Arcadia's Factory Period

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Starke Land & Lumber Company sawmill is destroyed by fire. It is replaced by the Arcadia Furniture Company's factory.  The Arcadia & Betsey River Railway carries Arcadia furniture to the rest of the world in addition to produce and other local goods. "Charles Starke & Co. of Arcadia are building a furniture factory 90 X 182 feet, three stories high, also a small saw mill. It is the intention of the company to employee about 300 hands." -- Manistee Advocate. November 30.

The steamer Arcadia is sold.

Other towns based on lumbering become ghost towns. By turning from lumbering to furniture, Arcadia looks forward to more employment for more years. The additional factory workers and their families support the growth of other businesses in town and transportation to other towns by the railway and steamships.

Steamer John D. Dewar, which carried passengers and freight between Frankfort and Manistee since the late 1800's, ends its service in Arcadia.

The John D. Dewar operates between Pentwater and Ludington for a while, is sold to a Chicago parties, and finally burns.  

A new 26 ft. x 44 ft. Lutheran School is built with a small tower and basement, and what had been the old school is now used for confirmation classes.


The Pere Marquette, part of the fleet of "black boats," begins carrying passengers and freight over the same route including stops in Arcadia.

The Arcadia Furniture Company and the Fox & Mason Furniture Co. in Corunna, Michigan publish a furniture catalog.

April 12. The steamer Arcadia sinks with all hands: 12 men, the captain's wife, and a girl. Wreckage washes up in Pentwater.

October 31. "Charles Cole is having a house moved from Burnham to his farm. Vernon Strine is doing the job." -- Manistee Daily News.


Large fires destroy practically all of the manufacturing plants. Severe drought destroys nearly all crops.

The channel deteriorates, and inefficient dredging has made the channel unfit for boats trying to make regular trips.

The Arcadia Furniture Company publishes its first furniture catalog.  


Since 1905, nothing was done to maintain or repair the piers. Sand taken out of the channel is soon replaced by sand washing through defective portions of the pier. Boats have trouble using the channel even in calm weather.

Based on the River and Harbor Act of 1909, the harbor is reviewed again. Because of natural disasters and poor harbor maintenance, commerce has declined, and the Corp of Engineers recommends against further maintenance.  


The Arcadia Lumber Company opens a sawmill along the northeast shore of Lake Arcadia on Arcadia Point. The sawmill, which would eventually employ at least 38 people, sells lumber to the Starke Land & Lumber Company and other businesses that could be reached by ship. Officers, Directors, and Stockholders: President: Joseph Crotcher of Traverse City, Michigan Vice President: Ralph Case of Kingsley, Michigan Secretary and Treasurer: John Grund of Arcadia, Michigan

The twin schools were moved from the site at 4th and Lake Streets.

August 12. Describing the fate of the Twin Schools in Arcadia at the corner of 4th and Lake Streets: "The school buildings have been moved off the school grounds, and work will begin immediately on the new school house." -- Manistee Daily News.

September 16. Describing the Arcadia High School: "The new school is progressing rapidly." -- Manistee Daily News.

September 22. The Manistee Daily News describes the laying of the cornerstone for the new Arcadia High School.

Arcadians try to convince the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the channel. Representatives from Arcadia convince Major Kellor that his unfavorable report should be revised. He agrees to change the report when he can and recommends $5,000 per year for dredging and additional funds for repairing the south pier. He also recommends that the delegation secure a hearing in Washington, D.C.

Hearings before the Board of Engineers on Rivers and Harbors in Washington, D.C. and before the House Committee on Rivers and Harbors go nowhere. However, with the help of local senators, the delegation secures an amendment to the River and Harbor bill in the Senate, which appropriates $20,000 to carry out Major Kellor's promise. Unfortunately, in a conference between members of both houses, the amendment is stricken from the bill because of the unfavorable report on the harbor.

A request for another inspection of the harbor is granted. The people of Arcadia and their government representatives prepare to make a good impression on Major C.S. Riche from the Corp of Engineers in Detroit.

Major Riche arrives late to the inspection and presentations by local business people and politicians; skips the tour and other demonstrations; and heads back to Detroit early because of urgent business. Major Riche delivers an unfavorable report, but Senator Smith secures $10,000 without the support of the Corp of Engineers.  


Arcadia Township native Harriet Quimby becomes the first American woman to earn a pilot's license.

Following the dredging, sand washes in almost immediately making it difficult to ship a huge potato crop to Chicago. The potatoes are shipped by rail.


April 16. Harriet Quimby flies across the English Channel becoming the first woman to do so.

Through the persistence of the Arcadia Developmental Association and Senator Smith, Arcadia receives $20,000 for harbor improvement. 

The Methodist parsonage is built on Fourth Street adjacent to the Methodist church.

October 7. The Agnes, a gasoline-powered, propellor-driven ship, sinks near Arcadia.


The piers are repaired but not lengthened. Most of the superstructure of the north pier has washed away. The end of the south pier is broken. Additional money for harbor repairs is requested, but aid is increasingly difficult to get because of the harbor being blacklisted by the Corp of Engineers.

Arcadia: 600
Henry: 125
Pierport: 75
-- Michigan State Gazetteer of 1913

Arcadia's Population: 800 -- R. L. Polk's Manistee County Directory 1913-1914  


Pere Marquette No. 8 is carrying passengers and freight through Arcadia.  


The harbor is closed to all shipping, because shifting sand that filled the entrance is not removed.

The Arcadia Lumber Company sawmill operator, John Grund, dies. Lumber is getting scarce and harder to deliver. With John Grund's executor, Harvey Grund, serving as Secretary and Treasurer, the board decides to close the sawmill and liquidate the company's assets.  


The Arcadia Lumber Company files its final annual report.  

Oscar Kraft buys the ghost town at Watervale with plans to rebuild it as a resort for his family and guests.


The Spanish Flu pandemic reaches Arcadia. In October alone an estimated 195,000 Americans died, at least 418 in tiny Manistee and Benzie Counties.


Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran summer resort for families, is established.

Arcadia's Population: 1,000 -- R. L. Polk's Manistee County Directory of 1922-1923  


"The foundation for the new Walther League hotel which will be located on the shore of Lake Michigan will be started this week." -- Manistee News Advocate. June 13. 


A public notice from the United States Engineer Office in Milwaukee states that as a result of a preliminary investigation, the War Department is considering whether to recommend abandonment of the project to improve Arcadia's harbor. Reason: Lack of commerce using the improvement. Charles Starke argues that the lack of commerce is due to the neglect of the government to keep the harbor open. He also stresses Arcadia's role in tourism, with 800 summer visitors requiring housing and hotel accommodations and with the Lutheran Walther League's large summer camp. Federal funding for maintenance of the channel ends.  


Arcadia's Population: 900 -- Polk's Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1927-1928  

May 30. The Jane, a steam screw ship, founders near Arcadia.


The post office in Pierport closes.


The Arcadia & Betsey River Railway closes. Passenger revenue for the entire year: $3.00.  


The railway's tracks are torn up leaving railway stops like Malcolm stranded.


The Arcadia Furniture Company factory closes.  


The Township of Arcadia, with financial assistance from the Waterways Commission and the Accelerated Public Works Program of the Federal Government, reopens the channel between Bar Lake and Lake Michigan and rebuilds the jetties. The safe harbor is once again usable but this time for fishing and pleasure boating.

Arcadia Elementary School opens.

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