Spearfish Lake is a town of about 8,000 year-around residents and the centre of a summer recreational area that has double the population in summer. From the Spearfish Lake FAQ, the town is set in "midwestern northern forest country, which stretches from northern Lower Michigan up through northern Minnesota", and the earlier books kept the town's location vague. However, in Susan Spearfish Lake is strongly hinted to be in Michigan (Susan talks about wanting to go to school in-state, and most of the colleges she considers are in Michigan), and this is confirmed in Chapter 14 of Winter Layoff; specifically, Jim Wooten says it is in the Upper Peninusula. Later, narration in chapter 38 of Reaching for Wings specifies that it is in the far western part of the Upper Peninsula.
The city itself "lies at the root of the north side of a point jutting out into the lake itself". The Point has a high sand ridge to the north, but the south side is low-lying and marshy, prone to flooding. Point Drive runs along the north side of the Point, closer to town it is a good road, lined with the best property in Spearfish Lake. Eventually the road peters out into a swamp. The lake after which the town is named was once a collection of smaller lakes that were submerged after a dam was built. The name is assumed to be derived from the practice of fishing the rapids where the river runs out of the lake (no longer there due to the dam). The south side of the lake is low-lying marshy, and has lots of mosquitoes.
The surrounding townships have a winter population of about 4,000. The original woodland was clearcut in the late 1800s to supply the sawmill, and there are few large trees left. The forest now has scrubbier trees, still useful for paper and other wood products. Lumber & wood products are still the mainstay of the economy, the largest single industry being Clark Plywood (although they stopped actual plywood manufacture in 1984) and has been since the 1930s.
On Wes' site is a map of Spearfish Lake. Due to conflicting descriptions in different Spearfish Lake Tales, the map is not always accurate.
There is a placemark for this location in the downloadable Rocinante set at Google Earth and the Spearfish Lake Tales.
Locations in and around the Town of Spearfish Lake
- C&SL Railroad Station
- Clark Plywood, the biggest employer
- Office of Spearfish Lake Record-Herald weekly newspaper
- Rick's Cafe
- Spearfish Lake Cafe
- Pike Bar
- Spearfish Lake Inn
- Lakeshore Drive
- Spearfish Lake Outfitters
- Frostee Freeze
- Women's Fitness Center
- Schools, including Spearfish Lake High School. "The schools are located on the south side of town on a large, grassy, mostly modern campus. Like most schools, they are not architectural masterpieces; just collections of block and mortar that had been added onto haphazardly. The oldest parts of both the elementary and high schools date from the baby boom of the fifties and sixties, although additions and remodelings have nearly doubled the original size."AC03
- A Sewer System that was possibly home for the Gibson's Water Snake, supervised by Jack Knoblauch in 1987
Locations around Spearfish Lake itself
- Point Drive
- Hannegan's Cove
- Busted Axle Road or County Road 427 or Dog Town Road (a dead end ever since a bridge went out)
- Run-8 Kennels on Busted Axle Road
- Spearfish Lake Airport (a single runway community airport)
- Turtle Hill
- Turtle Hill Road or County Road 919 (goes on to Warsaw).RM13
- Shaundessy's Bait and Tackle, Wood Duck Lake.OC17
- West Turtle Lake Club
- Albany River
- Amboy Township, east of Spearfish Lake and home of the Toivo Sauna
Spearfish Lake only appears by a reference in Alone Together and The Next Generation. It does not appear in the short The Lone Ranger. It is the main setting for the first part of Rocinante (the first 5 chapters). It is a main or the major setting for many of the other books so far.