Horton Bay General Store

History of Horton Bay General Store Area


Ernest Hemingway and his writing are usually associated with African safaris, marlin fishing off Cuba's coast, bullfighting, and exotic international sites like Paris, Spain, and Italy. All his life, Hemingway sought, enjoyed, and wrote about new places and experiences. The first of these places was much closer to his hometown of Oak Park, Illinois; it was northern Michigan.

Hemingway pictures at Horton Bay General Store

As he got older, Ernest spent less time at Windemere and more time with friends at the village of Horton Bay. To get there, Ernest rowed across Walloon Lake from Windemere and then walked through hills 4 additional miles. The little town nestled on Lake Charlevoix had been a lumbering center in the late 1800s but had faded into a small cluster of buildings including a general store, blacksmith shop, inns, and several cottages. At the bay was a warehouse where crates of locally grown vegetables were stored awaiting steamers to transport them to markets elsewhere. The pier was also a gathering spot for swimmers and young people.

When Ernest stayed at Horton Bay is was usually with his friends or at Pinehurst Inn. Owned by the local blacksmith, Jim Dilworth, and run by his wife, Elizabeth, rooms were available and the chicken dinners were very popular with tourists and locals. Ernest frequently stayed and ate here and it was the site of his wedding reception in 1921.

Hemingway vacationing at Horton BayErnest also spent time with other vacationers such as Bill Smith and his sister Katy who visited from their home in St. Louis, and Carl Edgar, who lived in Kansas City. These young people fished and swam and entertained each other with stories. Their company was a welcomed escape from his family and the chores he had at Windemere and Longfield Farm.

Horton Bay would also be the setting for Ernest's wedding on September 2, 1921. He had met and fallen in love with Hadley Richardson, a 27 year old woman from St. Louis, Missouri, and Ernest wanted the wedding to be held in Michigan, far from the formalities of Oak Park. They were married in a now demolished Methodist Church at Horton Bay and walked across the road to the reception. A Model T Ford took them to the shore of Walloon Lake where Ernest rowed Hadley the mile across the lake to Windemere where they spent their honeymoon.

Eventually Horton Bay would figure prominently in several of Ernest's short stories, including Up in Michigan, The End of Something, and the Three Day Blow.

>> Michigan Hemingway Society

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