sand dune known as Pigeon Hill was located across the street from Lake
Michigan Park. Legend has it that the dune soared some 300 feet
into the air and covered some 40 acres at its base.
"Although in later accounts the legendary hill’s height grew to upwards of 300 feet", noted Muskegon Chronicle Dave LeMieux in a 2010 article, "it was precisely measured at 217 feet in 1907 by Muskegon High School’s trigonometry class." It dwarfed the surrounding landscape and served as a backdrop for the homes in the Actors' Colony.
|The property once played host to thousands of passenger pigeons during the 1800s, thus earning its name. A delicacy in restaurants in large cities, the birds were hunted and served as squab. Combined with deforestation and the disappearance of natural habitat, the passenger pigeon was last spotted in the wild in 1900. By 1930, the bird was considered extinct.|
|Owned by D.D. Erwin, the landmark dune was sold by his estate around 1920. Purchased by a newly-formed company that included investors from the Nugent Sand Company and the Pere Marquette Railroad, a Muskegon Chronicle report in May of 1925 announced that the sand from the hill would be mined for industry, and the cleared site would be developed for residential use. A lawsuit to prevent the building of a railroad spur to the site was filed by area residents, but did not halt progress. Demand for industrial casting sand was growing. By April of 1936, Sand Products Corporation had built a conveyor system to load sand on awaiting steamers, destined for industrial centers throughout the Midwest.|
||"The sand dock, with its many ships loading night and day was a part of the Bluffton scene for many years," noted the authors of Shifting Sands - A Story of the Bluffton Area.|
|Sand removal from the site continued until 1967. In the mid-1950's, the barren land attracted the interest of a chemical producer who wished to build a large plant in the area. Bluffton residents battled back to prevent the city from allowing the purchase of the site.|
Various attempts to redevelop the land continued over
the years. In the 1980's the property was sold to real estate
developers, who created a marina and yacht club on the site. Plans to build
condominiums on the surrounding land was slow to develop. A change
in ownership in 1992 kick-started the project, and has led to the
creation of Harbour Towne. Located
on 71 acres, it is now considered one of Michigan's finest condominium