Mason County is a combination of pristine Lake Michigan
coastline on its western end and prosperous farming communities inland.
The Pere Marquette River, a major attraction here, traverses the county east to
west through some of the most scenic state forest area in Michigan, enjoyed by
canoers year around. It can be easily accessed from Custer
or Scottville. The river
empties into Lake Michigan at Ludington,
where the car ferry dock can be seen from the channel which flows past City Park
Beach, a great place for a summer picnic and swim.
Mason County’s recorded history goes back to the mid 1600’s when French
missionaries, including Father Pere Marquette, visited the Ottawa Indians there.
(Marquette’s Memorial stands on the south side of the channel, marking his
death there in 1675.) In 1847, Burr Caswell settled at the mouth of the Pere
Marquette beginning a small community. Lumbermen such as James Ludington
followed. Sawmills caused the area’s boom in the late 1800’s, as did the
discovery of salt there. In 1897, the Pere Marquette Railroad built a fleet of
ferries to transport lumber. (The ferry service is still operating today with
year round runs between Ludington
and Manitawoc, Wisconsin; a crossing that takes approximately 4 hours).
Mason County must be experienced to be appreciated. Be prepared to spend awhile