Sandy Corbelli

Bostwick Lake Inn preps for early May opening

April 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL “We are polishing a jewel,” says Greg Gilmore, CEO of the Gilmore Collection, when speaking about the soon-to-be reopened Bostwick Lake Inn. Squire readers will recall the Gilmore Collection acquisition of the historic waterfront Bostwick Lake property earlier this year. Undergoing extensive and intensive renovations and updates since, the Bostwick Lake Inn (BLI) will reopen in the very near future. “This is a 100-year old building and we specialize in historic renovations and we are very, very good at it,” says Gilmore. Historic indeed. Located near Rockford, at the intersection of Belding Rd. and Kitson Drive, the current Bostwick Lake Inn was originally home to a 1910 beach house and pavilion. In 1927 this structure was replaced by Bert’s Lakeside Place. Owned by James and Susan Bert, it operated as a soda fountain/bathhouse/restaurant, and later as a tavern. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1934, Bert’s Lakeside Place became known as the Bostwick Lake Inn and was one of the first three area taverns to receive a liquor license. The other two were Chinnick’s on Pearl St. and the Pantland Hotel, now the Amway Grand Plaza. During the decade of the 1930’s, the tavern featured floorshows from Chicago, slot machines, dancing, and full course dinners. An old menu from the 30’s offered up a complete seven-course dinner for an amazing $1.25! BLI also served as an unofficial post office in the 1940’s, allowing lake residents to stop and pick up mail when the postman could not navigate the roads around the lake due to winter snows. In 1954, Earnest Gates purchased the lakeside Inn and, along with the Pullen family, operated the BLI for decades. Jim Web purchased the BLI in 1996 and ran it for fifteen years as a more upscale, white linen style restaurant before passing the torch on to the Gilmore Collection in 2012. Currently, with historic renovations nearing completion, the BLI also features a complete state-of-the-art renovation of the kitchen. Everything in the old kitchen was replaced with gleaming stainless steel commercial restaurant equipment. The entire interior of the restaurant has been returned to its original luster with many additional enhancements. The bar and back bar have been replaced by an even grander historic 25’ antique […]