Bill Baker retired from the Mesick Consolidated School in the late 1950s At that same time the Gladiolus farms begin to decline. What was a community to do? Well, this community went into survival mode and looked at another asset they possessed. Tourism. The community had the Manistee River and was surrounded by state forests. As the hunters and fishermen began to discover the attributes of the Manistee River and Mesick’s waterfall, now found on the 12-mile hiking trail between Seaton Creek campground and Red Bridge, villagers saw the opportunity to offer accommodations. Della Joseph and Buster and Arline Anderson built cabins, and of course, there was Sandy Mac’s Hotel from the early years. In later years, the Mushroom Cap Motel and a village motel were added. However, many of the hunters and fishermen liked the idea of camping out. Thus, the Mesick Trailer Park and Campground were envisioned.
Mushrooms were another asset around Mesick.
“Mesick is a small town with a population of 350-400 people. However, do not let the numbers fool you into thinking we are just a little backwoods village. Oh no, every year we have an incredibly special week when we entertain hundreds of people who travel hundreds of miles just to be here at this special time. It is always held on Mother’s Day Weekend but do not be deceived by that, it is for another reason. What is that reason? Why the Mesick Mushroom Festival… of course!
‘Mesick has been said to have traveled from “Whistle Stop” to “Mushroom Capital” and why would that be? The Ann Arbor Railroad was the beginning of Mesick’s population growth and today the mushrooms found during the months of April and May keep the town filled with tourists. All of them searching for the morel mushrooms that grow in the rolling hills and dense forests nearby. It’s not surprising to encounter other people in the woods carrying bags, buckets, or onion sacks; all are searching for the same thing–the morel mushroom. One cannot express how enjoyable it is to wander through the woods and find that special food, the Morel. So, do not just take my word for it. Come to Mesick and find out for yourself.”
*Excerpts taken from “Whistle Stop” to “Mushroom Capital” Author Alice Beach.