History of Pretty Lake Camp

Our History

Pretty Lake History

Edward Desenberg

Edward B. Desenberg

Founder of Pretty Lake Camp, Kalamazoo Musician and Philanthropist

Born in Kalamazoo on September 9, 1867, Edward ‘Eddie’ Desenberg became an accomplished pianist, and studied abroad for number of years before settling back home in Kalamazoo.  Besides music and the arts, Eddie’s compassion was for children, especially those less fortunate. In 1916, Eddie founded Pretty Lake Vacation Camp, a place that he hoped would help make life a little better for the children of Kalamazoo. This was to be his lasting legacy.

Today over 50,000 children have had the opportunity to attend Pretty Lake Camp. We are proud to be a part of Pretty Lake, and honor the commitment Edward Desenberg made to the children of Kalamazoo 105 years ago, to provide a totally cost free camp for children who could benefit the most from the experience. 

Our Member Organizations

The generous contributions and tireless commitment of our entire community have made free camp possible for a century of summers.
In particular, the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo and the Service Club (now the Junior League of Kalamazoo) took over camp in 1930 and ran it for many years. Kiwanians, Junior Leaguers, and many others in our community cleaned out cabins, secured food and supplies, and together made camp possible.

Today, Kiwanis and the Junior League continue to devote vital time and support to ensure our summer camp remains totally cost-free, just as it was when Edward Desenberg started Pretty Lake a century ago.

Kalamazoo Kiwanis Logo

Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo is dedicated to serving the greater Kalamazoo area through various service and fundraising projects. Our club has been in service to our community for 100 years. Click here to learn more

Junior League of Kalamazoo Logo

Junior League of Kalamazoo

The Junior League of Kalamazoo is creating real change in Kalamazoo by advancing social activism-focused projects that directly benefit our local community! They make a positive impact through effective action and leadership. Click here to learn more

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Pretty Lake Camp

9123 Q Ave, Mattawan, MI 49071
Phone: 269-375-1950 | Fax: 877-706-9151

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