Cynthia Sorensen on the Frank Lamb History

By Cynthia Sorensen


(Cynthia Sorensen, Frank Lamb’s cousin, adds the following to the Frank Lamb History.)


Franklin Ensfield Lamb

Frank’s mother, Emily, was born in Traverse City, MI.  She graduated from Traverse City Central High School and had played basketball on the Traverse City H.S. team that won a state title.  After graduation she worked in the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce. 


Emily decided to move to southern Michigan, perhaps to South Haven where a niece was teaching school.  When the Greyhound bus stopped in Saugatuck, she liked the looks of the town and decided to stay, as it turns out, the rest of her life.


At this time, the Butler Hotel was open all year and rented rooms to people who worked in town.  Emily lived there, becoming good friends of the owners, the Redebaughs.  She worked in Edson Crow’s restaurant, The Green Candle, located north of the Sand Bar.  At the same time she worked for Mrs. Damouth across the street where the Art Glass Alcove is now located.  Soon she opened a small gift shop on Lake Mactawa around 64th and South Shore Drive.  Eventually she took an office job with Lawrence Lamb’s heavy construction company.  His company built the present bridge connecting Saugatuck and Douglas in 1936.


It was during this time that she met Lawrence Lamb’s brother, Leonard, 1938.  Leonard was a local real estate broker and hunting guide.  He was a guide for Franklin Leach of Castle Park, who was on the board of Quaker Oats.  Frank was named after him.  Frank’s middle name, Ensfield, was his father’s mother’s maiden name, a name well known in the Ganges area.  Frank’s father, Leonard, was born in Ganges where his family had a farm on old US 31.  I believe the buildings are still there.


Frank was born in 1940 in the Community Hospital that is now the Kirby House B&B. Leonard and Emily had an apartment on Butler Street above the building where the Sand bar is now located. They soon bought the house on Water Street where Frank grew up.  The house is now part of Marro’s restaurant.  The original house had an open porch with a large maple tree growing up through the porch floor.


In the middle 40’s, Emily worked for her brother-in-law, William Sorensen, who had a sandwich shop on Mason St.  It was a one story red brick building in back of Marro’s building.  William Sorensen and John Ball were the cooks; Emily was the waitress, Emily’s sister, Anne Sorensen, was the dishwasher and Clarice Ball made the pies. Later in the 40’s Emily decided to open her own restaurant, “The Hollyhock House”.  The Balls opened a restaurant on Butler Street and William Sorensen went into the home construction business.  The building on Mason Street was sold to Fred and LaVonne Davis.  They added a second story and had a restaurant called “Chicken As You Like It”.


Emily had her porch remodeled and enclosed to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  She decided breakfasts were too hard at that time and ended up serving dinners. She was the best cook in town and there were lines waiting to get in to eat.  She was only open during the summer season:  Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Her older sister came down from Traverse City to bake the pies, cakes and homemade rolls.  Various friends were dishwashers and the waitresses were college girls who had rooms in the house.  Local girls who worked in town during the summer also rented rooms in the house.  One famous renter was Joe Gerkin the organist from “The Dock” in the Big Pavilion.


Leonard Lamb died in 1953 when his son, Frank, was 13.


Emily eventually added an addition to the porch which allowed her to be open year around serving breakfast and lunch.  She was open when the Big Pavilion across the street burned in May, 1960.  It was the noon hour and the restaurant was full.  No one wanted to leave.  They had a ringside seat to watch the excitement.  Eventually everyone left.  The firemen did a wonderful job of keeping the hose on the house to keep it from burning.  The front plate glass window cracked and the plastic covers on the sugar shakers melted from the heat of the fire.  After the fire was out, Emily opened up and served sandwiches and coffee to the firemen.  Frank was in college in East Lansing and someone called him to tell him to come home.  Friends of his who were in town came over to carry valuables out of the house and into the back yard.


                                                                                    John R. Shack (editor) 9-29-08