Part 3 of 4 1935 - 1962
In the mid 1930's, Louis and Ann Groessl
were looking for a place on White Lake. Louis was born in Germany in 1886
and came to the United States as a boy. Ann was born in Chicago in 1887.
Ann had a brother who lived on White Lake and Louis and Ann wanted to relocate
there. Louis and Ann had operated a restaurant and bar in Edgebrook, IL.
However, Ann was a very religious woman and did not like the bar business.
In addition to the restaurant and bar, Louis had been a salesman for the
Railway Supply Company. The depression virtually wiped out his market.
When they came to White Lake 1939, they purchased Lakeside Inn from Gertrude
Tallant, whose husband, Glenn, had died four years prior. For the first
three years Louis and Ann would return to Chicago to work in the winter.
However, they soon made Lakeside their year around home. Ann Groessl stated,
“We bought Lakeside Inn, after the depression, for Mr. Groessl had been
selling to the railroads and almost all railway shops were shut down, so
we had no income for nearly two years. We got into the resort business
here and although there was very little income for many years, we were
happy and we were grateful we could meet our obligations.”
Louis and Ann
began a continuing program of adding rooms, cottages and generally improving
the Inn. For outside fun they added a tennis court and
shuffleboard court. There were always plenty of things to do from swimming in
sunning on the beach and organized activities.
Each week, Ann Groessl would
arrange “talent shows” and guests, especially children, would participate,
singing songs, dancing, acting in a skit, etc. The talent
shows were an important part of entertainment for the guests. They were
often given on Thursday nights before they departed on Saturday.
The Groessl's turned their resort into one of the finest and most modern of its
in this area. It was an American Plan resort, which meant guests' lodging, and
three meals were all included in one price. The length
of stay was usually from one week to a month with weeks always beginning
with Saturday arrival.
Louis and Ann were fond of attributing their success
to a three-point goal:
Sell health through good food,
Sell comfort through good beds and clean rooms, and
Sell happiness through kindliness, courtesy and consideration for guests.
Mrs. Groessl said, “Be kind to all
and don't think 'How much can I make?' but 'How much can I do to make others
The White Lake area had many resorts during this time. A brochure
of "White Lake, Whitehall, Michigan - Michigan's Complete Vacationland"
shows the variety of resorts, motels, and cottages in the area in 1944. In
1945, Leslie (Bud) Groessl and his wife, Bea, came to
White Lake to go into business with his parents, Louis and Ann. Bud was
born in Chicago in 1918 and the only child of Louis and Ann. Bea was born
in 1917 in Saint Marie, IL and was married to Bud in Chicago in 1939. Louis
and Ann worked together with Bea and Bud for many years.
In the early 1950's, Louis and Ann added a four apartment unit overlooking
White Lake Golf Course
and White Lake.
In the off season the largest apartment served
as their home. During the 1950's and 1960's, Lakeside Inn was changed to
a Modified American Plan Resort, which included breakfasts, dinners (no
lunches), and lodging in one weekly rate. Typically, there were two choices
of an entree for dinner each night. No alcohol was served. Meals were served
during a specified time, usually in an hour and half time period. Guests
were called to eat with a bell that rang periodically through out the serving
time. In the morning the bell would start ringing at 7:30 am and continue,
sometimes rather vigorously, as the waitresses and dishwashers wanted people
to come in early and not all come at the same time - at the last moment.
Chambermaids, waitresses, cooks and dishwashers stayed at the Inn all summer.
The girls slept in a large room above a storage/bathroom area. The boys
slept in another building. Often the staff was made up of the children
of guests of past years. Frequently the staff came from "far away" places
like Grand Rapids and Chicago. The staff, typically college aged, worked
six days a week serving all the meals. They each had one day off.
Louis and Ann Groessl (right) worked closely with Bud and Bea. Louis and
Ann retired in 1956.
Bud and Bea (left) worked hard continually
upgrading the Inn. They were ever mindful of the demands of the resorting
public for better accommodations.
Bud and Bea added more rooms on the second floor
of the Inn, put tile baths in some rooms, installed knotty
pine paneling through out the resort, and enlarged the dining room with
almost solid glass on the lake side. The windows afforded a beautiful view
of the lake for guests while dining.
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of the Lakeside Inn Story