WHITEHALL – Born in 1893 Clarence Pitkin was considered by some to be a one man Chamber of Commerce for the White Lake Area. He was also responsible for reorganizing the White Lake Yacht Club in 1926 which until that time had been closed since 1917.
“Clarence Pitkin was kind of like a one man Chamber of Commerce. Kind of like Mr. Whitehall in promoting White Lake, and the Yacht Club is one of the things he got involved in,” said local historian Roger Scharmer.
Clarence Pitkin also served as the editor for the White Lake Yacht Club News from 1928 to 1961. To preserve his legacy, daughter-in-law Ruth Pitkin is donating her collection of the magazines to the White Lake Community Library.
Clarence Pitkin had two sons Courtney and Norman Pitkin. Ruth is Norman’s widow.
The donation to the library includes the 29 volumes of the White Lake Yacht Club News that Clarence Pitkin edited, but also includes three volumes from the 90s, and four volumes from when the magazine changed names to the Mainsheet.
Her children: Anne Pitkin, Tami Pitkin Kitslaar and Scott Pitkin said their mother had originally considered donating the collection to the Muskegon Area District Library, but reconsidered given Clarence’s passion for the area.
“It’s an incredible rich historical resource. People are going to be using this for years to come. Find out about the houses that are here, even people who want to find out about who owned it, mention of addresses and places, businesses. So when kids are doing school projects they are going to need these,” said Virginia DeMumbrum, library director of the White Lake Community Library.
The White Lake Community Library already owns several other historical references, many of which are digitized and accessible through a computer. DeMumbrum said Ruth Pitkin’s collection is not digitized, but perhaps in the future it will be.
“It will be under lock and key. You can’t just use it just browsing over there. You have to let us know you want to see it, because it is not replaceable,” said DeMumbrum.
Despite Clarence Pitkin’s passion for boating and the White Lake Area, the Pitkin name is perhaps most known for the drugstore located on Colby Street.
The Pitkin Drug & Gift Shoppe was originally started by Clarence Pitkin’s father. After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Pharmacy in 1915 he joined his father in running the store, eventually taking over its operations in the mid-20s.
To view the collection call the White Lake Community Library at 231-894-9531.