VIDEO: Pleiness Lake Flyover, Sept. 13, 2023 

September 16, 2023

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VIDEO: Pleiness Lake Flyover, Sept. 13, 2023 

Around the County is a presentation of Preferred Credit Union, www.preferredcu.org, located locally at 266 N. Jebavy Dr., Ludington.

Video by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

EDEN TOWNSHIP — Streams originating from the North Branch Pentwater River and Pere Marquette River converge in the middle of Eden Township where a series of lakes make their home: Clancy Lake, Ordway Lake, Eden Lake, Stewart Lake and, the largest, Pleiness Lake. 

Also known as Lost Lake, Pleiness Lake is 81 acres. In the 1890s, John Jacob Pleiness (Dec. 13, 1874 to Nov. 22, 1948) established a blacksmith shop on a plot near the southeastern portion of the lake. He later established a farm on the land that sits between modern Eden Lake Road and Stewart Lake in section 21 of the township. 

Pleiness was born in Harbor Beach, Huron County, the son of Catharina (Tageson, 1858-1903) and William Pleiness (1850-1939). According to his obituary, the family moved to Mason County when John was 7, after they were burned out in an intensive forest fire in Fort Hope.

Pleiness lived in Riverton Township where he cleared the land and built his home. He served as Riverton Township supervisor and was a member of the school board. On June 13, 1895, he married Helena Genter (Aug. 2, 1875 to July 18, 1954) in Scottville. 

John and Helena had eight children: Walter Carl, William Louis, Floyd Luce, James Andrew, John Earl, Roy Frank, Lenore Wilhelmina Mavis and Beatrice Viola Rahn.

John died at the age of 73; Helena died at the age of 78. They are both buried in Center Riverton Cemetery. 

Between 1887 and 1909 the Mason and Oceana Railroad operated directly south of the lake. The railroad hauled lumber from Walkerville to the Buttersville Peninsula in Pere Marquette Township. From the air, some of the railroad right-of-way can still be seen. The railroad used a 260 railroad engine, which is the model of the engine that is on display at the Mason County Historical Society’s White Pine Village. 

In 1941, a proposal was made to change the name of the lake, since there were over 25 other lakes in Michigan called Lost Lake. The original proposal was to call it Pashawsey Lake, in recognition of the Pashawsey Indian Reservation that used to occupy Eden and Custer townships in Mason County (along with Crystal and Elbridge townships in Oceana County). The Mason County Board of Supervisors, however, chose to name the lake Pleiness Lake, in honor of John Pleiness. 

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