The advent of the automobile in the 1920s made it possible for people to escape the confines of the big city. They
yearned for wide open spaces and fresh air. They found it in Shelby Township and other rural areas of Macomb County. Small
cottage like homes called "summer bungalows" sprung up where city dwellers vacationed in the summer months and some
made their permanent homes here. Some entreprenurial farmers took advantage of this northward trek from Detroit and opened
up sprawling parks along the scenic and clean Clinton River, while others opened "wayside markets" (produce stands).
These parks were very popular with Polish and Italian immigrants, so park names and activities were derived from
these influences. They were cheap entertainment and a pleasant place for family picnics, fishing, dancing and other recreational
sports of the times. During the prohibition in the 30s, cheap moonshine whiskey was also readily available. The popularity
of these parks declined after World War II, and even more so during the 50s with the coming of interstate highways, faster
cars and State Parks.
Wally Doeblers 1996 book " Summer along the Clinton " A History of the Clinton River
Parks documents the history of these long forgotten parks. Eight of these parks were located in Shelby Township.
Helm & Lily Park
Swiss Valley Park
Green Glen Park
River Bends Park