When a drive around the lake was entertainment

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Dan Cherry is a Lenawee County historian.

I drove around the Devils Lake area a couple weeks ago for another book project I’m working on, and while winding between the lakes, I had a flashback to life 40 years ago.

We weren’t well-to-do back in the day, so for a break from the weekly schedule, we would sometimes take a slow drive around the lake to see the sights.

It was at a time when you could actually see the lake from the road, when there were small cottages and empty lots, when the speed limit was observed and you could take a “Sunday drive” and not be subjected to road rage … or golf cart rage.

The scene at Cherry Point on Devils Lake is ever-evolving. Several years ago, a modest home that had been there for many years was replaced with a sprawling complex, seen here last month.

On a weekend evening, scores of people would be sitting in their lawn chairs, enjoying the sunset, walking along the street and visiting with neighbors. You waved at those you knew, sometimes stopped to visit for a few minutes. Occasionally, the trek included a stop at the Dairy King ice cream stand, Richardson’s Pizza or Tibbs IGA. If gas was needed, a quick stop was made at Kenny Lytton’s full-service station, where Kenny himself would come out and fill the gas tank with a wave and a smile. In the 1970s, he still wore the change dispenser on his belt.

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