I was stationed to work as a Park Ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from 1984—2005. During that time I was lucky to have the chance to get to know most of the folks around Port Oneida, the lakeside farming community within the park. I first started taping some of their recollections in 1992, when Laura Basch happily filled some 14 hours of tape with her encyclopedic knowledge of Port Oneida goings-on, gained from a lifetime near the top of Basch Road. (Her neighbor Charlie Miller later noted, “She was a talking newspaper.”) Since that time many others have shared stories, data, photos, documents, and whatever else might serve to give the rest of us some idea of how their community worked.

This gathering of information is done under the National Park Service’s volunteers program, and all of the recordings, images, and other collected materials have been given to the NPS and the public domain. Digital copies are available for public use at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, and at the Glen Lake Library in Empire. The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a partner in the project, providing ongoing support such as funding for transcription of the interviews, making the information more readily available.

The following are books I’ve prepared to pass on some of what has been shared with me. In order to keep purchase prices as low as possible and maximize accessibility, they are sold without profit—

The Burfiend and Baker Farms—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida cover

The Burfiend and Baker Farms—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida

An elder statesman passed from Port Oneida a few years ago. Descended from two of Port Oneida’s founding couples, and having spent a lifetime working as fisherman, dunemobile driver, Coast Guardsman, farmer, builder, deputy sheriff, and County Magistrate, if you needed to know how something was done around Port Oneida, it was, “Just ask Jack.”

Fortunately, throughout his 92 years Jack Barratt gave generously of his wide-ranging knowledge of Port Oneida ways. This book is based on oral histories and family photos donated by Jack, his wife Lucille, and his cousin George Burfiend.

More information & to purchase….

The Frederick & Margretha Werner Farm—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida cover

The Frederick & Margretha Werner Farm—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida

This second volume in the Images & Recollections from Port Oneida series focuses on the old barn and farm at the end of Miller Road, long known as the Miller Farm (but now designated the Frederick & Margretha Werner Farm). It also covers the neighboring Richard Werner Farm and the Warner Farm.

More information & to purchase….

The Thoreson Farm and Its Neighbors—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida cover

The Thoreson Farm and Its Neighbors—Images & Recollections from Port Oneida

This latest in the Images & Recollections from Port Oneida series is based mainly on the oral history interviews and photo collection of Leonard Thoreson. Leonard tells about about his ancestors’ early years on the farm, his parents’ lives, and his own boyhood there. An audio CD is included

More information & to purchase….

Dottie Lanham of Burdickville cover

Dottie Lanham of Burdickville

Although the major focus of this series is the Port Oneida area of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this one centers on the nearby village of Burdickville (my home).

Dottie Lanham, a fourth-generation citizen of Burdickville, has donated use of her collection of historic photographs, and spent many hours providing associated oral history information. Dottie Lanham of Burdickville presents some of those photographs, accompanied by notes drawn from her interviews. There are also some images, interview excerpts, and information from some of Dottie’s neighbors.

More information & to purchase….

Boudewijn & Kate DeKorne cover

Boudewijn & Kate DeKorne

One more Burdickville book—A 40-page collection of photographs and related information about the beginnings of this family in America, and their lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and at Glen Lake. This is an expanded fourth edition.

More information & to purchase….

A Farm Album from Michigan’s Dutch Colony: An Oral and Photographic History cover

A Farm Album from Michigan’s Dutch Colony: An Oral and Photographic History

The story of the community of Netherlanders who came to Western Michigan during the mid–1800s—their background in Europe preceding the wave of emigration; the journey to America; the terribly difficult early pioneering years; and life during the decades that followed.

More information & to purchase….

A Bench Over Glen Lake cover

A Bench Over Glen Lake

This one is not actually a book! It’s a bench, and an overlook—and they’re not for sale-but you can see a video about them—

More information & to purchase….

Links to Related Organizations

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sand Hill Nature Education: My wife Alice's site, which includes great information on Sleeping Bear area phenology--signs of the seasons, etc.

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear

Manitou Islands Memorial Society

Homestead Resort Sewage Issue: A website concerning the problem of blowing sewage spray in the Port Oneida area

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes