Whether you’re at The Glenwood or the Glenwood Market, you’re bound to notice a 5 ½ foot long whimsical fish with a surface painted to look like Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey. The Rock Bass is the unofficial Glenwood mascot, and we are often asked about the story behind this unique piece of art.
In July 2007, the Rock Bass was one of 15 colorful fish designed and donated by local artists for a charity auction to benefit the Portage Lake Watershed Forever Endowment. An endowment with the Manistee County Community Foundation, the fund was established to ensure the protection and wise use of Portage Lake and its watershed as outlined in the Portage Lake Watershed Forever Plan. In the weeks and days leading up to the auction, the fish were displayed all over the streets of Onekama. Artfully designed and cleverly named, Salmonenchanted Evening, Mojo Coho and Uncle Salmon were just a few of the others auctioned off, the fish generated quite a bit of interest and speculation. A friendly competition developed over which fish would bring the highest price at auction.
The Glenwood helped promote the auction and proudly displayed the Rock Bass and bragged to anyone who would listen that it had been painted by artist and Glenwood employee William Hattendorf. Our staff and customers couldn’t help but get attached to the Rock Bass and the day it left for the auction was bittersweet. The Glenwood catered the auction and while we were busy serving the crowd, we kept close tabs on the auction results. The Rock Bass was the last fish to be auctioned off and the grand finale bidding was intense. The final two bidders went head to head in a heated battle, and when the hammer came down, the winning bid had far exceeded the amounts of all the other fishy contestants. Rock Bass and our community made us proud that night, raising over $50,000 in total auction proceeds to support and protect our lake and watershed. We said goodbye to our beloved Rock Bass and headed home knowing the fundraiser had been a tremendous success.
So imagine our surprise when, the next morning, the Rock Bass migrated back to the Glenwood, a wonderful donation to the restaurant from the generous bidder. Whether you encounter Rock Bass at the restaurant or the market, know that it reflects the generosity and charitable contributions of the many people who care deeply about the protection of Portage Lake and the watershed that supports it. Learn more about the Portage Lake Watershed Forever Plan by going to www.onekama.info/watershed/info. Details about the work of Manistee County Community Foundation can be found at www.manisteefoundation.org.