A strange and mysterious house still sits on the lonely and desolate island in the Grand Traverse Bay. The island sits offshore from Northport in the Leelanau Peninsula. It is called Bellow Island, and has an old abandoned house on it that is now occupied by a flock of Herring Gulls.
The Island was purchased by Edward Taylor Ustick, a prominent businessman in St Louis Mo. He had the cottage built on the island around 1910 by Brian Woolsey, who built the dairy building that became the Woolsey Memorial Airport HERE. The family used the cottage for several years living with the birds and in 1931 after Edward died his son Lee Ustick, now a Harvard professor, inherited the house and island.
Lee had not visited the island frequently and the last time he was there was in 1945. a few years later in 1948 he got a call from the Michigan state police that the house had been destroyed by vandals. Six juveniles from Northport took axes to the home and destroyed all the plumbing, furniture and walls making the home inhabitable.
In the 1960’s the island was finally sold to retired Great Lakes train-ferry captain from Ludington, Herbert Yost, and his wife, Jane. They were going to build a new cabin on the island. The house was never built because Captain Yost was killed in an automobile crash in 1965.
In 1995, an agreement was reached with the Leelanau Conservancy to acquire the island for permanent protection as a public trust and bird sanctuary and off-limits to any visitors for the protection of the gulls that reside on the island. The old house originally built by Edward Ustick still stands on the island and is slowly crumbling.
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