This little curious spot in the Lansing area was not a beach, even though it had one. Merle Beach sits in Olive Township, Clinton County.
Some sites say Merle Beach was near Muskrat Lake.
Others say it was Alward Lake.
The nearest place to Merle Beach is DeWitt.
St. Johns is six miles north of Merle Beach.

Those are the basics, but it's still a little more complicated than that.

For one, two separate atlases show Merle Beach is in different locations, both at Alward Lake. For another, the Merle Beach schoolhouse is NOT near Alward Lake, but Muskrat Lake, and also called the Muskrat Lake School. On top of that, the school is listed as being in St. Johns, on S. Dewitt Road.

By the way, this great old one-room schoolhouse was made from wood in 1865, finally closing in 1966. Rather than tear it down, thankfully it was saved and used as a storage facility. The school’s layout was a little different from most other one-roomers: it had three windows on one side, and just one on the other. The bell tower is still there but the bell is long gone.

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As for the actual “town” of Merle Beach, Michigan Place Names says it was actually a summer resort in the late 1800s operated by Kittie Moore. The resort was located on Muskrat Lake, two miles away from Alward Lake, where atlases say ‘Merle Beach’ sat. Kittie also became first postmaster when a post office began operating in 1898. That lasted until 1900, when it shut down…but re-opened in 1903, with a new postmaster: Theodore Loomis. Because of this, the community was also called ‘Loomis Stop’.

Merle Beach was also a stop on the interurban railroad that carried passengers from Lansing and St. Johns.

So, I guess we could say that even though there was a resort called Merle Beach on Muskrat Lake, there seems to be an entire three-square-mile area where SOMEWHERE is the actual ‘Merle Beach’. Look at the atlases and photos below and see what you think…

Ghost Town of Merle Beach


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