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Jacobia: Henry Jacobs’ vision for Hagar Township Continued from Jan. 23, 2023 iss. of the Record

Part 2 deeper into the story

The short story “The Ghost in the Tower: An Episode in Jacobia” by Earl H. Reed, was penned at the property one summer when he was a guest of Henry Jacobs.

Earl H. Reed (1863-1931) was a Chicago area writer and artist who had a special passion for the dunes along the eastern and southern shores of Lake Michigan, authoring and illustrating several books like The Dune Country (1916), Sketches in Duneland (1918) and The Silver Arrow and Other Indian Romances of the Dune Country (1926).

Reed’s two small booklets on Jacobia, the estate of his friend Henry W. Jacobs in southwestern Michigan, were published privately as Sketches in Jacobia (1919) and The Ghost in the Tower: An

Episode in Jacobia (1921). The former is a short descriptive narrative found in a hardback cover format for $550 on Amazon while the latter is an intriguing ghost story with particular resonances to modern culture that can be read for free.

The Ghost in the Tower: An Episode in Jacobia can be found as an ebook. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. The project states that the reader “may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.”

As a subject of print

The following is a small excerpt from the book which talks about Jacobs Tower in a blistering winter scene, “High up on one of the hills of ‘Jacobia,’ the tower bares its lofty brow to the blasts of the gales. The huge structure seems calmly to defy the winter winds whistling through its upper casements and pounding against its sturdy sides. The swirling snows envelop its weather scarred top in the darkness, and an atmosphere of loneliness and isolation seems to pervade the great bulk, silhouetted against the flying legions of shredded and angry clouds, scudding across the gloomy and storm embattled skies at night.”

Another great read is the book, Jacobia: The Erstwhile Dream of Henry William Jacobs by Daryl T. Schneider. In this work, the author delves into the professional life of Henry William Jacobs, and at the same time, offers a tantalizing glimpse of his fragmented character, ingenuity, and foresight.

Does Jacobia still exist?

The estate’s southern boundary became Hagar Shore Road, and in 1930 the Blue Star Highway was built through the property cutting it in half.

Most of the remainder of the estate was purchased by the New Products Corporation in Benton Harbor, MI, whose founder, Walter Miller, originally had worked for Henry Jacobs and was instrumental in building the water tower.

The 180-acre farm that was hoped to be a premium vacation destination now is approximately 20 acres; just a small part of what it was but it does still exists with a beachfront view.

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