Travelers who turn off US 2 and head north on M-77 for the Seney Wildlife Refuge, Munising or Marquette quickly pass a group of buildings on either side of the road. These buildings, while still in apparently good repair, go largely unused. There is little indication they were once part of a prosperous, upscale resort that attracted hundreds of visitors who enjoyed numerous outdoor activities and four-star service.
The Blaney Park Resort story begins in the 1890s when the area was logged over. After the trees were cut, the logging company decided to re-use the land rather than abandon it. After remodeling some of the company buildings and constructing other new buildings, the resort opened in the late 1920s. One of the resort’s main selling points was comfortable interior accommodations with a close, safe proximity to nature.
The resort miraculously survived the Great Depression, partly because more and more urban, white-collared employees took vacations. Blaney also benefitted from the Tourist Camp Movement when larger companies encouraged their employees to exchange crowded, sterile, urban life for a week or two of the cleaner air and slower pace found in rural America, especially areas at some distance from factories and urban congestion. The movement put people on the roads. While many tourist camps became associated with laborers or even transients, Blaney offered upper-middle-class vacationers an improved experience in modern cottages with excellent food.
Blaney Park suffered setbacks in the 1960s, but the resort survived–and still does today. For the complete story of one of Michigan’s unique resorts, check out Michigan History magazine. For information call (800) 366-3703 or visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com.