White Elephant

White Elephant (HM20WG)

Location: Pentwater, MI 49449 Oceana County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 46.77', W 86° 25.992'

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1891 — Mr. G. A. Williams of Chicago submitted to the people of Pentwater a proposal to build a summer Resort hotel costing $75,000 and $10,000 for furnishing it. In return, the Village would donate the site and give $15,000 towards it. It would be named for Mr. Williams wife, Valeria. Pentwater Township voted a $20,000 bonus to Mr. Williams on completion.

1893 — Mr. Williams spent $100,000 trying to complete the exterior. When it was still not done in 1908, the town panicked and the property reverted back to the State. Pentwater used the proposed bonus money to pay back taxes.

1910 — Pentwater gave the structure and land, valued at more than $100,000, to F. O. Gardner, a local businessman, on the condition that he spend $5,000 on repairs. He did the repairs and reserved the right to use one of the rooms as the Town Hall. Before giving the White Elephant to Gardner, there was a grandiose plan to make it into a mammoth ice plant. It was to be the largest in Michigan, but like many other ideas, it never materialized.

Mr. Gardner tried to obtain manufacturing institutions throughout his ownership. One proposal was by L. C. Haight of Muskegon. He wanted to start knitting mills in the building but nothing came of it.

Sometimes during these years, the ground floor of the tower
was used as a farmer's market. The floor was a work of art, marvelously designed and perfectly matched hardwood, so it was a shame to see it used for sand potatoes.

1921-  Mr. Gardner sold the building to J. L. Littler, a retired Chicago businessman who owned other business property in town.

The floor plan contained the Tower Theater and stage with a seating capacity of 500. The Grand Hall/Gynmasium hosted basketball games and dances. The building also contained the library an village offices.

It burned down in 1928, but enough brick was saved to build the Miracle Theater and create the Village Green.
HM NumberHM20WG
Placed ByPentwater Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 1:04pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 545610 N 4847538
Decimal Degrees43.77950000, -86.43320000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 46.77', W 86° 25.992'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 46' 46.2" N, 86° 25' 59.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)231
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 217 S Hancock St, Pentwater MI 49449, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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