Mears resident and newspaper publisher Swift Lathers built a retreat for himself and his family in the dunes that is now part of Silver Lake State Park. Swift was born in Detroit in 1889. After earning a teaching degree from Michigan State Normal College ( Eastern Michigan University) and taking law classes at U of M he moved to the west side of the state where he taught in a one-room schoolhouse. He moved to Mears and became the postmaster and in 1914 he began publishing a newspaper called The Mears Newz.
In 1939 Lathers began a retreat from daily life by homesteading on the Lake Michigan dunes west of Mears. Access roads did not exist and he slowly began walking in lumber and built small buildings. He constructed a school, chapel, general store, a printing office, and some residential houses. Swift Lathers little community became known as Dune Forrest Village. Many people came to visit and stay in the little village, but over time it was used less and became abandoned. Vandals and time slowly destroyed the buildings. Swift Lathers died in 1970 and that same year park officials removed the remains of buildings, and the property became part of Silver Lake State Park. Nothing remains of the village but memories.
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