Frank Wixom’s Lake

The Edenville Dam that creates Wixom Lake was built between 1923 and 1925 along with the three other dams on the Tittabawassee River – Sanford, Smallwood, and Secord.  Beginning around 1910, Frank Wixom and others invested in the creation of hydroelectric power plants and waterfront real estate and formed the Wolverine Power Company.  Over a period of several years, Frank Wixom purchased property or secured perpetual flowage rights covering all the land expected to be flooded when the four dams were originally built. As such, all the bottom lands, or flowage rights over them, that comprise Wixom Lake are owned by the current owners of the Edenville Dam.

The four lakes are Man-made, not natural.  They were created by private capital and are maintained to this day, 88 years later, by private capital.  There is no publicly-owned property encompassed by the dam or the reservoir.  The dams’ owners pay property taxes, not just on the dams themselves, but also on the bottomlands and the acquired flowage rights.

The original investment purpose of the Dams was to create a source of income from electrical generation. Today they still serve that purpose by producing clean and renewable hydroelectric power that is sold to Consumers Energy, which is the source of the income for the dams’ owner. The existence of the dams and the four man-made lakes (reservoirs) has created the lakefront property that exists today, which in turn has provided higher real estate values,  property taxes and economic activity, and supported recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life for the community. Many people trace their family residency on the lakes for generations.

Wixom Lake is a vital resource for the community and the many visitors who in turn help local businesses thrive.  However, this community resource is only made possible by the daily financial investment of a single private business entity through the sale of its only product, electricity.  This private business entity does not receive any financial support from any other private or any public sources.  This is the financial and business model that Frank Wixom created in 1925.

Value of a lake – Riparian 2009