D H DAY STATE PARK
By 1910, he owned more than 5,000 forested acres and long before the reforestation movement came to northern Michigan he promoted it. The 1,400-acre Day Forest, with its huge second-growth trees, was viewed by government researchers as one of the best timber stands in the Midwest.
By the 1920s, Day also had more than 5,000 cherry and apple trees at the 400-acre D.H. Day Farm, which he called "Oswegatchi" after the New York community where his father was born and the Oswegatchi River on whose banks D.H. Day played.
Day grew hay and corn to feed his 400 hogs and prize herd of 200 Holsteins described as among the best in the state. The farm, located just south of Glen Haven, has a massive white barn that stands today as a landmark of the heritage of Sleeping Bear Country. Day had the barn, house, and three out-buildings built in the late 1880s and early 1890s. One outbuilding was the pig barn, one the creamery, and the third, the bull barn.
As lumbering declined, Day planned for economic diversification... In the early 1920s, he established the Glen Haven Canning Company on the shoreline near the dock and shipped cherries and other fruits to various Great Lake cities. With improvement of roads, the Glen Haven dock faded in importance.
A diversification project promoted by Day that was far bigger than the canning company was resort development... His scheme was so grandiose that if successful, the Glen Haven/Glen Lake area would be transformed into the most elaborate and exclusive resort in the United States. In large part, because of the Depression, it was not successful.
In 1922, Day sold a large portion of land including reforested Alligator Hill for real estate development that was called Day Forest Estates. An 18-hole golf course was built, an air strip and clubhouse site were cleared, and access roads graded. The venture failed during the Depression, although the golf course operated for several years. Although the course is abandoned and overgrown, the outline of its fairways are evident today for those who hike the area.
In 1920, Day donated 32 acres along the shore of Lake Michigan between Glen Haven and Glen Arbor to the State of Michigan to become the D.H. Day State Park. The park is now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
When D.H. Day died in 1928 at the age of 76, newspapers said Michigan had lost "King David of the North". He came to Glen Haven by steamer in 1878 at age twenty-seven, and went on to diversified achievements in lumbering, shipping, forestry, conservation, road-building, tourism, and growing and canning of cherries. He was the first chairman of the State Park Commission.