History


The History of Paradise Hollow

In or around 1948, Grand Rapids residents Dick and Marie Oosse purchased eight acres and three cabins on Lake View, about a mile outside the village of Lake Ann, Michigan. They promptly named their new resort "Paradise Hollow", and named the original cabins California, Texas and Florida.

As a sales rep and contractor for a log cabin company, Dick added six more guest cabins over the years. The Oosses and their four children -- Bonnie, Gordon, Bruce and Judy -- continued living in Grand Rapids. Dick would open up the resort to visitors in the Spring and close it up in the Fall, with the rest of the family joining him once school was out, staying in one of the cabins. As it grew, the resort became a popular destination for many of their family members and friends from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

Paradise Hollow has changed surprisingly little over the decades. The Oosses bought horses for their kids for the summer of 1954, and again in 1967 so that Judy could take kids out on trail rides. White stallion cutouts created by Judy and her father still adorn the horse and equipment barn next to the shuffleboard courts today. Dick built the shuffleboard courts to high-quality or perhaps even professional specs, and originally charged a fee to rent the equipment to play on them. An older single court, free to all, existed at the top of the hill above the fire pit, where horse shoes are played today. Memories of past stays here often include the sounds of sliding and ricocheting shuffleboard discs, as well as those of ping-pong and various renditions of Chopsticks being played on an ancient upright piano in the recreation room. In the resort's earlier decades, the piano was the centerpiece of a weekly tradition, the Sunday night hymn-sing. On Monday night, hot dogs and marshmallows were brought to the fire pit for the weekly weenie-roast. Throughout the summer, fisherman nailed pike and bass heads by their gill plates to the outside wall of the small shower house, a somewhat macabre but always-encouraging fishing report.

Once all their kids had grown, Dick and Marie built and moved into a new main house at the north end of Paradise Hollow, which at that time was the resort's entrance. In 1975 they sold the house and resort to the Larry and Carol Poulisse family, while keeping the adjacent property to the south, where Dick built a new house for their retirement. The Poulisses leveled off the main hill above the resort, making it suitable for a play area and volleyball.

When they retired, the Poulisses sold off the main house and cabins individually. The main house was separated by a row of trees, and a new entrance was made into the resort from the opposite end. The cabins remain individually owned but collectively managed.

The Oosses lived in their new home adjacent to the resort until the 1990s, often spending winters in Florida. Dick continued doing carpentry and contracting jobs until suffering a stroke in 1990. A second stroke forced them to move to Florida, where Dick passed away on January 26, 2000. As of 2014, at age 94, Marie lives with her daughter Bonnie in Florida. Paradise Hollow continues to welcome its weekly summer visitors, a timeless testament to Dick and Marie's vision.