West Michigan Summer Resorts
After the American Civil War (1861 - 1865_ a new wealthy class arose with the time and means to escape the grime of the industrialized cities for the summer "Season." In the 1870s the Little Traverse Bay region became one of Michigan's first popular resort areas. Early vacationers came by passenger steamer on the Great Lakes. Railroad companies later developed their own resorts. By 1922 improvements on the West Michigan Pike and state parks made the dunes of West Michigan much more accessible Inexpensive automobile travel enabled the rising middle class to vacation in Michigan. Many were immigrants from Chicago and modest cottage resorts catering to a specific ethnic population soon dotted West Michigan's shore.