Pine Lake in Michigan is a private lake known for large and luxurious waterfront homes. This 395-acre lake in Oakland County features a marina, the Pine Lake Country Club, and is an all-sport lake. An all-sport lake allows all types of motor boats. However, because the lake is private, the overall boating activity is limited.
This fresh water lake has a maximum depth of approximately 94 feet and a mean depth of around 19 feet. It is located within West Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan. Pine Lake is a natural glacial-formed lake supporting a large number of fish species and many recreational activities.
The local weather spans the ideal Michigan standard four seasons. The summer climate is mild with temperatures hovering between the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures tend to stay close to freezing. This makes for abundant year round recreation activities.
There are approximately 175 lakefront homes, 13 homeowner and condominium owner associations, the country club, and the marina on Pine Lake.
Pine Lake Living and Recreation
Your own private access to Pine Lake is the gem of an exclusive lifestyle along with many other perks. At the core of Pine Lake and West Bloomfield are enticing lake communities with high-end demographics and good schools. The Pine Lake Country Club is located directly on the lake with an abundance of amenities. It was originally established in 1902 as The Automobile Club of Detroit by the automotive icons John Dodge, Ransom Olds, and Henry Ford. It began with a small golf course built in 1917 that was soon expanded into a championship course designed by professional golf legend Willie Park Jr. Today, The Pine Lake Country Club features an Olympic size swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a ballroom, several banquet rooms, fine dining, boat docks, and beach. The lake is viewed from almost every corner of the clubhouse and grounds. Even the snack bar frequented by children accentuates lakeside dining. The entire experience is about lakeside life, activities, relaxation, and the views.
The upscale Pine Lake community has a median real estate price over $368,000, which is more expensive than 86% of the neighborhoods in Michigan. Most of the original homes built in the 1940s have been replaced with newer and bigger homes. The largest home on the lake is over 11,000 square feet on 2 1/3 acres with 7 bedrooms, 12 baths, 3 half baths, with a 3+ car garage. However, many of the homes are in the 1,500 – 5,000 square feet range. Most lakefront homes have between 40 and 100 feet of waterfront.
The neighborhoods are safer and have less crime than most other neighborhoods. The majority of residences have college and advanced degrees (including Ph.D. and law degrees), work as professionals, and in other white-collar positions. Incomes are well above average (upper-middle) with incomes exceeding 81% of the neighborhoods in America. The most common ancestries are German, Irish, and Polish. The average one-way work commute is 15 to 30 minutes.
Although many of the people here work, it is also considered a retiree’s dream neighborhood because it is quiet and peaceful. Retirees (and others) who hang out a “gone fishing” sign will find plenty of fish in the lake including: blue gill, crappie, northern pike, smallmouth Bass, and largemouth bass. Since 1974, Pine Lake Ski School has been another attraction on the lake.
Of course this private lake has many other activities. You’ll enjoy dock life, hiking, wildlife viewing, and anything else you want to do on or near the lake. Winter time doesn’t mean cabin fever when right outside your door are ice skating, ice sailing, ice hockey, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and more.
Children on Pine Lake mostly attend Bloomfield Hills schools although there is a small section of the lake where the children attend Pontiac Schools. The reputation of Bloomfield Hills schools is for being the best public schools in Michigan. Approximately 90% of graduating seniors are accepted into their college of first choice. The high school graduation rate is 98% and 94% go on to attend college or university. The schools achieve an average of 19 annual National Merit Scholars winners and SAT/ACT scores are well-above national averages. There are 22 Advanced Placement programs in high school. The faculty includes 82% with masters degrees or higher and all teach in their major field of study.
Local Lore (History of the Pine Lake Area)
Prior to Europeans settling the area, Native Americans are believed to have lived in the West Bloomfield area for some 12,000 years. They lived primarily by hunting and fishing. While the French are believed to have been the first Europeans to explore the area, it was in 1817 that the U.S. Government commissioned the first survey. What is now known as Pine Lake was first known as Lake Canfield.
During the 1820s the government started auctioning land around Pine Lake. Word got out quickly this area outside of Detroit was ideal for settling based on cheap land with abundant water. John Huff from New York was the first to begin clearing an area on the southeast shore of Pine Lake in 1821. It was here that he built a large log cabin. The first West Bloomfield post office originated in 1831 at the home of John Ellenwood on the eastern shore of Pine Lake. It took hardy settlers in the early years due to scavenging bears and prowling wolves. Early settlers reported wolf packs crossing the winter ice of Pine Lake.
It was in the 1880s that Pine Lake saw real growth with the addition of summer homes and cottages offering seasonal lodging. It didn’t take long before Pine Lake became a sanctuary for tourists from Detroit. Among the people purchasing land here at that time was K. Burnham, owner of a fashionable summer home which he proudly christened “Utopia.” Many summer social activities took place in and around Pine Lake that received considerable ink in the Pontiac newspapers of the time.
Among the earliest social clubs at Pine Lake were Interlaken and the Girls’ Friendly Society. Both of which are documented in Charles H. Martinez’s book Reflections on the History of West Bloomfield.
By Wendy Patton