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Crystal Lake in located in
Benzie County in
northwestern lower
Michigan, USA.

(Click on the map to see Benzie
County on Google Maps.)

More About Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake CRYSTALANA —
  Historical Reflections and
  Current Perspectives
  of Crystal Lake, its
  Watershed, and
  Benzie County, Michigan.

The Comedy of Crystal Lake.
A detailed book all about the 1873
lowering of Crystal Lake and a
biography of Archibald Jones, the
man behind the operation.

Email Stacy Daniels at:

1873-2023 – The Sesquicentennial
Celebration of the Lowering of Crystal
Lake, Benzie County, Michigan


Welcome to the "SESQUI" (sesquicentennial) celebration of the lowering of Crystal Lake, marking the 150th anniversary of the "creation" of the modern lake we know and love today.

A Thank You...

To my fellow Citizens, Visitors, and Friends,

I'd like to offer a grateful Thank You to all for your participation in the celebration the 150th anniversary of the lowering of Crystal Lake. Please see my complete Thank You Letter.

The story of Crystal Lake is told in books, essays, letters, quotations, poems, songs, puzzles, artwork, maps, photographs, etc. Several vignettes been especially assembled for your reading enjoyment in this
24-page Commemorative Booklet.

Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels,
"President, pro tem, Benzie County River Improvement Company (1873)"

The main appearances of "Archibald Jones" (a.k.a. Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels) from the 2023 Sesqui celebration:


Time Event Location Place Sponsor

July 13, 2023

7:00 PM Benzonia Academy Lecture Benzonia Mills House Benzie County Historical Society
“A Man, A Plan, A Canal, A Beach, A Panorama — A Saunterer’s View of Crystal Lake” — Presented by Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels

• A short version of the abstract of this lecture

All 36 images for this lecture, as well 63 more related ones

• The
video recording of this lecture

September 4, 2023
(Labor Day)

NOTE: See photos
and videos from
this Archibald Jones
Day event below in
Related Items

10:00 AM to
3:00 PM
Archibald Jones Day:
(1) History of the Lowering
(2) "Special Tribute" & "Proclamation"
(3) "Pulling the Plug"
(4) "Meeting of the Waters"
(5) "Ballad of Archibald Jones"
Beulah Village Park Benzie County River Improvement Company — the company responsible for lowering Crystal Lake back in 1873.

What are we celebrating and why?

On August 23, 1873, Crystal Lake was unexpectedly lowered 17 feet (net of 12 feet after rebound)!

This was done during an ill-fated attempt to build a canal to connect the lake to the nearby Betsie River and Lake Michigan. The idea was that the canal would be used to bring boats up the canal into the lake to various resorts and popular locations, as well as float logs down to the Betsie River, and via that to the mills in the Frankfort area.

However, on that fateful day, during the building of this proposed navigable canal, a storm with white-capped waves washed away a temporary dam before permanent locks could be installed. The level of Crystal Lake went down 17 feet as a torrent of 56,000,000,000 gallons of water rushed downstream over a period of three weeks,

Seen as a "tragedy" at the time, it's now viewed as a "comedy", as the receding waters left behind a significant new beach. In fact, some 2,000 acres of lake surface were transformed into a 21-mile-long sandy beach around the lake, greatly opening opportunities for the whole area. It allowed for the founding of the Village of Beulah, which beget the further development of Frankfort, Benzonia, and Benzie County, as well as the coming of the railroad and subsequent carferries, installation of telegraph and telephone lines, development of lakeside resorts, and construction of many cottages, connected by an infrastructure of perimeter roads and trails.

The beach now supports more than 1,100 cottages, numerous resorts, several church camps, a yacht club, and a major state boating access site. The former railroad is now a walking/biking trail from the nearby port city of Frankfort to Beulah and further points southeast.

In other words, that "calamity" allowed the "creation" of the modern lake and its surroundings we know and love today!

We now annually celebrate the lowering of the lake on Archibald Jones Day, early September of each year. He was the chief engineer behind the unintended improvement. 2023, marks 150-year anniversary of that event, hence our Sesquicentennial Celebration.

["Archibald Jones: In Lignum Vitae" – chainsaw artwork by Tom Gillman, Rustic Signs and Carvings, email. Location: Stacy Leroy Daniels' home, Midland, MI 48640]

Related Items – articles, songs, videos, Web sites, etc.

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ATI Consulting. All rights reserved.