History of Lake Doster
Lake Doster is located in the southeastern corner of Allegan County in Gun Plain Township. This area of Michigan was settled during President Martin Van Buren's era (1837 to 1841). The land was primarily used for farming and logging during that period.
Approximately 115 years later, an Irish onion farmer by the name of John Hoffman Kelly had a dream of building a man-made lake and a year-round community which would provide a balanced environment between man and nature. Today, nearly 1,300 people living in over 400 homes enjoy the fruits of Mr. Kelly's endeavors.
Mr. Kelly commenced upon his dream in the summer of 1961, when he purchased and optioned over 1,800 acres through various entities. Before that time, he hired several engineering firms to define a natural land basin which could be dammed and would provide adequate contiguous acreage for residential development. By September of 1962, the lake bottom had been defined in an area of many naturally occurring springs, and the construction on the dam commenced on November 22, 1962. Concurrently with the movement of 25,000 cubic yards of clay to build the dam, several independent contractors began the formation and clearing of the lake bottom. By the summer of 1964, the lake came to its designed elevation of 860 feet above sea level, and has maintained that elevation with a continuous excess flowage of water ever since. Today, the residents of Lake Doster enjoy an approximately 180-acre lake that has an average depth of 12 ft and 6 miles of shoreline.
In 1966, Mr. Kelly, in conjunction with Carl Goodwin and Son, a construction company, began construction of an eighteen-hole championship golf course. By 1968, both nines of the golf course were completed and it stands today as one of the most challenging public golf courses in Michigan. Lake Doster Golf Club is built on 165 acres and tracks across varied elevations and types of terrain. Several of its subdivisions border the various fairways of the golf course. Today, the club has over 350 members and provides a wide variety of exciting and entertaining member activities. Annual memberships are available. The Clubhouse, with its restaurant and lounge, serves the community as an excellent atmosphere for enjoyment and relaxation.
In 1976, Kelly/Goodwin Development Company granted a piece of property to the Lake Doster Association for the construction of outdoor tennis courts. The courts were finished by the following year. Today, residents of the area enjoy an exciting schedule of events throughout the summer season. Membership to the tennis courts by residents can be obtained through membership to the Lake Doster Homeowner's Association and payment of a modest annual membership fee.
From 1975 until late 2005, Joe Langkamp (a retired Army Captain and Engineer: Former Trustee of John Hoffman Kelly Trust) and Christina Langkamp (Daughter of Lake Doster Founder, Jack Kelly) designed and developed much of the Lake Doster area properties. Over the years, well over 100 lots were developed through the efforts of Joe Langkamp and George Dunn (Former Trustee of John Hoffman Kelly Trust and an Attorney) running the Lake Doster Development Company and funding help from the John Hoffman Kelly Trust. Those developments and many other homes throughout the Doster area were sold through the efforts of Christina Langkamp through the Lake Doster Realty Company. The Langkamps also previously managed the Lake Doster Golf Club and Course. In 1985, the Lake Doster Golf Club was ranked one of the Top 25 Golf Courses in the State of Michigan. The Langkamps were also instrumental in the installation of a municipal water and sewer system which serves Lake Doster residents still today. Over a 30-year span, the Christina and Joseph Langkamp devoted their lives to the development of the area and they are a rich part of its history.
The Lake Doster community is an area of residential growth. The future is bright because of the existing strength of our community and established amenities. All utilities, including water, sewer, electric, natural gas, cable, and hi-speed internet are available for future expansion.