Northern Michigan Home & Cottage: Storied Homes

Northern Home & Cottage: I've been writing about Northern Michigan for 30 years, and just when I think that there is nothing I don't know about this region, some fascinating tale slides into my inbox as casually as a wave lapping driftwood ashore. Such was the case when I read Diane Kolak's story on John DiLorenzo's Old Mission Peninsula cabin. The cottage, it turns out, was once owned by the socialite Louise Cromwell Brooks, an East Coast beauty who, while married, had an affair with General Pershing and then married General Douglas MacArthur. Rumor also has it that in his rage over MacArthur's marriage, Pershing reassigned him from West Point to the Philippines. Louise and the general divorced (incompatibility was the given reason, plus she didn't like the Philippines) and she went on to marry the 1930's silver screen heartthrob Lionel Atwill, whom she hoped to lure to Northern Michigan by fixing up the house and grounds on Old Mission. When he refused to come, so local lore has it, Louise Cromwell took an ax-not to Lionel but to her house and grounds. Disclaimer here: I have no idea how much, or any, of this story is fact. But what a great tale! Fast-forward some 80 years, and Diane Kolak picks up the story of those very same house and grounds.

Ah, the drama and the elegance of that Old Mission property… which brings me to another feature in this issue, "Pitch Perfect." Nope no sagas that span world wars here, just some of the most genuinely sophisticated traditional style that we've ever seen in Northern Michigan in a house that hosts visiting musicians and other artists from around the world.

We round this issue with a piece on a fabulously modern take on traditional —or is that a traditional take on modern —in a Crystal Lake home. Any way you spin it, this issue is a page-turner. Enjoy!

This issue of Northern Home & Cottage is available in the February issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Get yours now!

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