He called me about 5:30 p.m. as he was coming across County Road 600 and could see the frozen lake in the distance. He doesn't remember seeing it frozen before. I went up the week after Christmas in 1963 with Grandma and Bobo Schmidt. We stayed at the Bella Vista Inn on US-31 and visited the Dayton Club and other sites. I remember walking on the lake for the first time, visiting ice shanty's and finding the scenery so different from our summer vacations.
First thing that evening, Bob sent me this picture from Benzonia. We had eaten at The Roadhouse Mexican Bar & Grill many years ago and I remember Bob ordering a three pound burrito. No, they didn't have them any longer. In fact they didn't even remember having them in the past. But Bob and I do!
Next morning (1/2/14) Bob and Nancy drove to the Dayton Club.
This is their first view of the Dayton-Bear Lake Outing Club as they came around the corner from Lakeside Avenue onto Butwell Road .
This was our family's cottage from the 1934 until 1981.
"The Point" has changed quite a bit from when I was a kid. A large pine, a real focal point on that spit of land, is gone. So, too, there is less land there.
Another view north on Butwell Road from the corner with Lakeside. "Our" cottage is the yellow one dead center in this photo.
As is our usual custom nowadays, Bob and Nancy stayed at Fredrick's Cottages on Lakeside. They stayed in this cabin.
Here's another view of their cabin. Bob said the snow depth was "about a foot".
Here is the driveway leading out of Fredrick's Cottages. That's the frozen Bear Lake in the distance.
At Lakeside Avenue in front of Fredrick's with a good view of the frozen lake.
They drove over to Pierport and took this picture of Old Faceful, an artesian spring that apparently runs just as well in winter as in the summer. I'll bet that water's cold enough to hurt your teeth.
Looking across the snow-covered sand towards Lake Michigan at Pierport.
Also at Pierport, a view looking southward.
Another view of Lake Michigan in winter (at Frankfort).
Bob said he caught this shot just as a wave hit the shore and sent a frozen spray skyward.
This is a view of the lighthouse at Frankfort. Called Frankfort Light, it's a place we invariably visited every time we were in Michigan on vacation.
Here's a very cold Nancy on the beach at Frankfort.
And finally Bob on the wintry beach at Frankfort.
Now, let's go down memory lane and look at a few of the Polaroid's I took on December 26-27, 1963, almost precisely 50 years before Bob took the shots you've just viewed ...
Here also is the Dayton Club taken from Butwell Road. I was well past the corner of Lakeshore and looking back at the club. Our cottage is centered in this shot, too.
Here's the Boathouse, long ago removed. It always anchored the Little Bay.
Our cottage on 12/27/63. I remember the snow being almost too deep to walk, I would have been just 14.
The Point was always very distinctive when I was a kid, winter or summer. That tall pine, just left of center, could be seen from far away and seemed to me to say "home". The Point isn't the same without it.
Helen & Elwood Schmidt
December 27, 1963
* All photos ©Robert J Schmidt and ©William G Schmidt