History of Dingman’s Bar
It all started in 1952, when Mabel and Earl Dingman purchased the building from Gerald and Gertrude Kowkol. The Kowkol’s had built the original building in 1948 and operated it as a party store. Mabel and Earl came from the Flint area and wanted to open up a local tavern. They purchased the building from the Kowkol’s and opened Dingman’s Bar. Mabel was a very astute businesswoman and even won the Businesswoman of the year” award twice. She also organized the first all female bear hunt club. Many children watched movies on an outside movie screen while Mom and Dad socialized in the bar. Dingman’s Bar was the first place to have a phone in the area making people come in to make and receive phone calls once again while socializing in the bar.
Mabel also bought one of the first snowmobiles in the area and would loan it out to the local residents to use. Mabel’s imaginations lead to the first “bare” sandwich. You thought you were ordering a bear meat sandwich but what you actually got were two slices of bread and nothing in between!
In 1965, Bill and Hazel Veldman purchased Dingman’s Bar from Mabel. The business was growing and Bill and Hazel saw the need for a larger bar. They added on the first addition to the bar. During the Veldman years at Dingman’s, a map of Bear Lake area was painted on the ceilng. If you wanted to find out where someone lived, all you had to do was look up at the map and find their place.
In 1971, Eileen Ryska bought the bar from the Veldmans. Eileen also experienced growth in the business and added on the second addition to the bar. She brought draft beer into Dingman’s Bar for the very first time. Eileen is still a trusted friend and voice of experience of Dingman’s Bar as well as an active member in our local community.
In 1978 Ruth Egeler bought the bar from Eileen. After Ruth’s passing, Carl “Shorty” Egeler ran the bar for the next 15 years. Shorty held the first fundraising event for Michigan Special Olympics in 1992.
In 1993, Pat “Pops” Modos bought the bar from Shorty. His son, Pat, moved up from downstate to manage the bar while Pops and Pam continued to work at Ford Motor Company. They continued with fundraising activities for Michigan Special Olympics through the Wertz Warriors. Pat became a riding member of the Wertz Warriors Snowmobile Club. Pops and Pam also raised money for Crawford County Animal Shelter, POWs/MIAs and Make a Wish Foundation. With such avid fundraising for our local community, they decided to build a pavilion outside, as well as an outdoor bar.
After 15 years, Pops and Pam decided that it was time to move on by selling the bar To Bob and Karren Laurence….. your new hosts.
With such a wonderful history and the opportunity to be a part of an amazing legacy we would like to thank you for welcoming us into your community. We are committed to bringing you great food, lots of fun and a continued community effort.