The Crystal Lake Township Master Plan was adopted May 21, 2014.
A sneak peek from the Introduction to the Lakes to Land Community Master Plan…
Legend has it that Crystal Lake was formed by Paul Bunyon, a mighty lumberjack whose mighty big boot carved a footprint along the shore of Lake Michigan. What we know to be true is that Crystal Lake, one of the most beautiful in the world, gave rise to one of the most sought-after communities in Michigan.
Crystal Lake is the oldest township in Benzie County. Its 1859 organization predated the county itself by four years, and its vast area included nearly the entire county. Benzonia Township separated from Crystal Lake Township in 1861, taking with it the tracts that would become Homestead, Inland, Joyfield, Weldon, and Colfax townships. Blaine and Gilmore townships separated in 1871 under heavy protest from Crystal Lake, and Lake Township broke off in 1873.
In 1877, a library fund was started by Amos D. Perrin, H.B. Balch, I.S. Marion, and two brothers by the name of Chase. They eventually grew the library to over 700 volumes. At least 40 of them were in Scandinavian languages and 30 more in German, reflecting the diversity of Crystal Lake Township’s settlers. The library remained independent until 1898, when it combined with the Frankfort Literary Society to form the Frankfort Public School Library.
At the turn of the century, the resort lifestyle was at its peak and residents from the southern reaches flocked to Crystal Lake’s shores. A slew of summer resorts cropped up, each one catering to a slightly different crowd. The Robinson Resort was one of the first when it opened its doors in 1891. Pautz’s resort offered boat and canoe rentals, ice cream, and a beautiful park and picnic area that welcomed locals as well as guests. There were also religious retreats, notably the Congregational Summer Assembly and the Christian Assembly. Osaha-of-the-Dunes was founded in 1920 as a summer camp for girls; it would become Crystalaire in 1940, co-ed in the 1970s, and a cherished part of many a memory until its closure in 2007.
Crystal Lake Township has maintained its character throughout its 150 year history. It still boasts a thriving resort population, a healthy number of farms and orchards, and the rolling green hills and clear blue waters that make it all possible.
So if Crystal Lake Township escaped the trampling of Paul Bunyon’s boot, wouldn’t that make it one of the luckiest places to live? The waves dancing along the shores of Crystal Lake and the boundless maples reflecting four perfect seasons whisper, “Yes.”