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Childhood Memories of the TeePee Resort - Marquette, Michigan

Updated on January 30, 2016
Outside of brochure
Outside of brochure | Source
Inside of brochure
Inside of brochure | Source

A Year-around Playground

Now that my children are older, they will have lots of childhood memories to share with their friends and family. As they were growing up, I shared a few small things about my own childhood, but I didn't think it was that important for them to know my history. As time goes by, I want them to be able to pass down a little family history and give them stories to share about their parents.

Some of my fondest memories were in my earliest years living in Harvey, Michigan on Lake Superior. It is located in a separate part of Michigan called the Upper Peninsula. People who live there are called yoopers. Like Canadians, they say "hey" after every sentence. My parents owned a small resort called The Teepee Resort. It was a great place to stay for the hunting and fishing enthusiast. Year around there was always some kind of outdoor recreation whether you were a sportsman or nature lover. There was hunting, snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating on the bayou in the winter. The summer was full of fishing, canoeing, hiking in the day and campfires at night. Many guests would return year after year. I had a few of my favorites who I would get so excited to see as they would pull up the driveway. One guest had nicknames for my sister and I because we usually dressed a little rugged and followed my older brothers around most of the time. She was Frank and I was Ralph. I loved my nickname because it made me feel special. He always brought little gifts for me, my sister, and my two brothers.

Posing for the camera with the Indian statue
Posing for the camera with the Indian statue | Source
Me carrying my two favorite things: A stick and a purse
Me carrying my two favorite things: A stick and a purse | Source
In our Sunday best for church
In our Sunday best for church | Source

Childhood Games

Along with six lodging Teepee's, there was also one at the front of the road that acted as a gift shop, office and workshop. Our souvenir shop was filled with little canoes, drums and rattles made with birch bark, plastic tomahawks and Indian head dresses. In front of the shop sat a landmark sign of a wooden Indian statue. Since we were able to wander freely on the property, my sister and I would sneak up the road and do what we called, "play statues". We would stand close to the wooden Indian, wait for cars to get closer than stand very still in various positions to make people think we were statues. If anyone actually stopped, we would panic and run down the drive and hide behind the trees.

As the youngest of two older brothers and a sister, I spent most of my time dressed in boys hand-me-down clothes. Getting dirty everyday was a way of life. I loved being outside as much as possible before the long cold winters would hit home. When Sunday came around, it was the perfect opportunity to wear my favorite dresses and little black shiny shoes. It was the best of both worlds.

My sister and I wearing our rabbit fur mittens and hat
My sister and I wearing our rabbit fur mittens and hat | Source
The long driveway leading to the family cabin
The long driveway leading to the family cabin | Source
Sharing a little puppy love - Beagle puppies
Sharing a little puppy love - Beagle puppies | Source

For the Love of Animals

One year my sister and I were given a hat and mitten set given by my grandparents. It was a hat, mittens and hand muff made of white rabbit fur. I loved them until I started wearing them to school. As I walked down the driveway after getting off the school bus, I would hear the sound of branches breaking and something quickly running towards me. Suddenly, out of the woods came the neighbor's dog. Swoosh! He grabbed a mitten off my hand and darted back into the woods. You would think it would be enough to traumatize me. Nope! I still had a hat and muff I could show off to my class mates. Well, sure enough it happened again and again. By the time my sister and I gave up on wearing our fun furry winter wear, we were left with 1 hat, 1 mitten, and a mangled muff.

Family pets were a big part of my life growing up. We had a Beagle named Floppy and a St. Bernard named Brutus. Floppy followed us everywhere and always came to our defense when it came to any neighborhood bullying. Brutus appeared to be a big, slobbery, furry and intimidating brute. He was a quiet ball of fluff who loved to sit on my dads' lap. Since Brutus played so well with us, my dad came up with this brilliant idea he thought we would love. He decided to get the 4 of us kids seated on a long wooden toboggan, harness Brutus to the front and have him pull us down a snow embankment into a field. It may have worked until a pair of snowmobiles came zooming through the field. Brutus took off, tumbling little tikes following, jumped onto a snowmobile and began licking the terrified driver.

Brutus our St. Bernard, my dad, my oldest bother, and me
Brutus our St. Bernard, my dad, my oldest bother, and me | Source
Making summer sand castles
Making summer sand castles | Source
Lake Superior winter iceburgs
Lake Superior winter iceburgs | Source
Port for shipping barges in distance
Port for shipping barges in distance | Source

Waters of Lake Superior

Lake Superior is one of the largest and coldest inland lakes in the US. Its' clean clear water is so cold you can't really swim in it. We could get in as far as our knees and that was it. Most of the time we built sand castles along the shore, chased each other with mud pies, and jumped off the sand banks into the warm, soft sand. Out in the distance, large shipping barges came into dock blowing their horns like the sound of a deep base wind instrument. The long cold winters created ice burgs that pushed into shore that reminded me of frozen islands. When we stood out on the frozen mounds of ice dusted with sand from the harsh cold blowing winds, we looked like baby penguins bundled up in our warmest snow clothes.

During the winter season we didn't spend much time by the lake. It was only a short walk alone a footpath to get to the shores of Lake Superior from our cabin. It first took us down a hill and past a fishing bayou and suddenly to a sandy dune opening to the vast body of water. Whether it was winter, spring, summer, or fall, the sounds and smells of life on the lake have forever been imprinted in mind. The swampy smell of the bayou, the crisp breezy smell of Lake Superior shoreline water and sand bring back little childhood memories that I will always cherish.


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    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I lived in teepee H from 2001-2003. Teepee B was across from me. I met the love of my life the day I moved in (he lived in teepee B) and we have been happily married since 2006. Our daughters and I visited them 2 1/2 years ago and they thought they were amazing. How unique. The sand beach will remove all of your cares and the sound of the waves removes any worldly worry. Miss that place!

    • jimmar profile image


      7 months ago from Michigan

      I visited the place last summer. I drove to the house and knocked on the door hoping to get permission to explore the property and beach. No one answered the door so i left. As 4wardthinkers oldest brother i too have fond memories of growing up on the TeePee Resort. It was disappointing last summer to see the place in such rough shape.

    • profile image

      Lori Dursema 

      7 months ago

      My dad owns these and I used to live there and help manage them (they are rentals now). Due to my dad's declining health they are for sale! Would love to see them fixed up!

    • profile image

      Bill Karas 

      2 years ago

      We have owned the property next to the TP's since 1975 the year we were married. That is also the year the Edmond Fitzgerald ore boat sank because of a massive storm on Lake Superior. I worked for Bunny Bread driving a semi and my wife Marsha worked at the Villa Capri in MQT while we attended NMU. We rented our cabin out beginning in 1979 when we graduated. The TP's sold in 75' for $172K and were purchased by John (and Kathy) Dursema. Both kind people. Now that we are retired we use our cabin in the summers and rent it out for 9 months. We have been blessed with great tenants. If you are ever in Marquette 4wardthinker in the summer please do stop by. You can find us on Facebook. We would love to see your pictures and hear your stories first hand. Thank you for your posting. Warm regards.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi I currently live in teepee village. I am sure it has changed tremendously but it is a great place to live. The beach is great and the people that live there with me are awesome. Reading this blog was great. Everyone always has so many questions about the place and we never have completely accurate answer but this helps. Feel free to come back and visit whenever. I live in teepee G.

    • 4wardthinker profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      I was afraid of Brutus and loved him at the same time. He was so big and slobbery but very cuddly. We used to take him to the driven-in with us in a little Corvair. I don't know how we did it. Thanks for reading nmdonders!

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 

      7 years ago

      It sounds like you have some fun and sweet memories. My dad had a dog named Brutus and he talks about him often. I love your pictures, they are lovely.

    • 4wardthinker profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Thank you for your kind words tamron. My parents sold it long ago, but I have met strangers through the years who remember visiting the resort.

      I used my scanner on my photos for this hub. It sure comes in handy.

    • tamron profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! What a life? I would love it. How did you get those old photos on the net? Does your parents or your family still own the Teepee Resort? Wow you should write some more about your childhood on the Teepee Resort. Great hub!

    • Rice Girl 2011 profile image

      Rice Girl 2011 

      7 years ago from Southeastern United States

      Great hub! I always wanted to visit a teepee resort. I grew up in northern Ohio and I saw that you mentioned Cedar Pointe in another hub. My mother, her best friend (with her 2 sons) and I all piled into my mother's old Chevy and drove there on of all days, the 4th of July when I was in high school! It was one of my happiest memories as a young girl. Your photos look great. I would bet we are around the same age, judging from some of the photos. I have enjoyed reading this hub and look forward to reading more of your work. Voted up, beautiful and interesting.

    • 4wardthinker profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Thanks jimmar! I have some pretty funny memories that you could expand on with me. I would love to hear a few of your too.

    • jimmar profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Nice job! That was a great place to grow up. I bet the more you write the more you will remember. You should expand the stories and add more detail and create a hub for each. It could be quite entertaining.


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