Waldenwoods #569 Hartland, Michigan

Waldenwoods is 1500 acres of wooded countryside south of Hartland, Michigan. The first acreage of the present property was acquired from the government in 1844 by the grandfather of J. Robert Crouse. Mr. Crouse admired Henry Thoreau and shared his love of nature. In 1845 Thoreau went to Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts, built a cabin on its shores, and lived there for two years. In 1854 he recorded his sojourn in a book called Walden. In 1924 Mr. Crouse built the first house, Cromaine Hall, on the family homestead. He renamed the 150-acre spring-fed Brophy Lake to Walden Lake and the property to Waldenwoods.

J. Robert Crouse, a philanthropist, brought many cultural and educational opportunities to Hartland. He believed in cooperation in industry and everyday life. “Waldenwoods,” Crouse explained, “is dedicated to the proposition that the radiant spirit of friendship may become the glowing inspiration of the association of individuals, companies, competitors, and trades. Its life-giving sunshine is the crowning glory of this beautiful countryside … may we play and work together, not only with our heads and hands, but with our hearts as well.”

Waldenwoods was first used as a wilderness retreat for Crouse and his business associates. Now it is open to the public, year-round, as a resort and conference center. Its present function is a reflection of the life of J. Robert Crouse and his family, and the realization of a dream come true.

The Waldenwoods #569 chapter was chartered on August 24, 1972.