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Kruse’s Deer Lake Inn

The Deer Lake Inn Properties were constructed in the late 1890s, when the Clarkston area was booming with the tourist trade. As Clarkston prospered, summer vacationers began to flock to Deer Lake, staying in private homes, small cottages, and at the Deer Lake Inn. William Barry, a Chicago Hotelier, anticipated the potential of the tourist market and summer getaway, and purchased the Inn, opening the doors on July 3, 1912.

The Deer Lake Inn was successful for the same reasons that Bill Barry himself was successful. With a belief system not unlike our own, Mr. Barry practiced hospitality, becoming close friends with his guests, and inviting them back for personal dinners and week-long getaways. When it came to the Inn’s dining room, Bill provided only the best. He brought in seasoned chefs and wait staff along with the freshest food available to provide a quality experience for each of his visitors.

Along with the palatial Inn, the guests enjoyed the main attraction, the lake itself, at a time when the normal swimming attire included full coats and long black hose for the women, with a $100 fine for insubordinates. Deer Lake was so popular that the railroad added 12 coaches to transport city dwellers to the suburban paradise. As time went on, and automobiles became a lifestyle staple, Deer Lake thrived with the fame of their food and service, with guests from as far away as Tokyo and New Zealand coming to bask in the summer sun.

William Barry eventually retired and sold the Deer Lake Inn Properties in 1925. The Great Depression hit hard, and along with vacations, the Deer Lake Inn became obsolete. It eventually succumbed to the times and was torn down. A small piece of history does remain, as you can still see stonework from the original foundation.

We believe that our property was originally home to a stagecoach stop in the early 1900s. Eventually the stop burned to the ground, and in 1957 the original Deer Lake Inn bar was constructed. They remained in business for 53 years, closing their doors in December of 2010.

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