Ever since I can remember, my family has traveling to Michigan during the summer months. On weekends and for a few full weeks throughout the season, we’d pack into the car and head across Indiana into southwest Michigan. Growing up it was always one of the best parts of summer.
For the next two weeks I’ll be sharing some of my most recent vacation adventures and some of my favorite places around southwest Michigan.
For the last 20 years or so, we’ve had a small cottage about a mile from the small town of Glenn, Michigan. In a lot of ways, Glenn reminds me of Gilmore Girl’s Stars Hollow. The town square consists goes by so quickly that if you don’t slow down along the Blue Star Highway, you just might miss it. There’s a one-room schoolhouse (which houses grades K-6), small convenience store, teeny restaurant, hardware store, white steepled church and a smattering of antique stores.
But what Glenn lacks in population, it makes up for in charm and rich (pancake-filled) history.
A brief history of Glenn, Michigan
In the 1930s, the main route through southwest Michigan was U.S. 31, meaning that all travelers and motorists coming to or from Chicago passed through Glenn. At that time, the town was largely a resort community.
On December 7, 1937, a huge snowstorm hit Glenn, stranding more than 200 motorists in the tiny town. Lodged in the local restaurant, schoolhouse and even residents’ homes, supplies began to run low, except for a large shipment of pancake flour delivered just before the storm. For three days, the stranded travelers ate pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, forever cementing Glenn as “The Pancake Town.” For a number of years, an annual pancake festival was held, but the tradition was abandoned at the start of World War II. Growing up, the tale of Glenn’s fabled flapjacks was always one of my favorite stories.
While pancakes are now a less prominent part of day-to-day life in Glenn, the one-room Glenn School remains Michigan’s oldest continuous rural school, operating since 1854.
Want to know more about Glenn? Local historian Jeanne Hallgren wrote a book called “Piers, Pancakes and People: a History of Glenn” that you can pick up in Glenn antique store At Last for $15.