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
  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 summer-long "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.

An Invitation...

To my fellow Citizens, Visitors, and Friends,

I invite you to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the lowering of Crystal Lake, an epochal event impacting the development of Benzie County, Michigan. As a long-time "townie" and "lakeie", I encourage everyone to "rediscover" our shared history by participating in community-wide activities during the summer of 2023. 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)"

Watch the schedule below for many fun celebration-related
events happening throughout the summer of 2023.

Schedule of "Archibald Jones" (a.k.a. Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels) Appearances:


Time Event Location Place Sponsor

May 6, 2023

8:00 AM to
8:00 PM
Display at MLSA Conference Crystal Mountain Conference

June 5 2023

2:00 PM to
2:45 PM
Display and Talk at IMAGIN Conference Crystal Mountain Conference

June 17, 2023

10:00 AM to
3:00 PM
Frankfort Craft Fair Frankfort Downtown FEACC

June 30, 2023

5:00 PM Community Barbeque Frankfort Oliver Art Center OAC

July 4, 2023

10:00 AM Frankfort Parade Frankfort Downtown FEACC

July 4, 2023

1:30 PM Beulah Parade Downtown
Downtown CLCBA

July 8, 2023

10:00 AM to
3:00 PM
Beulah Art Fair Beulah Village Park CLCBA

July 13, 2023

7:00 PM Benzonia Academy Lecture Benzonia Mills House BAHS
“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

July 26, 2023

9:30 AM to
3:00 PM
CSA Arts & Crafts Fair Crystalia (north of Frankfort on M-22) CSA sports field CSA

August 4, 2023

7:00 PM to
9:00 PM
History Night Crystalia (north of Frankfort on M-22) CSA Meeting House CSA

August 8, 2023

6:00 PM to
8:00 PM
Open Grilly Night  – A private event. 150-Year Anniversary Celebration of the Lowering of Crystal Lake Crystalia (north of Frankfort on M-22) CLYC CLYC

August 12, 2023

7:00 AM Crystal Lake Team Marathon Beulah Downtown CLCBA

August 17-18, 2023

1:00 PM to
7:00 PM

10:00 AM
to 4:00 PM
Frankfort Art Fair Frankfort Market Square Park FEACC

August 23, 2023

1873 — The
of Crystal
, 150th
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of this historical event Benzie County Crystal Lake NATURE

September 4, 2023
(Labor Day)

10:00 AM to
3:00 PM
Cold Creek Bridge Walk

— and —

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 Mouth of Cold Creek at Crystal Lake beach

Village Park


Participating and Contrubuting Local Organizations

Many of these will also have their own events regarding the celebration.

Below are links their Web sites.
BaySide Printing Crystal Lake Community Business Association (CLCBA)
Benzie Area Historical Society (BAHS)
Their Facebook page
Their Instagram page
Crystal Lake Yacht Club (CLYC)
Benzie Conservation District (BCD) Darcy Public Library of Beulah (DPLB)
Benzie County Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) Field Crafts
Benzie County Frankfort-Elberta Area Chamber of Commerce (FEACC)
Benzie County River Improvement Company (BCRIC) – the company responsible for lowering Crystal Lake back in 1873. Grow Benzie (GB)
Benzie Shores Distrct Library (BSDL) IMAGIN Conference (IMAGIN)
Benzonia Public Library (BPL) MLSA Conference (MLSA)
Beulah Boosters (BB) Oliver Art Center (OAC)
Congregational Summer Assembly (CSA) Village of Beulah
City of Frankfort Village of Benzonia
Crystal Lake & Watershed Association (CLWA)   

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. This year, 2023, marks 150-year anniversary of that event, hence our Sesquicentennial Celebration. We hope you will join us!

[Chainsaw artwork of Archibald Jones by Tom Gillman, Rustic Signs and Carvings, email. Location: Stacy Leroy Daniels' home, Midland, MI 48640]

Links to related songs, articles, Web sites, etc.

Web Site © Copyright 2022-2023 by Dr. Stacy L. Daniels
ATI Consulting. All rights reserved.