Protect Jean Klock Park

Map Gallery

The red line marks the approximate Jean Klock Park boundary.


Orange delineates the area of the park where tall dunes are situated.   The yellow outlined golf features take up all the dune crests and landward side. 


In addition to the land which has been consumed by golf course features, the oblong black spaces show where asphalt paved parking lots take up 90 feet on the west side of the dunes,  destroying some of the foredunes and beach acreage.  In addition, the new entry drive at the south necessitated removal of part of the south dune and destroyed a hiking path paid for with a state rails to trails grant.

Text Box: May the blessing not only of the present generation be with them, but as the years roll by and space for parks becomes more limited … the voices of the little ones for years to come will thank God for the kindliness that prompted this magnificent  gift.” ~Geo. Cunningham, 1917 ~

Below (bottom):  City Engineer’s map from 1916 showing the “E. K. Warren” land which was to become Jean Klock Park.  The headline above it is from an advertisement taken in the local newspaper by the Benton Harbor Federation of Women’s Clubs prior to one of the failed bond elections.  Civic leaders were solidly behind the acquisition of the land.  Then, as is true today,   a superb stretch of shoreline on beautiful Lake Michigan would define a place.   After the Klocks deeded the land, the lake—Jean Klock Park—became an icon for the city.  It was synonymous with Benton Harbor in many respects. 


Fast forward to the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  In an attempt to dislodge this historical association from its long standing importance, the local chamber of commerce and its economic development arm began to dispute  the city’s claim to its most valuable asset.  Though the legal hurdles to taking the lakefront back for the right sorts of people were numerous and difficult, the chamber pressed on. 


Excerpt from a paper written by the chamber CEO in support of one of the sales of Jean Klock Park land:


“… The city is often thought of what it technically is not, a lakefront community.  The city has by annexation a park and land on the lake.  A major portion of the lakefront property is dedicated to the City Water Plant, a system that services many of the more affluent, true lakefront cities and townships that surround Benton Harbor.”


Technically a lakefront community or not, it’s  Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park that allows Harbor Shores to call itself a Lake Michigan resort, or the  Midwest’s first beach and golf community.  

                   One of Michigan’s oldest public parks, donated by the Klock family as a memorial to their daughter, Jean

Jean Klock Park Conversion for Harbor Shores Beach and Signature Golf Resort

After rejecting a plan to convert Jean Klock Park’s interior acreage to private use in October, 2007, the National Park Service approved the plan in July, 2008.   Maps below compare the trade-off.   The Whirlpool-backed developer, Harbor Shores, disclosed a plan to take 22.11 acres of the park.  However, because the golf course design obliterated an existing parking lot (built with state grant funds in 1992), the developer relocated

parking to the beach front and on the south part of the park, necessitating removal of part of a dune.   Moreover, the developer did not disclose the location of planned retention ponds on park property and was not truthful about lack of dune access for non-golfers.  Their “improvements” consist of  asphalting 4 acres of beachfront and rehabbing a concrete block bathhouse.

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© Protect JKP, 2008-2012, all rights reserved

Gene klock, harbor shores, Gene clock, jean clock, environmental impact statement

Benton Harbor, Michigan and environs (left)


Purple area is  land area of the city of Benton Harbor.  Jean Klock Park (red) ties the city to Lake Michigan.  To the north of JKP is Higman Park, an old resort and residential neighborhood.  To the south is the Edgewater neighborhood of St. Joseph.



Map of Harbor Shores Golf Course (below)

including the location of the land exchanged for Jean Klock Park acreage.

(scroll down  for Conversion Map)


Harbor Shores cannot call itself a resort on Lake Michigan without Jean Klock Park. 

Left:    Mitigation Parcel H is located south of Whitwam (formerly Edgewater) Drive, east of M-63 on the west bank of the Paw Paw River where it joins the St. Joseph River.  This mitigation parcel  (H) was the key to allowing the use of Jean Klock Park by Harbor Shores for the golf course because  it was appraised at $714,000, approximately 75% of the appraised value of 22 acres of Jean Klock Park. 

The landward side of the dunes—virtually everything east of the dunes including the dune crests has been taken over by the golf course.  The purple area (left) shows the three golf fairways.  The letters (B, C, D, etc.) refer to the mitigation parcels scattered throughout the Harbor Shores development.  The number beside each is size of the parcel.  Most of the parcels are wetlands.  For example, E is an inaccessible wetland .  See Golf Course map above for approximate location of each parcel.

The Trade

Orange:  Golf Fairways for Holes 7, 8 and 9


Green:    Mitigation Parcel H, former Whirlpool factory land, now jointly owned by the Cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor.

AboveParcel H


A Little History Lesson