Fonro Ski Resort – Comins

Where was this area? It turns out that Fonro was about 20 mi. north of Mio, 1 1/2 mi. east of M-33 near Comins.   On Jan. 4, 1968, The Cass City Chronicle noted in the AAA Guide to Winter Sports Fun in Michigan that Fonro had 5 slopes and 3 tows. According to the 1971 AAA Winter Sports Fun List published in the same paper on Dec. 10, 1970, Fonro had 7 slopes and 3 rope tows.  of Dec. 24, 1969 noted on Page 5 that Fonro operated one of the largest snowmobile rental businesses in the state. The Evening Independent from St. Petersburg, FL, on 11/17/70 in an article on page 9B titled “Michigan Offers Winter Fun” noted that Fonro had added snowmobile trails.

Jim Jacques sent along this picture of the Fonro Ski Lodge from 1964. Apparently it was a top-of-hill lodge, not uncommon in central Michigan, and had an octogonal seating area with a central fireplace resembling a teepee.

Picture of the Fonro Ski Lodge from 1964 courtesy of Jim Jacques

A patroller I used to ski with at Mt. Maria once related his experience visiting Fonro to help train the ski patrol there. He said it was a luxurious area for people from the Detroit area. Families arrived in large black sedans or limos. The kids went skiing, the wives went to the bar, and the men, wearing dark business suits, disappeared into the back room. He thought it looked like an underworld retreat. I am unable to spot this former area on the satellite map. If you know the exact location, please let me know.

Apparently, Fonro was later renamed Cole Creek.

If you have any information about skiing at Fonro, please post it or send it according tot he directions on the About MILSAP page.

103 Responses to Fonro Ski Resort – Comins

  1. Jim Jacques says:

    I skied Fonro as a kid with my family. It’s where I learned to ski using cable binding skis with screwed on edges. Rope tows only. I’ll see if my parents have some old photos from there. I’m now an Instructor at Pine Knob in Clarkston.

  2. Monique Mallon says:

    We also skiied there as a family (back in 1970’s!) and it was very close to Gaylord. There was a small lodge and yes, a single tow rope. They used to do snow mobiling back then, too. They also had a pet deer which wore a red collar to separate it from the rest. Sadly, he was mistakenly shot by a hunter. Hope this helps!

  3. Preston I. Perrone says:

    My Grandparents, I. Gasper & Anna Perrone owned the land that became Fonro Lodge in the early 1960’s. It was used as a family hunting lodge for over 4 decades until my grandfather passed away in the early sixties. By then, they had retired and moved from Mt. Clemens to Boca Raton, Florida.

    My 1st wife and I spent our honeymoon at the lodge in December 1969. The property had just been sold and was re-opening after the deal closing in January 1970. Because of our relationship to the property, they opened the lodge to accomodate our long standing ties to the land. We were the only guests in the lodge, and they kept three staff members on site to accomodate our needs including bar, restaurant, skiing and snowmobiling.

    I have not been back to the area since that honeymoon but will be traveling to Michigan this Summer. If I could locate the property, I’d like to go back and revisit childhood memories – especially the old cabin back in the northern section of the property. Great summer vacations and deer hunting memories.

    Someone give me an address – the road name/number would be perfect … I can find it from there.

    • Nancy Girardot says:

      Hi Preston. We are distant cousins. My parents are Gene and Mary Lou (Calcagno) Ferritto. Your Aunt Ida and my grandfather are/were brother and sister. I remember your house on Lake Saint Clair. Anyway, the Ferritto/Calcagno/Biondo families still go up that the area where Fonro was. The Calcagno’s still have acerage and their cottage off Tote Road. We were just there last weekend.

      Hope you find it when you are in Michigan.

      Nancy (Ferritto) Girardot… long lost cousin!

      • Jackie Roe says:

        Nancy, your mother Mary Lou used to come down the road to our house to play with us. Our last names are Roe. We lived in the MacAuleys old house on Emig Road. Boy, does that bring back memories. Thank you for making me think of the simple times and life back then.

      • Preston Perrone says:


        Please e-mail me direct at I’d love to exchange / update information about our families. My only link to the other members of the Calcagno / Perrone family for several years has been Barb Renda, who lives down here in Florida.



    • Karen Olson Girardot says:

      I was trying to find some information on Fonro Lodge and came upon your posting. I have faint memories of visiting Fonro Lodge a number of times as a child (early 1960’s). My parents were friends with a family that lived on the same road that the Fonro Lodge was located. Their name was Art & Marion Sutton. If memory serves me correctly, Art worked at the lodge as a bartender. After my parents died (1963 & 1968), I lost contact with them. I always wondered what ever happened to them. I know they had quite a few kids. Do you happen to recognize the name?

      • MILSAP says:

        I never skied there, Karen. Perhaps someone will see your comment and respond. I did a quick search on the web and found several people named Sutton in the Mio area.

      • Jackie Roe says:

        Karen, there was a family named Sutton. They live on Emig Road down from the lodge. They had at least 13 kids. They started to build a house but ended up living in the basement. I went to school (Fairview) with a few of them. I am not sure where they are now either. I will ask my siblings to see if they remember the names of the kids.

      • Jackie Roe says:

        Karen we used to live in your grandparents house back in the early 60s. My parents were John and Hazel Roe. We have a bunch of kids. Boy, those were such good times.

      • Danny Pfaff says:

        The last name was Suddon. I grew up with most of the 13 kids.

      • Kathy says:

        That’s my aunt and uncle art n Marion Suddon. They are both passed now but some of their children still live on Emig rd. Miss them so much

      • Hope Suddon says:

        Art and Marion Suddon was my mom and dad! We lived down the road from the lodge! I worked at Condo Lodge! Spent a lot of time there! Still live in Coming!

      • Tony says:

        The name is Suddon, and I’m one of them. Art and Marion were my grand parents. 14 kids and around 45 grand kids.

      • Morgan says:

        Art & Marion SUDDON

      • Morgan says:

        They had 14 kids, 14 kids people, they happen to be my grandparents.

      • Robin (Suddon) Ballard says:

        It’s not Sutton, it’s Suddon and I’m a Suddon. Art & Marion were my grand parents. Fonro is no more.

      • Jenny Blamer says:

        Worked at Fonro in the mid 70s. Not uncommon to make $60. in tips per restaurant table. Back then that was BIG money. My first time waiting drinks in the tepee lounge was to all the Kann clan from Mio.

        Art and Marion Suddon they had 12 or 13 kids and their neighbors McAuleys had 12 kids. I went to school with the younger bunch.

    • David Fons says:

      Hi Preston,
      My father and uncle bought the property from your family around 1957. I met your father
      when we took a ride from “the old cabin” to the new lodge site. I was told that your mother
      made him sell because he used to love to walk the woods by himself and she was worried
      that if something happened no one would be able to find him.
      I would love to reminisce with you about the property as I knew it well.
      Dave Fons

      • adez7 says:

        I was on the ski patrol under tom straley when I first met you at fonro lodge. Contact me 307-220-1334

      • Mick Grochowski says:

        Dave Fons. Alpena Catholic Central. Would have been class of 66, but your family moved away. Mick Grochowski here, from class of 66. Just saying hello. Remembering Fonro Lodge from a trip there with other CCHS classmates in 64, perhaps? Your name came up at our 50th class reunion,

    • Robert Emig says:

      Emig rd. 1mile east of M-33 Comins Mi.

    • Morgan says:

      Emig rd. Comins, mi

    • Danny Pfaff says:

      My Dad knew Gasper really well and also knew Sam. Sam used to stop at our farm every now and then to chat and get fresh milk. Dad and Uncle Willard helped build the Lodge.

  4. Gerry Geletzke says:

    Fonro later became Cole Creek. It had three primary ski trails, three rope tows and a couple of smaller trails through the woods (loosely six or seven ski runs total). As I recall, it was located East of 33, off of Emig Road (North of Comins, MI). Looking at Google Earth (not very good resolution), I believe that the approximate coordinates are 40 degrees, 50 minutes, 36.87 seconds North, 84 degrees, 00 minutes, 10.60 seconds West. They had a main lodge with a bar, kitchen, dining room, a wonderful central fireplace and a dance floor. They also had two separate lodging accomodations (an A-frame and a B-frame) and a travel trailer. It also had a swimming pool, and a small barn. The property had extensive snowmobile trails, deer blinds, a grass aircraft landing strip and an old rundown house in the woods. On weekends they would have live bands perform and the lodge was usually packed. The deer that Monique referred to was named Button Nose.

  5. Gerry Geletzke says:

    You are correct. It is approximately 44 degrees, 50 minutes, 36.77 seconds North, 84 degrees, 00 minutes, 10.06 seconds West (90% confidence due to Google Earth resolution). Cole Creek was intended to be a year-round resort with swimming, hiking and horseback riding in the Summer, hunting in the ‘open’ seasons, and skiing and snowmobiling in the Winter.

  6. Brian Barr says:

    RE: Fonro Lodge
    My father Terry Barr used to own a boy’s camp called “Camp Hiawatha” near Fonro Lodge on Island Lake. I visited Fonro in the late 70’s. I think I may have even skied there once..

    • JohnE. Owen says:

      Hi Brian, You may not remember me (you were a youngster then) but I was the Waterfront Director at the Camp and have many wonderful memories of your dad, Pat, his brother, and all the rest of the Barr clan.
      I was saddened to learn of your father’s passing. He was always a gentlemen to me. The last time I visited the resort – many year sago – it had been converted into sort of a RVresort. The dining hall had been rebuilt into a pretty nice facility. Does your family still own the property?
      As I write this, I’ve learned of the passing of your uncle, Pat, and also Charlie Pierce.
      I hope you mother, Shelly is still with us and doing well. She was always a classy lady.
      Best wishes to you, Brian.
      John Owen (waterfront director)

    • Danny Pfaff says:

      Brian, my brother worked at the camp in the mid 60’s. We grew up in Comins and my Dad did some work for the camp as a contractor and we got to meet your Dad and a few of his friends on the Lions.

  7. R SMITH says:

    I remember the Fawnroe Lodge back in the early 1970’s, hitting the snow covered hills and riding the snowmobile trails. I also fed the baby fawn in the kitchen. And the guys in the dark suits were the Detroit Mob.

  8. Karen Olson Girardot says:

    Thanks Jackie for the reply. I’m sure that they are the same Sutton’s. I remember that they had a number of kids and was living in the basement of a house they were building. In fact, I seem to remember spending a few sleepovers there. If memory serves my correctly, I believe that the house eventually got built. Can’t remember any of the kids names. I do remember there was an older son that went or was suppose to go to Alaska sometime around 1960-2. My parents were friends of the parents (Art & Marion) and Art’s father (Jules). We use to vacation in Comins. Eventually my parents bought a place in Mio with the hopes of moving there when I would have been ready to go to high school. Mio was just building their high school out on M-72 (?). Unfortunately that never happened as my parents died in 1963 & 1968 and the property got sold. I lost track of the Sutton family after my parents died . I’m sure that Art, Marion, & Jules have died. It’s been so many years ago. Would love to know what happened to the rest of the family. Look forward from hearing from you if you get any further information. Thanks again.

    • Ed Ivinson says:

      I lived here as a child as my dad had managed the place until it caught on fire and we moved. My fondest memories ever were from here. It was the greatest playground ever for a kid. I will try to get some pictures and post them.

      • Karen Olson Girardot says:

        Thanks Ed for the reply. I don’t remember a lot about the lodge but I do seem to remember the fireplace. Wasn’t the dinig room also round with the firplace sitting in the middle?

      • Tris Harkless says:

        Hi Ed, I was on the ski patrol in the early to mid 60’s and I too have many beautiful memories of that place as a young man in my teens.

    • Hope Suddon says:

      I met so many people growing up just down the road from Fonro Lodge in Coming! My parents Art and Marion Suddon and my grandfather have passed away! There was 14 kids in our family! Seven boys and seven girls! Spent a lot of time at the lodge, working, skiing and horseback riding, yes swimming!

      • Karen Girardot says:

        I remember your mom, dad, and grandfather Jules. In fact, I used to call your grandfather grandpa too. I remember him staying at our house often. I seem to remember his daughter Wilma and her husband Fred…..they lived in Warren I believe. I also have a faint memory of a woman named Loretta that I think was Jules sister. I think she had a Pomeranian dog that she would bring when she came to visit him at our house. I remember picking blueberries in the woods across the street from your house……only time I’ve ever been bit by a bee! I even slept over at your house. We probably played together on several occasions. I remember playing in the ball field behind the restaurant in town that I believe your parents owned? I have pictures of me having a birthday party there. We used to stay across the street in a white building of something like row houses or store fronts. There was an outhouse in the back. So many small memories. Lost contact with your family after my mother died (1968).

    • Robin (Suddon) Ballard says:

      Art & Marion had 14 kids. 7 boys, 7 girls. Allen, Richard, Harry (my dad), Paul, Fred, Dale, Donny, Shirley, Sherry, Dorthy, Julie, Hope, Florence & Carol. Richard is the one that lived in Alaska. He has passed away to heaven. Shirley is also in Alaska.

      I miss the house on Emig Rd. It was a huge part of my childhood. Family gatherings were extra special and full of fun and noise.

  9. Ed Ivinson says:

    I used to live there when I was a little kid. My parents managed the place at the time. It was an amazing experience for me; at age six I was taught to saddle my own horse because my dad got tired of doing it for me. I rode horses all summer long, we had the swimming pool, the putt putt golf. In the winter I would ski and ride the snowmobiles…when I was done, I’d go inside to the kitchen and have the cook make me a burger and fries and I’d go set at the big fireplace in the middle of the dining area which was like a big Tee Pee. I have a lot of fond memories there!

  10. Candy Dalton-VanNort says:

    I have fond memories of Fonro. I visited there in the summer of 72 and one of the guys that worked there and worked the bar on the weekends was Chris Emig. Graduated from Fairview High class of 71. He became my boyfriend and I went there many times…..His parents were Elton and Marie Emig and they too lived on Emig Road. I have several pictures of the lodge inside and out. There were also A frame cottages on the acreage that you could rent….sadly Chris joined the Navy after Fonro…and we stayed in touch but his untimely death at the age of 39 left me devasted. Lung cancer. This is a part of my life I will never forget. If memory serves me right there was some sort of ties to either a GM or owner in Royal Oak…can’t remember the names but I remember that the daughter got a compound fracture on the slopes and was casted a long time! Let me know if anyone wants to see the pics I have and I’ll get them out.

    • MILSAP says:

      We would love to see your pictures, Candy. You can send them to us by the directions on the About MILSAP page.

      • Denise Collint Jobe says:

        I would love to see some pictures Candy. My brother bought the Emig place on Emig road and knew there was a house there before a fire demolished it. Only the garage is left there as we use that for the kitchen and eating area now. I am with the Collins family that had the cabin right next to the Sutton’s place. Our cabin was lost when my parents passed away but since my brother got the old Emig place we have awesome family times there. Please if you can post some pictures…. thank you!!

  11. Mike wasnock says:

    I remember going there in the late 70 it was a new years party to seey mom and dad to ask them if I could stay the night at a friends I came in to the kitchen are was met by 2 men in black suits they stopped me and asked what I was doing there I told them I needed to talk to my dad they asked me his name I told them his name and they new him I remember the band Shannana was playing he came to the kichen and told me never to enter the kichen area again we told and he let me stay at my friends I was just there a couple days ago it had a fire years ago still standing

  12. Candice Van Nort says:

    It is still standing?

    • william norton says:

      yes me and my wife was there last year and you could see where a fire had been in the dining room.i had worked with my mother and grandmother there in the summers i want to say mid 70’s the owner at the time was from Monroe Michigan can’t remember his was such a beautiful place and had such a good time. now the trees are growing threw the tennis court and everything is just wild makesd me so sad. i hope this helps

  13. Cindy Bills says:

    My family owned the property that ajoined the lodge property ,on E Emig rd. the lodge was 4.5 miles north of Comins on m-33, then right on Emig rd. 1.5 miles (to the gate) Starting in winter of 1972 we were there every weekend for many yrs. We lived right next door on weekends and holidays. My parents live there still. We rode snowmobiles there to eat lunch , or dinner, ski, ride the trails and listen to whatever band was playing. We spent many, many hours there. My brother and I worked for a season in the ski room. The skiing was fun for everyone ,we always had a great time there. I remember “Buttons”, the deer with the tie on his neck. There were 8-10 rooms to rent, two chalets,swimming pool horse back riding, an airstrip on the far east end of the property, and as one other person on here recalls, the little shack of a house we called the “halfway house” out in the woods. My family knew many of its employees and owners over the yrs., mainly because we spent so much of our time there. Many fond memories. Feel free to contact me if there is anything you’d like to know. Maybe we can help.

  14. Candy says:

    Did you know Chris Emig? He worked there for a few years.

  15. Corie says:

    My father (Dean Stutesman) worked here in the early 70’s and STILL talks fondly about Fonro Lodge….Even though I was only a baby the last time that I was there.?.?.?.? I feel a kind of BOND to this place….. 😉

    • Then your dad had to work with Chris Emig!

      • Joe Kolakowski says:

        I remember Chris Emig Candace. I owned the Knot Hole Bar in the late 70’s and 80’s. I also remember most parties spoken of here. When I started going to the Knot Hole Art Sudden was a bar tender there. I also knew his wife and many of their children. I live in Indian River now. But still get back to Comins occasionally.

      • Candice Van Bort says:

        Wow! I have Art Sutton’s business card from Fonro. Chris was a jack of all trades and did work the bar at least on the weekends that I remember. He also worked on the Ski patrol and was employed at the lodge year round. He lived just a few miles down the road across the hwy on Emig Rd. He eventually left Fonro and went to the Navy because he could get the schooling he wanted. Sadly he passed away at 38 in 1991 from Lung cancer as he was a very bad chain smoker. His children were very young at that time. I have nothing but the fondest memories of Fonro and Chris, we remained friends until his death. I have more pictures but a lot are posted on this site already…I have ski tickets and some other memorabilia that I will treasure forever!

      • Tony Suddon says:

        Candice, Art was my grandfather. My father, Harry Suddon also worked there. I would like to buy Arts business card from you if you are willing to part with it. Email me at

      • Candice Van Bort says:

        I’m sorry I mis spoke it’s Ed and Karen Iverson…….I sent you that card via email. They were the ones in charge early to mid seventies

  16. Robert. Colins says:

    We have a family cabin on Emig Rd.for over 40 years. Down the road from the lodge. Our cabin is next to the Suttons home. We still go there and ride our golf cart down there and see deer in front of the lodge every summer. Love it.

    • Karen Olson Girardot says:

      Don’t know whatever happened to the Suttons. Lost contact with them after my parents died back in the 60’s. Do you know if any of them are still around?

      • Angie says:

        They are a few Suddon’s in the area although most are down state and couple are out of state. My aunt is one of them and still lives in Comins.
        My grandmother was Kitty Fredrickson and she cooked there for many years. I live on Emig Road and it’s amazing how many people we’ve met over the years that have great memories of the lodge.

      • Dawn Fredrickson says:

        Yes. Carol lives right in town across from the party store. She is my mother.

  17. Karen Olson Girardot says:

    Don’t know whatever happened to the Suttons. Lost contact with them after my parents died back in the 60’s. Do you know if any of them are still around?

  18. Denise Collint Jobe says:

    I’m Robert. Collins sister. Denise Collins Jobe. George and Violet Collins had the trailer and a cabin on Emig Road next to the Sutton’s house. We had a large family also that got along great with the Sutton’s. Marion and Art are both deceased. The one son still lives in Alaska. The house was lived in by Hope Sutton and her family for a while then they built a house at the old Sutton farm on top of the of hill by the old pond on Emig Road. The Sutton home has been lived in by many Sutton relatives through the years, my sister even lived in it for about a year. A nephew I believe bought the house and rents it out to different people last I heard. But family is still in Comins all over the place. Had some great times at Frono lodge. Still go there and see the ruins of it. Hasn’t been occupied since the Cole Creek lodge went under, gosh about 10-15 years ago. Pool has been buried in, and just very empty, looks haunted in fact. When the Cole Creek lodge went under they had a “rummage sale” there to sell everything. It smelled very musty and was a big mess inside. I remember from the glory days how beautiful it was but at the sale it was so sad to see it turning to ruins. We still takes rides up there on a tractor or four wheelers and just think how sad it is see it this way. Then we go on back to where the “mob’s” hunting lodge is and think about Jimmy Hoffa, lol. Pictures would be great from the past…. so looking for them and found this site in fact looking for the history of Comins and the Emig family since by brother bought the Emig place on the west side of M33. Thank you!!!!

  19. Candice van nort says:

    At the top of the page most of what I have has been posted

  20. Denise says:

    Thank you Candice for posting these pictures. I am so happy I found this page and reading all the memories of Frono’s. You have put a lot of time and effort with this. I was just looking for more history on the Emig family too that’s all. Thank you so much!!!

    • Candy says:

      Did you see that I had a boyfriend Chris Emig who also lived on Emig road. I do have other pictures too….

      • Denise says:

        Candy, I did see your comment about Chris Emig. I would love to see pictures of the old homestead if you have any and you don’t mind. Our family is all about tradition and want to respect what was and what we can do to keep it that way. The more we know the more we grow, lol. Thank you!! So many memories in these comments, gosh I wish I could go back in time and take more pictures than what I did…. never thought I would miss it so much.

  21. Candy says:

    Unfortunately after Elton passed on the homestead was sold and subsequently torn down. There is nothing there. I believe the address was 2240. Not sure why it was just torn down and nothing put in its place as the home as I remember was not is disarray. Even the first place Chris had moved to on Abbe Road is no longer there…..such a shame as all those memories are gone

    • Denise says:

      The old Emig place was bought by my brother. We have definitely brought life back to the property. We have so much fun there. Our whole gets together for the 4th of July and we now call it “Camp Collins”. We love it so much. We have found old jars, saws, horseshoes and other metal stuff buried on the property. The flower beds are all kept up, the rocks are so much fun to decorate around the yard. The children have so much fun back in the woods. And because we love the property so much we were wondering what it looked like before the house was torn down. We always thought it burned down but I guess not. It would be so nice to see pictures of the place if you have them? I don’t think we can post pictures here but you can email them to the publisher via the directions on the About MILSAP page. I can email you some pictures of all of us there and how much fun we have. The garage was fixed up too for a little kitchen and a few couches to hang out in. 🙂

  22. Dan Sampson says:

    My band, “The Country Cousins” played at the lodge back in 1975. It was a GREAT little lodge.

    • David Fons says:

      Thanks for the update. My family sold it in the late sixties so I wasn’t around or involved with it in 1975.

      • Tris Harkless says:

        Hi David, I don’t expect you to remember me. I was on the ski patrol in the mid 60’s. I knew you when you came there and always wanted to become friends, but we lived in two different worlds. I can share some great memories with you of those times if you are interested.

  23. Ted Perreault says:

    So does the name FonRo come from the two families that owned it…. the Fons and Ronains?? My parents (Roger and Alice Perreault) were friends with them. They talked quite a bit about it. They did not ski but may have been there for a weekend. At the time (mid 60’s) me, and my brother and sister (John and Christine) were skiing at Mt. Holly with Shrine High School Ski Club. (I still ski at Mt. Holly !) I did find the place about 5 years ago, the burned out lodge was still there, the other sections looked like a motel that maybe had one or two residents.

  24. David Fons says:

    Hi Ted,
    The “Ro” stood for Rosenbach. Don Rosenbach was a partner with Jerry and Wally Fons.
    He passed away last month just shy, one week, of 90 years old. He and his wife Jean are big Shrine High School boosters.Their four children went there.
    In reading the comments, I have to do a spell check on Art and Marion”s last name.
    Suddon not Sutton.

    • Danny Pfaff says:

      David, my Father, Wayne, helped build the lodge. He did the roofing on the Tepee. I remember Jerry and Wally. They were so friendly with the kids of employees. My Mom worked there as a maid when they were the owners. I went to school with most of the Suddons and also with Lynn Brost whose Dad owned the lodge in 1970, I believe. Over the years I have had aunts, uncles, brother, mom and dad all working at the Lodge. My Grandma was the head cook in the mid 70’s.

      • Candice Van Nort says:

        Yes! I had been to their home their daughter Jan had a compound fracture of her left leg that took forever to heal. One of their employees (Chris Emig) took me there because I lived in Madison Heights and they lived in Royal Oak not far from the Shrine of the Little Flower….he stopped by to do something for them.

  25. Mike says:

    Anyone have more information about the adjacent airfield?

    • Denise says:

      From what I heard is that Frono’s did have an airfield, it was a private one just for Frono’s use and had no name to it.

  26. Dawn Fredrickson says:

    14 Suddon children. Art & Marion Suddon are my grandparents.

  27. Ted Duckworth says:

    All the stories that come out of the fonro lodge are true. My great-uncle Art Sudon was a well-known bartender in the establishment a lot of his children worked at The Foundry Lodge and I was fortunate to work there in 1977-78 my first job when it turned to Cole Creek. Coal Creek is on Emig rd.

  28. B Ballard says:

    My father in law and a number of his family worked there when it was Fonro. It was an easy commute considering he and his 13 siblings lived a mike down the road. His wife is actually one of the Fonts kids. The original owners and the Fon in Fonro. I took pics of the place last summer. Pretty depressing, it is a blue tarp and rotten cedar mess.

  29. Denise peters smith says:

    Loved going there in the mid 70s had my wedding reception there too

  30. Mike and Marsha Taylor says:

    Having lived in Comins for the past 60 years we too have many fond memories of fun times of Skiing ,attending dances,parties and dinning at the Fonro Lodge in our younger years. When time permits we will update this site on what has happened to the lodge and surrounding property over the course of the last 35 years to present day, including the buildings, ski hill , airport and the gangster house in the woods.

  31. Mary Jones says:

    My Mother, Justina Jones and I moved to Fonro in 1962. Mom mainly cooked but also tended bar, handled reservations, cleaned rooms, and more. I used to help her clean the rooms and the A-Frame and the B-Frame. We lived In one of the rooms until the owners brought up a new mobile home for us to live in. It was a great place to grow up, especially when they put the pool in and when the ski hills were made. The Fons family were always very good to us and their children and I became great friends. Art Suddon, who lived just down the road with his wonderful family, was the bartender at the Lodge. When we got the horses I would occasionally take guests out on trail rides. Snowmobiles were new then and we had some for the guests to use. Good times! We left in 1967.

  32. Robbie hink says:

    My family owned the neighboring property and know it well

  33. Mike and Marsha Taylor says:

    As Mary Jones mentioned Fonro also offered horse back rides at one time.And later when it became Cole Creek Lodge a full size regulation trap and skeet range was built on the property in the woods between the lodge and the airport. Both were done to try and generate more revenue and bring more guests from down below.

  34. Mike and Marsha Taylor says:

    Fonro Lodge update—last 35 years
    In the early 80’s almost all of the former Fonro Lodge property (960 acres) was purchased and acquired by Hink’s Lodge. Hink’s property bordered the Fonro property on the east side. And at that time was owned by Walter Hink or “ Wally” as he was known by the locals. The property that he bought did not include the Fonro Lodge or any of the other building. But it did include the ski hill , trap and skeet range, airport and the old house in the woods. Wally wanted the additional land for hunting, snowmobiling and summer time fun for his family and to acquire the airport. Shortly after taking ownership of the property Wally proceeded to lengthen and widen the existing airport from 1400 feet to almost 5,000 feet. He did this in order to accommodate his own personal twin engine plane that he used to fly back and forth to the Detroit area where his business was. The airport because of insurance regulations was for private use only and is still in use and maintained to this day under those regulations.
    After Wally’s unexpected death in 1983 the Hink family continued to own and operate Hink’s Lodge for the next ten years or so. It was not only enjoyed by the Hink family and friends but also by many local kids who went out to spend time with Wally’s kids Robbie and Gayle when they were up here for summer vacations. One of Wally’s wish’s was to be buried in the woods on the property. After his death the family had a small surveyed and deeded cemetery built on the former Fonro property near the end of emig road. His is buried there along with his brother Jack and several other family members. The cemetery is kept up and maintained by the Taylor family for the Hink’s.

    In the early 90’s the Hink family decided to sell some memberships and took on 5 or 6 new members from downstate. And at that time the former Fonro property and Hink’s lodge took on a new name and became the “Nawakwa Hunt and Gun Club” which is what it is still called now. After it became the Nawakwa Club a full size and modern regulation sporting clay shooting course was built in the woods in the ski hill area. It includes stations on top of the old ski hill, several on the slopes and others threw out the woods between the old lodge and airport.
    As for the old house in the “woods”. Nothing has been done with it for the last 30 years and it is pretty run down and fallen in. . However, the main part of the structure is still standing and can be seen on google earth at 44’51’19.46—83’58’45.48 The last person to use it or do anything with it was Wally Hink’s son “Robbie” in the early 80’s. He along with several of his buddies from town (Mike Taylor -Mick Green) fixed it up a bit and cleaned it out and spent a few nights there during several summers.

    Over the last ten years or so most of the members of the Nawakwa Club have either sold their memberships or died. At present time the Nawakwa Hunt and Gun Club is once again owned by a sole owner. Who is a business man from down state who continues to use the property and airport for his own personal use and for family and friends.
    The old Fonro lodge , motel and Aframes are now owned by local guy from Comins who lives there in one of the aframes. What his future plans are for the old Fonro are not know. His son is on facebook so maybe he will find this post and add some input.

  35. Rhonda says:

    I remember going up to ski in the early 60’s. I am not sure if my Uncle Harlen Brost or cousin Don Brost, help run the lodge or owned it once, Yes, they were from Monroe, MI. My cousins, Jill, Lyn and Donny use to live there. There little sister had a accident there. I am not sure what happen after that. I was to young to ask questions. I just remember how much fun it was. There was a man that my family liked. I think he was on the ski patrol. He came to visit us in Bloomfield Hills. My family’s last name was Lee.

  36. adez7 says:

    Hi Denise, There were two men and a woman on the ski Patrol when I was hired. Tom Straley was in charge and he is probably the one you are thinking about, I was second in line and my name is Tris Harkless, and the woman’s name was Olivia. I think if I am not wrong I remember Don Brost for some reason, that name rings a bell for me. Oh well getting old her on this end and memory isn’t what it used to be. Those were very special times in my life, and in particular Fonroe Lodge played a huge part in mine at the time.

    • Mary Jones Kucharek says:

      You can find me on facebook…get in touch.
      Mary Jones

      • Hi Mary, just reading this thread and found this invitation to converse. I’m 67 now so as you can surmise I’m a bit older than those days at Fonro Lodge. However they were some of the most precious times of my early life. I lived in Atlanta at the time and my dad was the CEO of a big turn signal firm in Atlanta that made all the turn signals for Detroit auto makers. I was an expert skier and got hired on as a ski patrol at the Lodge. I spent many many days there with thousands of great memories. Unfortunately there are thousands of Mary Jones on Face Book so with out a link I’m lost. Not very technical here on this end.

  37. James Fleming says:

    To Mike and Marsha Taylor – The name Nawakwa is not new to the property east of the old Fonro lodge; In the 1940s my grandfather and five of his friends bought a square mile of property one mile to the east of the lodge; They built a hunting camp there and named it Nawakwa camp. This square mile of property was just to the east of property owned by the Couch family. The name Nawakwa was used until the early 1980s by which time my grandfather and all of the original owners had passed and the Hink brothers owned all of the land and renamed it Hink’s camp.

    • mike taylor says:

      To James Fleming–yes i was aware of the fact it was once called Nawakwa i was just referring that it once again changed names. In fact when I started hunting over 60 years ago I hunted on the Bonehead Club which is just north of the original Nawakwa section. When I started working for the Hinks in the late 70″s I spent a great deal of time with one of the original owners (Ray Bilmier) who continued to hunt with the Hinks after they took ownership.

  38. Steve says:

    I have a 45 record of the Don Brost Trio on Fonro Records. Was thus put out by them? I can’t find any info on it anywhere.

  39. Joe Kolakowski says:

    I remember Chris Emig Candace. I owned the Knot Hole Bar in the late 70’s and 80’s. I also remember most parties spoken of here. When I started going to the Knot Hole Art Sudden was a bar tender there. I also knew his wife and many of their children. I live in Indian River now. But still get back to Comins occasionally.

  40. Patti Balliet says:

    My parents, Al & Flo Balliet, were part of a small group who purchased Fonro Lodge around 1970. The pet deer’s name was Button Nose. Loved to run our Arctic Cat Panthers on the trails, and open them up on the airstrip. Many great teenage memories!!

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