Our History

The Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club (HSC) was founded in 1927 on 25,000 acres of land purchased by William E. McNamara and a group of associates from the Lansing area.  The purchase was made possible after the land was abandoned by the lumber companies once they had completed timbering.  Prior to the arrival of timber companies, the land was inhabited by Ojibwa Indians, whose presence is reflected in the names given to HSC’s first structures.
Almost immediately after the purchase of the land, memberships were offered for sale and limited development of the land began.  The first major building constructed on HSC property was the massive log structure of Cranberry Lodge (1927), a hunting lodge overlooking picturesque, peaceful Cranberry Lake. Then came Manitou Lodge and Mudjekeewis Dining Hall (1931) names which recognize the Ojibwa connection to the property. 
These first years also saw the construction of an HSC Office (today a private residence on H40), the HSC Golf Course, and rental cabins on Lake Millecoquins.  Major additions include HSC’s iconic entrance to the golf course on US2 (1956), trap range, hiking trails, fishing areas, the present HSC office (1958), the Activities Building (1965) and the present Golf Course Pro Shop (2003).
Over its history, HSC has added more than 10,000 additional acres and continues to expand its facilities.  HSC has also repurposed many of the original building.  Manitou Lodge is now the Museum, the Commissary is now the Paintin’ Place, the original maintenance building is the Craftsman’s Building, and another maintenance building was remodeled into the Recreation Building. 
HSC is the largest private club in Michigan with five miles of Lake Michigan frontage, more than 100 miles of trails through 36,000 acres of breathtaking rolling forests, 78 miles of spring-fed rivers and trout streams and numerous ponds and small lakes within its boundaries.
As HSC approaches its centennial anniversary in 2027, it is with deep commitment to stewardship of the wilderness property, ensuring the health of forestland and clean water and encouraging a sense of community that is unlike any other – all to offer Sporting, Exploring, and Relaxing to generations to come!