The Story of Habitant
Newell A Eddy Jr:
Twelve years ago for the pleasure and accommodation of vacationers, I constructed a summer resort, known as Presque Isle Lodge on beautiful Grand Lake, twenty miles deep in the woods north of Alpena, Michigan.
Instead of building my lodge on the stereotype plan of the conventional summer resort, I built it along Colonial lines followed by the American woodsman who constructed his home as a fortress against frontier perils. In so doing I created a thing of simple beauty. Inside and out, the Lodge typified in architecture and construction, the civilization of the “Habitant” – the pioneer, the son of soil- plus, of course, every modern convenience and comfort.
However, when this beautiful building was completed I found only half of my problem solved. The question of interior furnishings demanded serious consideration. Obviously products from high speed lathes and mills of modern furniture factories had no place in the Presque Isle Lodge. Only solid, substantial furniture faithfully fashioned to the standard of honest simplicity that characterized the household belongings of our American forefathers would be compatible to this quaint colonial setting. At the same time, of course, whatever furnishings we chose had to be durable, inviting, and comfortable.
The furniture consequently, could not under any circumstances, be of the modern machine-made type. It was impossible for me to use machine-made furniture in the Presque Isle Lodge and still retain its novel, early Pioneer atmosphere. I had to have furniture peculiar to this early American type building. I had constructed an ideal and it could never be perfected ideal until it was correctly furnished.
A tour of furniture supply sources throughout the East and Midwest convinced me that there was no such type of furniture available to conform to the rigid standards that I had set for Presque Isle Lodge. Therefore I decided to build my own.
With several of the same patient, expert craftsmen who had helped me build the Lodge, I began the construction of early American furniture. We kept reference books constantly before us in our workshop to insure close adherence to authentic styles. We worked hard and we worked long. We built tables, chairs, dressers, beds, settees- we even built mirrors, lamps, bookshelves and numerous other accessory pieces to complete the entire Lodge furnishings.
When it was finished and installed our furniture met with the instant approval of the guests. During the first summer of 1920 and the summers following, the Lodge and its furnishings not only drew our customers praise, but it also elicited orders from many who wanted Knotty Pine furniture for their own homes.
Although this development was not part of my original plan, I could not deny my visitor’s requests. And so the construction of Habitant Knotty Pine Furniture began in a small shop behind the Lodge.
As the years rolled by a new type of industry developed. Habitant Knotty Pine Furniture today enjoys an ever increasing prominence in the foremost furniture centers. The superiority of authentic design and construction makes Habitant Furniture the growing choice of Americans who take pride in quietly displaying their heritage within their homes.
N. A. Eddy, Jr. – 1932