Catalog Number
no visible number 142
Date of Origin
Black and white photograph showing the construction of the tunnel, in Park Township, at Tunnel Park.  Three unidentified workers are shown standing among the wooden framework of the top of the tunnel.  
The following history of Tunnel Park comes from Robert Swierenga's book "Holland Michigan: From Dutch Colony To Dynamic City" pages 1,962-1,965.

"Holland’s lakeshore beginning in the 1920s experienced a transition from resorts to public parks, including Ottawa Beach State Park and Ottawa County’s Tunnel Park. In 1920 the state agricultural college faculty in Lansing (Michigan State College) responded to farmers and recreation interests who wanted to stop dune erosion along the entire lakeshore from the Indiana line to Petoskey by launching a huge reforestation program to save the dunes. The prevailing westerly winds swept sand inland over farmlands, buildings, and even parts of villages. College staff that year planted five hundred thousand trees along the lakeshore frontage. The program lapsed until 1929, when State College faculty again took up the crusade. Beginning in 1930 seventy-five Boy Scouts from Holland planted ten thousand saplings supplied by the college nursery on the bare dunes of a county-owned tract between James and Riley Streets (now Riley Trails County Park). The next year, 4-H chapters joined the Boy Scouts in planting trees on state park lands along Lake Michigan in what became an annual summer task. In 1934 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers joined in the reforestation project by planting tens of thousands of pine trees. The West Ottawa soil conservation district continued the program to halt soil erosion in 1938, with property owners and farmers doing most of the planting. By 1942 volunteers had planted five million trees.44 In 1941 the county greatly enlarged Tunnel Park by buying 530 feet of lakefront property to the south for $5,250 ($10 per acre) and improving the entire grounds.45 Ottawa Beach remained a favorite spot for swimming and fishing off the channel walls. In the 1940s the city ran a shuttle bus from the Tower Clock Building to Ottawa Beach. Alternatively, passengers could take the privately owned yellow “banana boat” to the beach. Fishermen with cane poles and bait could then board Casey’s boat, a kind of pontoon boat, and he would take them out to the pier and pick them up again, all for a dime.46 Given the water assets of Holland, pleasure boating and boat building became major industries (chapters 11 and 15). Like other luxury goods that rely on discretionary spending, the boating industry responds to swings in the economy. When Chris-Craft opened in Holland in 1939, it hoped to bank on economic recovery, but not until after the Second World War did the company see substantial profits. Other companies followed Chris-Craft’s lead: Roamer Boat (1948), Mac Bay Boat (1948), Skipper-Craft (1952), and Slick Craft (1953). Demand for personal watercraft soared in the 1940s and 1950s."
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