2 August 2007 Again today we pushed out into the heat to visit the City of Muskegon. This was really a boom town in the late 1800’s with lumber being the fuel that fired the economy. There were a number of lumber barons in the area, but two that are mostly fondly remembered are Hackley and Hume. This was because while they were making their fortunes, they also contributed a great deal of money to the community and its people. Even after the lumber boom faded into history, they undertook a mission to find and bring other enterprises to the area. Some say that they were a key factor in the area surviving.
Both men came to town with almost nothing. Hackley reportedly had 7 dollars to his name. Hume was a former indentured servant. At his death in 1905 Hackley was worth over 12 million dollars.
They had houses built next to each other close to their mill along the lake. They are in the Queen Anne style and are the best example of this style in Michigan. These have been preserved with much of the original furniture. In the street behind these homes a house has been restored to reflect the living conditions of working class families during the depression. During this period the owners lived on the first floor and rented the second to another family. While Muskegon is not as charming as other towns along the coast, it does have good beaches and a few other attractions that we were not able to get to.