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Crystal Mountain property owner, Charles Kraus, releases his first book: Thompsonville in Time

September 22, 2021

 THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (September 22, 2021) — It all started with an annual trip up north. Charles Kraus said his parents took him and his siblings from Akron, Ohio, to Glen Lake, Mich., every year during his childhood, a tradition Kraus continued in his adulthood with his wife Judy and their kids every summer for about 25 years. 

“At the time, the only thing I knew about Thompsonville was the four-way stop at Lincoln Avenue and Thompsonville Road (CR 669),” Kraus said. “Then one year I was fishing with a friend in the Betsie River and he said the only way he would come back with me is if I found us a different place to stay. So, the next year I booked us a place at Crystal Colony.” 

That was in 2006, and after that, one thing led to another. Kraus and his wife visited Crystal Mountain together, then decided to buy a condo at Wintergreen, which lead to buying a piece of property. And in 2016, the couple officially moved to Crystal Mountain. As a lover of Ohio history, it was a natural destiny for Kraus to find out more about Michigan, specifically Thompsonville. 

“My wife and I booked a spot on the Magical History Tour sponsored by the Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum and Benzie Bus,” Kraus said. “The bus driver pointed out the diamond crossing, and I thought ‘this is really a significant spot, but there’s no historical marker here.’” 

And so it began. In 2018, Kraus started researching Thompsonville and the Thompsonville Junction. He met with the executive director of the Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum, Barb Mort, who supported the idea of a historical marker and gave him access to files and photographs. In 2019, the Michigan History Center approved the historic marker. Around the same time Kraus became a member of the museum board, and then asked to use the information he gathered to “write something small – 20 pages or less.” 

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t think I can do just 20 pages; there’s too much information here.’ So they agreed to let me go at it in terms of writing a book,” Kraus said. 

Two years and more than 200 pages later, Thompsonville in Time is complete. Newspaper articles, photographs, and stories dating back to the late 1890s to today document the area’s history every step of the way. From one of the first northern Michigan towns to generate electricity to dam failures and depleted forests. And of course, the story of how Buck Hills evolved from a class assignment to a community ski hill, and now, Crystal Mountain. 

“We are grateful for Chuck’s talent and commitment to tell the story of Thompsonville, including its connection to Crystal Mountain,” said Chris MacInnes, president of Crystal Mountain. “This brilliant piece of storytelling not only shines a light on Thompsonville's rich heritage, but it can also inspire recreating a thriving community in the future.” 

The official release of Thompsonville in Time is Sept. 29 at the Annual Meeting for Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum held at Crystal Mountain. The book will be available for purchase online and in local bookstores. All proceeds benefit the Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum. 

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About Crystal Mountain: 

Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options. Visit for more resort details or information about Four Seasons Club memberships.


Crystal Mountain Media Contact:

Brittney Buti

Manager of Public Relations

Mobile: 269.845.1352


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