oasisWhen we arrived at Houghton Lake last Friday evening, we were a bit surprised to see that the old Oasis Party Store (Ice Cream Oasis in the last few years) had burned. But not all that surprised. I am sort of a johnny-come-lately to the Houghton Lake area. I didn’t start visiting the area until about 1980*. The Courtois family (my in-laws) have been traveling up there from the Day-Twa area since the 1950s and in 1964 they bought the original version of the cabin that a consortium of Grandpa Garth’s descendants own today.

Sadly, this isn’t the first burned building we have encountered upon arrival at Houghton Lake. There was the time we drove up expecting to eat dinner at the Spikehorn Bar/Restaurant before we continued on to the cabin. We pulled into the empty parking lot. Empty? This is a Friday night? Empty? The building looked a little odd to us and we realized that the interior had burned. I forget what we did for dinner that night, probably continued on over to the Northshore Bar. The Spikehorn rebuilt and has a booming business nowadays but I don’t think any of the old knotty pine survived. Can’t remember what the cause was. Sigh.

And then there was the New Year’s Day that we went skiing or somewhere. I don’t exactly remember. When we left, everything was fine, which means in this case that the old, rather shabby looking resort/hotel-turned apartment building down the road was still intact. Why wouldn’t it be? When we got back to Long Point at the end of the day, it was GONE! Smoking ruins were left. The cause? Overloaded electrical circuits. That freaked us out just a little wee bit. Here we were, staying in our beloved cabin, about the same vintage or maybe even older than that old resort-type place. Lucky-shuckial circuits, indeed. Were ours okay? One of the things that my beloved father-in-law/engineer did was carefully instruct his children and grandchildren and their significant others about what to plug in with what and what *not* to plug in with what. Another chapter in his “every housewife should know” series. He was right and we *were* very careful about not overloading outlets and thank god, nothing ever happened there.

I have NO IDEA what happened to the Oasis. Given the building’s approximate age, it could’ve been electrical. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I hope that the Oasis owners will be able to salvage the place but who knows. If it gets rebuilt, I bet it will be a more modern structure. It’ll be clean and safe and beautiful but all the character of the 1950s structure will be gone.

Like the modern structure we built on Long Point when it became too difficult to maintain our own beloved old disintegrating structure.

* My uncle and his kids (my cousins) lived at Houghton Lake when I was a very small child and I have vague memories of leaving their house and driving (like the wind) to catch the last ferry back to the UP. More on that some other day.

4 Responses to “Oasis”

  1. grandmothertrucker Says:

    When I was in grade school, ( 70’s ) they had a small store there and sold a few food items. They had a few jars of babyfood there, and the child across the street died of food poisoning. Later when I had kids, we stopped there, and I checked, they still had expired baby food jars there. The safety buttons had all popped on the little glass Gerber food jars, all outdated. I yelled at the, and the old fart there because he refused to throw them away. Never heard another thing about it except after the lawsuit, I guess he sold it to somebody else……

  2. Uncly Uncle Says:

    The “Oasis”, I believe, used to be the Hammond View. There were two competing stores there. I forget the name of the other one. Anyway, they were near the cabin we rented and they were just close enough to walk to for dime candy and ice creams. More recently, the Oasis has a old lady working there who was very nice and sold us booze, cigars and jerky (our tastes have become more refined).

  3. Margaret Says:

    Our favorite tavern, the one two minutes from our house that we can walk to, burned and it doesn’t look like they’re going to rebuild it. We didn’t go there often, but had some great times playing shuffleboard and darts.

  4. gg Says:

    No. The “Oasis” is not Hammond View – it is the outfit just South of Hammond View. The store in the former “Hammond View” building is still standing and in operation.

    The “Rustic Oasis” beer and bait store was on the North Shore.