McCormick Tract Wilderness Area -

Historic Photos

Photos courtesy of Richard Hendricksen. Click to Enlarge.

Comments in Green were written by my dear friend Richard Hendricksen about his experiences with the cabins.

The structures shown no longer exist there - see

Richard's Cabin Models can be seen and rotated in 3 dimensions.

Cyrus McCormick, Elizabeth Bentley & Cyrus Bentley

Photo 1: Cyrus McCormick, Elizabeth Bentley & Cyrus Bentley

Cyrus McCormick Enjoying a Hike

Photo 2: Cyrus McCormick Enjoying a Hike

The Raft of Course

Photo 3: The Good Ship Piffel!

Some old lady came out when I was disassembling; struggling to come to the island in my canoe, it was naturally tippy. She explained how easy it was to arrive on Good Ship Piffel. She told me it was sunk and waved her hand westward. I looked and wondered if I could find it. She said it was such a treat to ride on good Ship Piffil cause it was so so so easy. When I realized she had been there, and that I usually like old people, my mind went on absolute record. I thought and gasped to myself, it must have been really something. When I have had the privilege to meet older people like this and here their stories I find myself in all. I also knew my struggles were far from over in crossing those waters.

Taken from a Plane - of course!

Photo 4: Aerial of the Settlement

I have this photo by luck, and I don’t remember yet how I got it. When I go through my negatives and find it in sequence, maybe I can place it as to how I took it.

The Island from the Boat House

Photo 5: The Island from the Boat House

This boat house was sold and then taken downstate to whomever. We would watch the bass between the pilings.. I think you can still do this.

Chimney Cabin before fire

Photo 6: Another Island View

Notice the different designs on the lodge rail, this photo was taken before the renewal in the 40s. I hear the roof caught fire and burnt to some extent in the late 30s. I don’t think I found signs of such thought. To me, this is one of my more favorite historic photos.

Which way am I going?

Photo 7: Bulldog Lake Walkway

White Deer Lake Logo

Photo 8: White Deer Lake Logo

This logo was stolen by the US Forest service. Let them defend themselves. You may someday read about this if I ever write my book. Original Print property of Richard Hendricksen

currently owned by Richard Hendricksen.

For info see -



An article, "Rough Camp", by Richard Bentley and Fred Rydholm

was printed in Michigan Out Of Doors magazine in March, 1989.

It gives some interesting history of this area and era, in addition to describing Mr. Hendricksen's

adventures removing the Grand Camps.  Download the pdf here.

(Published here with permission from Mr. Bentley, Mr. Rydholm and Michigan Out of Doors.)


(Click on a Camp below to go to that series of photos)

(Click on the Cabin Name to View and Rotate it in 3 Dimensions!)

Ladies Cabin Fantastic! Men's Cabin With Boathouse below Simple Little Library! Photo of Original of this map shown below.


Can you see the McCormicks?

Photo 9: Photo of original map from which the one above it was drawn.

The Chimney Cabin

Chimney Cabin in Winter

Photo 10: Chimney Cabin in Winter

When I look at this photo, my mind seems gray now too, as if, are my memories fading? 20 years later.

Closeup of Chimney Cabin in Winter

Photo 11: Closeup of Chimney Cabin in Winter

See the snow at the right, dusting downward. It seems like it’s a living photo in some strange way.

Chimney blown up and Island burned by DNR

Photo 12: Chimney Cabin after removal.

The forest service quickly after I was finished, had the army core of engineers blow up all the chimneys. Liability issues again, I suppose.


Go back to Grand Camp Map


The Living Room Cabin

The Living Room Cabin in Winter

Photo 13: The Living Room Cabin in Winter

Do you realize you cannot see the shoreline of the other side of the lake. Normally it is right there.. It is there, can you barely make it out in this blizzard. One time I walked down this direction, by the Fortress as it is called. In this blinding snow. I was there all by myself ---- I suppose wondering what in the world I was doing. I have recorded such experiences extensively in my journals. Hopefully I will write my book.

Interior of Living Room Cabin

Photo 14: Interior of Living Room Cabin.

The Victor Room. Logs next to the fireplace are feather marked while all logs in this room are scalloped flat stained dark to simulate thousands of mirrors of refection from the effect of the rippling reflective sunlight on the lake so near. This room was right on the water above the island boathouse.

Notice beams carved to reflect light!

Photo 15: Interior of Living Room Cabin.

Same, Victor Room, you can somewhat see the scallops on the cross log above... Just below the neck of the deerhead and to the right. Fred Rydholm tells me, the McCormicks were not hunters, so this deer must have been there for show. Curious isn’t it. These people did not hunt, actually nor do I, but I do like venison and have killed deer for meat. Actually, I did not hunt, nor even fish while there. I ate no fish from the lake. The loons did thought, I am sure.

Living Room Cabin by Moonlight

Photo 16: Living Room Cabin by Moonlight

Sometimes I could not sleep at night and I would wonder. The Library cabin in the woods viewing my mischief. Oh, What this small simple cabin could tell if such walls could speak. Fred tells me, Cyrus helped build it himself, and it was the first one build on the island. I slept in it one night only. You’ll have to coax me to write my book and tell this story.

Living Room Cabin

Photo 17: Living Room Cabin

What a Grand Place. I see the canoe to the right. The facing deck was gone when I was there. So many memories for me. What of the past. Just a few of mine: the second story window from left is a recorded and meaningful dream; the corner near the canoe I’ll never forget; the venticle logs in the back was strange; Bats were living all around the chimney; the opposite side — I dropped a sink on myself, it hurt real bad. The front room is a porch, the center room, the Victor room, the back room the Billiard room.

Living Room Cabin at night

Photo 18: Living Room Cabin at night.

What words can describe this. I wish I could go back in time. I had place lanterns in the two rooms. The billiard room is more golden because of the nature of the special cedar shakes walls. Both rooms, the Billiard and Victor were special.


Go back to Grand Camp Map


The Beaver (Men's) Cabin

Earlier known as the Men's Cabin.

Photo 19: The Beaver Cabin

This was the cabin I stayed in while there. One night only, I slept in the Library cabin. I kept my position — whatever that was. In the early days, this was called the mens cabin, and they stored a bunch of cloths here.


Go back to Grand Camp Map


The Birch (Ladies) Cabin

Earlier known as the Ladies Cabin.

Photo 20: The Birch Cabin

Yes, indeed the Birch cabin. But where were the ladies at that time in my life.

Go back to Grand Camp Map


The Library Cabin

The Library Cabin

Photo 21: The Library Cabin

The Library Cabin before removal

Photo 22: The Library Cabin before removal


Go back to Grand Camp Map



Please note >>>>  I am looking for more photos to place on this page.

If you have any appropriate ones and are willing to let me display them here,

please mail or email them to the author.  If mailed, I will scan them and return them to you.

If I receive them, I will assume I have your permission to publish them here.  Thank You.


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