2016-11-17 / Life in Leelanau

“Glen Lake” airport runways cleared by farmers on tractors

Reading editions of the Leelanau published 68 years ago, it was clear that the community held high hopes when the state Conservation Department relinquished 160 acres for what was termed the Glen Lake region airport.

However, how Empire Village became a co-owner in the venture is not so clear, as only Empire Township is referenced in stories as owner of the project.

“Empire and Glen Lake will get a modern airport as fast as improvements can be made in 160 acres of land the State Conservation Department is deeding to Empire township within ten days,” stated the lead story in the May 6, 1948, Leelanau Enterprise. “The port ... will require little grading and the removal of only a few trees.”

Two weeks later, the Enterprise reported, “Eleven tractors and a crew of neighboring farmers and villagers went to work with a will on the new Glen Lake airport Wednesday morning and before night the two long landing strips began to take shape.”

According to a deed recorded on April 28, 1948, in Leelanau County, the property was given to the “Village of Empire and Empire Township, Leelanau County” for a fee of $1.

Other news of the week included the extension of electricity to homes in East Kasson, a pledge by the road commission to “blacktop every gravel road in he village of Suttons Bay” over the summer, and a decision by the Coast Guard to swap lifeboats at the South Manitou station. County folk clearly weren’t happy with the replacement, as it was described as an “ancient, decrepit boat, unsuited to these waters.”

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