Here's how it all began......
In 1956, the Mackinac Bridge between the Lower and Upper Peninsula of Michigan was being built. Ted's family from Syracuse, Indiana, had always planned a fishing vacation around Vaughn Lake by Glennie, Michigan. It slowly became too crowded there, so they ventured to the U.P. to find a more secluded resort. At that time, there were no plans or reservations, they were just driving. Ted's mother, Lucile, noticed a spot she thought might be a good place to stay, but also saw a bear trap in the owner's garden. They weren't staying there! On they traveled in their 1956 Ford down what they thought was Forest Highway 13 (FH-13), and they turned onto County Road 440 (CR-440). This was a narrow two-track and the bottom of their car dragged all the way down the road. About out of gas, Ted's father Al said, "The next place we see, we are staying." Wouldn't you know it, they came upon Delta Resort.
At that time, they stayed in the semi-modern Birch cabin. It had an outhouse and only cold running water. A blue row boat went with the cabin too (the same boats we use today). Fishing was fantastic! The fish were cleaned on an outside table with no running water and in the height of the no-see-um bug season. The family continued to vacation there during summers, and sometimes during the fall at deer season. In 1959, Ted bagged a little buck by Minerva Lake with a long bow made by his dad.
The owners of Delta Resort at that time were elderly and not in good health. In 1963, they offered to sell the Cedar and Spruce cabins to Lucile and Al. At that time, Al was retired from the Pennsylvania Railroad and Ted was a senior in college at William Penn in Oskaloosa, Iowa, getting ready to graduate in Secondary Education and Coaching. Talks between Ted and his parents resulted in a strong "no" on purchasing the two cabins. They decided if they were going to make a purchase, it was going to be for the entire resort. They presented this offer, and in June of 1963, Lucile, Al and Ted became owners of Delta Resort. With Ted able to be in Michigan the entire summer season after teaching the school year and Lucile and Al able to open the resort early in the season and close late in the season, it was a perfect match!
There was a certain special young woman Ted had met in college who was an Elementary Education major, and in August of 1963, Ted and Louise (Binns) were married and spent their honeymoon at Delta Resort. Every summer, Ted and Louise along with Lucile and Al, ran the resort. The only exception was in August of 1968 when Dana was born in Iowa, and part of 1969 when Ted finished his Masters Degree in Education from the University of Iowa. The summer of 1970 was also an exciting summer, as Jill (who was due in October), unexpectedly arrived in August at a whopping 2 pounds 4 ounces!
Ted, Louise, Dana and Jill came from Iowa every summer right after the school year ended and joined Lucile and Al to run the resort. When the girls got older, they helped out Lucile and Louise quite often with cleaning cabins and doing laundry. Ted and Al spent a lot of time repairing cabins, maintenance and general upkeep. The only time the girls missed any time in Michigan was in the event of volleyball or basketball camps when they were teenagers.
In 1976, Al passed away. There was an opportunity for Ted and Louise to purchase 17 acres on the other side of Foote Lake, and they jumped at the chance. When applying for their loan, it was granted; however, the loan officer didn't think there was any way they would be able to handle three mortgages; their Iowa home, Delta Resort, and the new Foote Rest, but they did it! Nine years later, Lucile passed away, and it was up to Ted, Louise and the girls to keep the Resort going.
Ted and Louise retired from teaching after 35 years, sold their Iowa home, and moved to Michigan in 1997. They lived six years in Foote Rest while building their log home across the lake from the Spruce cabin. It took a long time for Ted to draw knife the bark off of 800 logs, dry them, and then another three years to build their home, finally moving into Hemlock Hill in 2003.
In March of 2017, Delta Resort was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the State of Michigan. A very dear friend of Ted and Louise's, an archaeologist, worked tirelessly to research the history of the resort and helped make this happen. How fortunate for Delta Resort to be on the Register....what a tribute!
Wow, 2023 marks our 60th year in business! Dana and Jill and their families are beginning to take over some of the responsibilities of running the Resort. They want to keep the historic aspect of the cabins intact, sort of in keeping with a throwback to more simpler times. That's what makes the Resort special! It's a step back in time....a place to reflect, relax, and forget, even if just for a short time, all of life's troubles.
Our hopes are that you feel the same way about Delta Resort as we do. This story gives you some insight about how it was acquired, and what we hope for the Resort in the future. We are very blessed to call this wonderful "peace of paradise" our home!
Ted and Louise, owners