I found a reference in The Cass City Chronicle, for March 8, 1940, that there were three ski tows in lower Michigan: at Cadillac (Caberfae?), Petoskey (Petoskey Winter Sports Park?) and in Alpena. I was unaware of any prewar skiing in the Alpena area. I contacted the Alpena Public Library for help and Bob Lyngos in Special Collections was kind enough to send me 8 great pictures of early skiing in the area just south of Alpena which he guesses date from 1949. That is 9 years later than the statement about the tow, but still earlier than anything I knew about in East Michigan.
The pictures; from The Alpena News Collection, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, Special Collections; show people skiing, riding a tow rope and working on the tow equipment at a place apparently known as Lookout Inn near Spruce.
Today, near Spruce, on US-23 south of Ossineke, there is a restaurant on the east side of the road called Rosa’s Lookout Inn. Across the road is a hilly area with a lookout tower part-way up the hill. It is private property with a couple houses on the hill, but brush and trees have been cleared and it may be the remains of the slopes shown in the photos.
I do not know if the current restaurant is related to the 1949 Lookout Inn pictures (no buildings or towers are shown in the photos), nor do I know if the Lookout Inn pictures are related to the article about a rope tow near Alpena in 1940.
If you have any information about tow-served skiing near Alpena in the pre-war or early post-war period, please post it or send it to us via the instructions on the About MILSAP page.