 by Cliff and Ann Badgley, who remodeled part of the lodge into the "Birch Bar", which was the area hot spot until Cliff's death in 1981. The Badgley's also built an eight unit motel in 1964. The motel accommodations were designed to take full advantage of the lake views, with large rooms having picture windows on the lake side.

Much loved by guests, Ann continued to run the business, although she closed the lodge and focused only on the motel to keep things manageable. Ann has passed away, and we have now purchased the property with the intention to preserve the lodge and restore it to it's function as a "restorative" lodging for summer guests. Our plans are continue to take motel reservations while the lodge is converted to a bed and breakfast.

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