History Of The Leelanau School: Pt 2

Throughout the 1950s, the school continued to grow. Winter sports, including downhill skiing, increased in importance under the leadership of Peppi Teichner who established downhill skiing as an interscholastic ski competition in Michigan. He came to the United States from Germany in 1938 joining the Sun Valley Ski School. Peppi served with distinction with the U.S. Army Ski Troops during WW II . As interest in skiing grew, the local skiing action moved from a hill off Trumball Rd owned by Stanley Ball to Miller Hill, and then to Sugarloaf. Where Peppi Teichner, Stanley Ball, and Art Huey created a public venture, the “Sugar Loaf Winter Sports Club” in the late 40’s into the early 50’s. Stanley rigged up a towrope system powered by a tractor engine. Ball was a strawberry farmer who also served as the county agricultural extension agent. Sugarloaf was closed in the 50’s until the Ganter family reopened Sugar Loaf in 1962 and operated it for 19 years to 1981. It went through a series of owners until closing in 2000. The new owner plans to have ski hill opened in 2006-07.

 Hans Peppi Teichner, Jean Sweeny, Pixie Hoffman, Corky Beals, Bruff LeVan, Tom Kuhnan and "Major" Huey. 1950

Hans Peppi Teichner, Jean Sweeny, Pixie Hoffman, Corky Beals, Bruff LeVan, Tom Kuhnan and “Major” Huey. 1950

Riveredge dorms Pinebrook for Girls Oakridge Dorms / Shanty Town ~ Leelanau for Boys
Hallaby Field and Gym The Center – Soda Bar, Store, Barber, Math, Latin, French, Spanish and Maintenance

The decade from 1966 to 1976 was a period of rapid expansion of the school’s physical plant. This included the addition of classroom and office space to the library (1966), Katy Kindel Hall (1968), the Student Center (1972), Pinebrook Dormitory (1972), the Gymnasium (1975) and the Lanphier Observatory (1976). In 1970, two “small” dorms, Chippewa and Ottawa, were added.

Cora Beals donated the Crystal River property known as “Faculty Row & the Oxebow” to the school at this time.
The school reached a peak enrollment of 167 in 1970. At that time, the rental of additional boarding space at The Homestead was sharply reduced, and by 1974 all boarding was located on the new campus. The Leelanau School and The Homestead continued to share a common entrance along what is now Old Homestead Road. The school expanded with the purchase of the Bourne property, and the Bourne Cottage now serves as the Infirmary downstairs and a faculty apartment upstairs. With a further exchange of land between the school and The Homestead, a separate entrance for The Homestead was created.

shoreline_70sThree businesses were started in response to demand. The Camp, The School and The Homestead were run by the Huey partnership in one business office as a way to keep good business office employees on a year around basis. The school and a hotel were good ways to use the physical plant year round, and the summer camp was an excellent feeder for students for the School and parents for the Hotel.
In its original structure under private ownership, The Leelanau School was not able to solicit tax-deductible gifts, and this made fundraising for the school difficult. In 1963 the school property and buildings were gifted by the Huey family to the non-profit corporation. The Hueys donated land just south of the original location in an area that included the Leelanau Library and Auditorium that had been built in 1952. The only benefit the Hueys received from the donation was a tax deduction and reduced property taxes.

The government had cleverly exempted the school property plus 250 acres where the present Homestead stands from the national lakeshore, so that the Huey’s had holdings both inside and outside of the proposed Lakeshore. In the end, the Lakeshore condemned about 1000 acres of land that the Hueys owned. The Lakeshore bill finally passed in 1972 after being defeated in congress for eight straight years,. During this time, the property tax burden for the Hueys more than doubled on the land not deeded to the school. Plans were for a major resort hotel to be funded by Chrysler Realty, complete with a Jack Nicklaus golf course. The Hueys had exchanged land with Pat Stocking owned southwest of Glen Arbor for a ski area that Snow Engineering said had a better vertical drop than any of the existing Michigan ski resorts, and it would have had a unique view of Lake Michigan. Once the Lakeshore passed, the government’s approach to large landowners was basically to make them wait under the pretext that funds were not available yet to pay them for condemned properties. Chrysler Realty decided they could wait no longer and backed out of the deal since the Lakeshore issue was still not settled. Chrysler Realty had a Harvard MBA, Bob Kuris working for them at the time who saw the opportunity to step in as a partner in the Hotel development with the Hueys. The Homestead was incorporated with Bob Kuras as partners in 1972 with plans for furthering the development of the resort property that for years had been student dorms in the winter and resort guest rooms in the summer. Recession hit the early 70’s and financial pressures associated with a partnership deal gave no choice for the Huey Family but to sell out in 1975 to Bob Kuras and his financial backers.

The partners of The Homestead returned the names Camp Leelanau for Boys and Camp Leelanau for Girls to the school in the 1970s. Later the girls’ camp became known as Camp Kohahna. By the early 1980s, the camps were relocated to the Timber Shores property south of Northport. After a few years they moved back south of the school along the Crystal River. In 1987, the camps were separated from the school and continue today as summer camps for Christian Scientists on Port Oneida at Pyramid Point, only a few miles north of the school.


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