Helm and Lily Park
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Shelby Township Historical Committee

The Helm and Lilly Park was located on 22 Mile Road, just east of Ryan Road. The 20 acre property ran from 22 Mile Road to the Clinton River. It was part of the Melvin Nunn farm. Iva Lilly was the daughter of the Nunn family and she secured the land from the estate of her father.

Louis Helm and Iva Lilly were partners in a grocery store located at 10 Mile Road and Hilton in Ferndale. Iva and Louie talked about the property she had and since it had a house and bottom land, they decided it would be ideal for a park.

They converted the house into a beer garden, and knocked out a few walls to create a large room for dancing. A corner of the large room was made into a bar. Long homemade tables were used for the dinners at the weddings. The tables had screw legs so after dinner the long tables were disassembled and placed along the wall. Around the outer walls were benches for people to sit while they were resting from dancing. The kitchen was used for light lunches.

As the picnic business grew, they built a larger concession stand where they sold the beer and had two smaller 10'x'10 stands where they sold pop, hot dogs and hamburgers and a pavilion for dancing.

The people who rented the park were responsible for managing their picnic. They operated the concession stands and provided the music, mostly polka bands.

There was a swimming pool near the house. It was fed by spring water. Ed Helm told me it was ten feet deep on one end and three at the other. The picnicers were allowed to swim in the pool.

While the park was rented out, Louie and Iva ran the house selling beer and light lunches.

To help clean up the park, Louie would hire kids from the neighborhood grocery store and bring them to the park to clean up debris.

The park catered to dog shows, weddings, reunions, church and company picnics. Art and Phyllis Schultz and Fred and Norma Schultz had their wedding reception in the house. Fred and Norma were married on February 26, 1938. It was 10 below zero and the photographer refused to come because it was to cold. Heavy snow made parking difficult, so the wedding party had to go to Hamtramck for wedding pictures.

The property was sold to a Mr. and Mrs. Golf who renamed it The Holiday Park. It did not remain in business long. The house provides a home for the Golfs at the time of this writing. Since beer was hard to get and gas at a premium, the park went out of business during World War II.

(From Wally Doebler's Summer Along The Clinton-1996)