The Coye Cottage stands in Macatawa Park where Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan meet near Holland, Michigan. It has been the summer home of the Coye family since the late nineteenth century.
In the its heyday, Lake Macatawa was a popular summer resort for people from Grand Rapids, Chicago, and the surrounding areas. Two large hotels, the Macatawa Hotel (1895) and the Grand Hotel (1892), attracted visitors arriving on the Inter Urban and the Pere Marquette railroads. The three-thousand seat auditorium at the Macatawa Hotel brought entertainment and cultural events to the area much like the Chatauqua movement did in New York.
Before there were cottages, campers pitched canvas tents on their property. My family was among these. The Coye family, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, owned a canvas products company that made sails for ships on the Great Lakes, awnings, flags, and tents for area residents. Charles and Ida Coye built six cottages along Bluebell Court for their family in the late 19th Century.
Tip Top, at the top of the hill, was owned by my Great Aunt Kathryn. Next door, Great Aunt Irene owned two homes, the Spraker Cottage and Hillside. Further down the hill sat Bluebell, owned by Mary Coye. Great Aunt Carrie’s home sat on the crest of the dune and was originally painted grey and is now a cheery yellow. Charles and Ida Coye’s home, the Coye Cottage, is at the bottom of the hill on the corner of Lakeside Drive and Bluebell Court. It is the only cottage that remains in the Coye family. The original Coye Cottage was built by Charles Coye and his brother James in 1898. This home burned in the great fire of 1922 that destroyed the Grand Hotel and fifty-four cottages. Charles rebuilt the cottage in 1928, and it still stands today overlooking Lake Michigan and the Holland Harbor Lighthouse, aka “Big Red.”
Mary Coye Harrett’s family have spent their entire lives on these shores, in this house, and on this land. The house and its surrounds hold a special place in our hearts.