Pigeon Hill was a natural landmark to the local people of Muskegon from the time of the first Native Americans. It stood over 200 feet high and was dozens of acres wide at its base. With fantastic views of the surrounding land and water, it was a major tourist attraction for years. In the 1920s, a mining operation began which would completely flattened the dune and forever change the lakeshore landscape.
Pigeon Hill was a massive 217-foot-tall sand
dune located at the mouth of the channel connecting Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.
From the time of the first Native Americans in the area, it was used as a distinctive
natural landmark to indicate the entrance to the channel. For decades, locals
and tourists alike would climb the dune for its grand vistas over the
surrounding land and water.
The dune was called Pigeon Hill because
of the hundreds of thousands of now-extinct passenger pigeons that once lived
there. The hill would sadly suffer the same fate as the pigeons. In the early
1920s, the Nugent Sand Company bought the land and sold the sand to foundries
in Muskegon and around Lake Michigan. The City of Muskegon actually took Nugent
Sand to the Michigan Supreme Court to prevent the company from exploiting the
dune, but the case was overruled. It only took a dozen years (1925 – 1938) for
the mining operation to completely level the dune. Sand from the area was mined
until the 1960s. Today, a condominium community called Harbor Towne has been
built on the flat sand pit that remains of the historic landmark.