Michigan Shoreline Tour: South Haven … and the Friends Good Will

Friends Good Will

Friends Good Will, photo by Doug Langham

Doug writes that the Michigan Maritime Museum’s historical replica of the famous sailing sloop Friends Good Will sails daily from the South Haven harbor. Follow that link for the tale of the original Friends Good Will and the building of this replica. (also check out Doug’s daytime photo of the sloop)

The Wikipedia entry for South Haven has all your facts and demographics and says that most of the city is in Van Buren County, with a the very north portion in Allegan County. Probably the best resource for South Haven history is the city of South Haven’s history page. It notes that the city was originally founded by J.R. Monroe, who was granted a land patent from the U. S. government in 1833 for 65 acres of land along Lake Michigan’s shore. The city didn’t get going until the 1850s when sawmills at the mouth of the Black River were established and fed the growth of the town (and the timber-hungry city of Chicago). South Haven’s “glory days” were probably when:

The resort business had its beginning in the mid-1800’s at the home of Mrs. H. M. Avery. It was to experience phenomenal growth and became South Haven’s most colorful era. By the turn of the century, thousands of visitors were arriving by steamer and train to enjoy a memorable vacation. Lodging was available in magnificent hotels, farm resorts, family homes, or picturesque little cottages along the river. Entertainment was unlimited. Choices included pavilions, several theaters, a casino, an opera house, an amusement park with a roller coaster, and much more.

Tourism remains the main business of South Haven and the South Haven Visitors Bureau and Great South Haven Chamber of Commerce can help you plan a visit. You can look in on the town with the South Haven web cam, view the Flickr photo map for South Haven and the Google map for South Haven.
Coincidentally, yesterday’s post was from South Haven too. View more South Haven area photos on Michigan in Pictures and also explore South Haven on Absolute Michigan.

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