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The University Biological Station was established in 1909 on the shore of Douglas Lake in Cheboygan County. For twenty years it shared with the surveying camp the use of the fourteen-hundred-acre Bogardus Tract, obtained partly by gift and partly by purchase from Colonel and Mrs. Charles Bogardus, of Pellston, Michigan, in 1908. Here the Biological Station and the surveying camp, first named Camp Bogardus and later Camp Davis in honor of Professor Joseph Baker Davis, for many years Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, operated side-by-side. In 1929 after Camp Davis was moved to Jackson, Wyoming, the entire tract was occupied by the Biological Station.

Through gifts from alumni and purchases by the University, but mainly through gifts of tax-delinquent land from the state of Michigan, the area of the Bogardus Tract has been increased until in 1954 it totaled more than 8,850 acres, situated in Cheboygan and Emmet counties, with frontage on both Douglas and Burt lakes. During the period 1930-50 a large part of the barren and cutover area was planted to various types of pines. With plantings and protective supervision, most of the tract is regaining natural forest condition.

The central and western parts of the Biological Station contain most of the buildings and retain the general layout established by Camp Davis during its twenty years of occupancy under the directorship of Professor Clarence T. Johnston of the Department of Civil Engineering. Originally a colony of tents, the surveying camp was soon laid out, with streets, sidewalks, fifty single-room residence cottages, five classrooms, a caretaker's residence, a garage, a covered harbor, two shops, a kitchen and two dining rooms, a recreation building, and other smaller structures. All of these buildings had steel-covered wooden frames, and most of them had concrete floors. An electrical distribution system, a well and gravity pressure water system, and a sewage system were installed.

The Biological Station was established through the initiative of Professor Jacob E. Reighard of the Department of Zoology (see Part IV: The Biological Station) and George P. Burns of the Department of Botany and was directed during the first years by Reighard. In the beginning, using two log buildings of the abandoned Bogardus railroad grading camp as laboratories and tents as cottages, the members of the Biological Station endured a rugged life. During the first twelve summers meals were obtained at the surveying camp dining room.

Under the directorship of Professor George La Rue, at the Biological Station in the years 1920-29 were constructed fifteen laboratory and other general service buildings and thirty-seven residences, all single-room houses with asphalt roofing and siding on wooden frames, and with concrete floors.

After the removal of Camp Davis to Jackson, Wyoming, the enlarged camp was laid out with two streets paralleling the lake shore, connected by five cross streets and radiating roads. A large administration building with offices, store, dining room, and kitchen, and two large laboratory buildings, one with two and the other with four rooms, all of concrete and steel construction, were added. During the next ten years the camp and buildings were adapted to efficient use. An additional faculty house, of log construction, a forestry building, a sawmill, and a laboratory-area lavatory building were erected, and electricity was extended to the eastern part of the tract.

The enlargement of the plant introduced a period of increased interest on the part of students and research workers in outdoor biology and a consequent expansion of the scientific program. Enlargement of the physical plant again became necessary, but was delayed because of unfavorable economic conditions and World War II. Since 1945, under the directorship of Professor Alfred H. Stockard, steady progress has been made. By 1955 three more faculty houses of log construction, a large shop-garage, an adequate library, an animal house, a water-heater building, a laundry, a chemical storage building, and three community shower and lavatory buildings, all of concrete block construction, and a duplex guest house had been erected. In addition, during this period the caretaker's house was enlarged; one other building was equipped with showers; twelve faculty houses, seven investigator houses, three guest houses, and the three-unit health service were renovated and equipped with bathrooms; a new well was drilled; and the electrical system and sewerage system were modernized.

All of the laboratories were renovated, and three buildings released by new construction were converted into laboratories. The kitchen was re-equipped with modern electrical appliances, and the dining room and store were refurnished. Numerous pieces of general and scientific equipment were acquired, including the purchase of twenty-seven boats of various sizes and the construction of a 35-foot cabin work cruiser adequate for use on the Great Lakes.

The scientific program at the Biological Station has been expanded as the plant has been improved. Teaching fields and research activities have been broadened and intensified until the major groups of plants and animals and the major types of environment now are included in the teaching and research program. In 1955 the fields of interest numbered eight in zoology, seven in botany, and one in forestry. The number of scientific books and articles based on work at the Station by 1955 numbered more than 850.

The Station has 148 buildings occupying a thirty-acre campus on a tract of 8,850 acres, with equipment and other facilities adequate for 250 summer residents and the teaching and research needs for 150 students, faculty, and other scientific workers.

Alfred H. Stockard

The University of Michigan, An Encyclopedic Survey, Wilfred B. Shaw, editor, pages 1592-1593

History of the University of Michigan

Biological Station