Now a housing development? No, maybe now a brownfield development, being cleaned up to become corporate offices.
The City of Auburn Hills Brownfield Redevelopment Authority apparently thinks Silverbell was near the north west corner of Adams and Dutton Rds. in modern Auburn Hills. They say it was purchased by Bookmeyer and Gardner in the early 1960’s as undeveloped land and built into Silverbell. The developers accepted fill; including foundry sand, scrap metal, and 40-gal drums; to increase the size of the hill. Silver Bell closed in the late 1960’s and part of the land was used as a landfill in the 1970’s, apparently without complying fully with then current and very lax regulations. The site has been dormant since the landfill closed in 1979.
Yvonne Gursin passed on a scan of a booklet she found in her grandfather’s papers. It was published in September, 1966 by Ritter Productions and called “Where to Go, What to Do On a Weekend.” It said the area had 5 northeast facing slopes serviced by 2 T-bars and 5 ropetows. They had night skiing, rentals, a ski school directed by Kurt Ramel, a skating rink, a two storey, glass and timber lodge with two “massive” fireplaces, dining room and cafeteria, and nightly dancing in the tavern. They had parking for 2300 cars. This assessment is shared by the AAA 1966 Guide to Winter Fun in Michigan printed in The Cass City Chronicle on Feb. 3 of that year.
The booklet places the area at 4385 Bald Mtn. Rd., west of the road. This is about 1000 ft. south of Dutton Rd. and 1 mi. south of E. Silverbell Rd. The satellite shows a large brown field with heavy equipment marks and the topo map shows no remains of any elevation. This location is about 1.5 mi. west of the location listed by the city.
The Detroit Free Press on October 27, 1968 lists Silverbell as a ski area that ceased operation the previous season. However, it may have operated as a concert venue after that time/
On Dec. 20, 1969, the Silverbell Ski Lodge in Pontiac (sic) was scheduled to host a concert featuring Fleetwood Mac, backed by (among other groups) Pink Floyd. Steve Burrows, who played keyboard for the Mushrooms remembers playing at Silver Bell. Bob Seger apparently played Silver Bell several times in 1967-69. At least one person remembers Silver Bell as being on Bald Mtn. Rd. which would agree with Ms Gursin’s booklet.
If you have any memories of skiing (or concerts) at Silverbell, please post them or send them to us using the instructions on the About MILSAP page like Yvonne Gursin did.