Gull Lake is a lake in the U.S. state of Michigan, located mostly in Kalamazoo County with the northern tip extending into Barry County. The nearest major cities are Kalamazoo, 11 miles (18 km) to the southwest, and Battle Creek, 13 miles (21 km) to the southeast. The name was probably derived from the seagulls which at times come inland from Lake Michigan in large numbers. The total surface area of this lake is 2,030 acres (8 km²), with maximum depths of 110 feet (34 m). This deep, clear lake has numerous holes in excess of 75 ft (23 m), and has one large island in the south end. The shoreline of the lake is fully developed, and is ringed with homes and cottages. A notable sport fishery exists in the lake for Rainbow trout, Lake trout, Land-locked salmon, Smelt, Smallmouth bass, and Yellow perch. Many other species of fish such as bluegill, Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, and Northern Pike are home to this lake. Given the proximity of this lake to large centers of population, coupled with the extensive number of riparian property owners, with two public accesses, the lake is extensively used by boaters during the warm summer months.
The area around Gull Lake was settled in the 1830s, especially the fertile Gull Prairie. The native Potawatomi people were moved west after the 1821 Treaty of Chicago, though some remained into the 1830s. The primary settlement on Gull Lake was Yorkville, located on the lake’s outlet. At one time, several small manufacturing enterprises existed here, including a celery-flavored breakfast cereal maker. An interurban rail line once connected Gull Lake to nearby Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The lake became a popular summer getaway for wealthy families, such as the Kelloggs. As the years wore on, many people set up year-round residences here. This led to water quality problems, but these improved after an extensive sewer system was installed in the early 1980s. Infestations of the non-native zebra mussel also helped clear the water, as these are filter-feeders.
The lake is sufficiently large to support a yacht club, with sailboat racing on weekends. Even keel boats such as starboat and small cruising sailboats can be raced safely.
South Gull Lake is an unincorporated community in Ross Township, Kalamazoo County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a Census-designated place (CDP) used for statistical purposes and does not have any legal status as an incorporated municipality. The population was 1,526 at the 2000 census.
The CDP includes an area around the southern and eastern shores of Gull Lake. The lake extends into Richland Township to the west and the northern tip crosses into Barry County. Although the entire area surrounding the lake is developed, in the 2000 Census the CDP is limited to Ross Township. The CDP includes the communities known locally as Yorkville, Gull Lake, and Midland Park.
Gull Lake, Michigan – Yesterday and Today
Yesterday: How It Was Formed
Gull Lake was formed by glacial activity. It is most likely a compound “kettle” lake, formed by several large ice blocks that broke off a retreating glacier and eventually melted, leaving several depressions in the surrounding landscape of what was once a preglacial valley. The land that now drains into the lake is eight times the size of the lake itself. A water budget for the lake indicates that 35% of the total water entering the lake comes by way of four small streams, 25% comes from precipitation, and 40% is ground water inflow. The average time that a drop of water spends in the lake is relatively short: 4.3 years.
Tillotson Barnes Builds A Sawmill
Studies indicate that prior to 1833 Gull Lake was about half it’s current size. What happened? Well, in 1833 a pioneer named Tillotson Barnes constructed a dam on the south end of Gull Creek to provide power for his saw mill. The construction of that dam raised the level of Gull Lake by 14 feet and almost doubled its size. Prior to the construction of this dam, the Island, located on the southwest side of the lake, was actually a penninsula connected with the mainland at a point on South Idlewild Beach.
Where Is Hawk’s Landing?
Today, beautiful new homes grace the site of the first resort on Gull Lake, known as Hawk’s Landing. Mr. E.L. Hawk launched the first steamboat, The Crystal, from here in the 1880’s. It became Labelle Park in the early 1900’s. Labelle included an elegant hotel, a miniature golf course, and a toboggan slide. In 1955 the hotel site became Gull Harbor Inn, which operated until 1976. The next year the restaurant was removed and the area was subdivided.
A ride around Gull Lake on the first steamboat, The Crystal, cost 25 cents. Soon electric-powered interurban railroads were bringing crowds of people to Allendale Beach, where they boarded a steamboat that would take them to their private resort or private cottage. Steamboats were named the Arrow, the Queen City, the Brownie, the Michigan, and the Jaunita. The largest was a double-decker, the Searchlight, that could handle 250 passengers and a band on weekends.
The Pavillion’s the place… For over forty years dancers tried the latest dance steps at the Pavillion. Built in Allendale in the early 1900’s, the hall stretched out over the waters of Gull Lake and served as a beacon for late-night rowers. The young at heart could waltz to the rhythms of Fischer’s World Orchestra of Kalamazoo. The dance hall was moved to Labelle Park after a fire destroyed the Allendale Hotel in 1920. In the Thirties and Forties, the Big Band sound gave jitterbuggers a chance to “swing and sway”, or maybe try the Gull Lake Gallop that included a lot of “dipping.”
Today: How Large Is It?
Gull Lake covers more than 2030 acres with 18.5 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 110 feet. It measures 1 mile wide and over 5 miles long. Approximately 840 families make Gull Lake their home with over 90% of these being year round residents.
It is no secret that Gull Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes in Southwest Michigan. It is also no secret that owning property on Gull Lake is one of the best real estate investments you can make in this part of the world. Prices start at about $250,000 for lake access homes, with lake front homes starting at about $500,000 and going well over $3,000,000.
Think You Might Want To Live Here?
We’ve compiled a list of fun activities that make this area so popular to so many. If you think you may be interested in moving to Gull Lake, take a look at this list – it may help you to make your decision.
Do You Enjoy:
Swimming, power boating, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, joining friends at the sand bar, dining in fine restaurants, playing golf on championship courses, fishing, watching the sunrise over the water, watching the sunset over the water, being wet when it’s 95 degrees, looking for sunken treasure, joining a country club you can get to by boat, building sand castles, walking, riding bikes, boat cruises, canoeing, water skiing, tubing, entertaining, great schools, going by boat for an ice cream cone, ice skating, ice boating, ice fishing, ice golf, or making a great Real Estate investment?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions you should immediately contact the Gull Lake specialists at Boris Realtors. Send us an email or use our friendly homefinder form or let your fingers do the walking and call 800-466-3908. We look forward to hearing from you!