on Lakeshore Drive ancient trees shadow the roadway and the lake is close.
Just past the Douglas public beach comes a change. Now there is a place
between the road and the lake. Wooden bridges and walkways lead to cottages
set among the trees and dunes. In a minute the road curls around a dune and
the Lakeshore Chapel looms ahead. A sharp turn to the right heads one back
to the real world. A left turn down a narrow and private lane leads down to
a glen of cottages, trees and sandy beach. This is Shorewood.
At the end of the 19th century the setting was discovered by pioneer summer
residents with the energy and the means to create a haven on Lake Michigan.
They sought to create a summer place for their families away from the heat
and the urban turmoil of St. Louis and Chicago. One of the group wrote,
“Here is a spot where all neighbors are good neighbors, where you can turn
the children loose above the age of five, and with a minimum of supervision
down to the age of one, with reasonable assurance that they can be found
intact when required through the use of a whistle or a bell. Not much can
happen for the beach sand is soft and the water is shallow a long way from
John Alvord was a Chicago engineer who specialized in planning and designing
public improvements. He first found the land and then convinced others to
join him in creating the Shorewood Association, a corporation organized
under the Michigan Summer Resort Act. There were eight incorporators who
bought stock creating the initial capital of $10,000. The land was purchased
from Grace Reid in 1901 and deeded to the association in 1902. Alvord
surveyed and platted the area, creating the lots, private roads and parks.
The association retained title to the land and sold shares of stock to the
incorporators and others which allowed them to build cottages on their
selected lot. Today there are some 25 cottages on the Association land.
In 1904 the Douglas Lakeshore residents – who had been holding church and
Sunday school in their cottages - raised $1600 through donations and built
the wonderful Lakeshore Chapel – truly a historic “Little Church in the
Some five generations–many descended from the founding families-–have
labored to create and treasure the experience known as “Shorewood”.
by Jack Sheridan