Once a well-known and oft-visited site, Stepping Stone Falls and its history has dimmed in the public mind.
The water feature was part of a proposition made to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in 1964 to create the Genesee Recreation Area, which today includes the 650-acre C.S. Mott Lake, Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad, Bluebell Beach, the Mounds, and miles of woodland trails. The original master plan for the area included a myriad of other facilities and amenities that never came to fruition such as an 18-hole golf course, a zoo, a soap box derby hill, a music and fine arts center and an equestrian arena. Mr. Mott was supposedly anxious to realize the lengthy project that he donated upwards of six million dollars to speed up the process. “I want to see this area used by the people of our community while I am still alive,” he is reported to have said often.
On January 11, 1971, Mott himself signaled bulldozer operations to begin work on the dam that would create the eponymous lake. The company hired to complete the project was Erickson and Lindstrom Construction Group. Finished in 1972, Bluebell Beach, located on the lake, opened to hundreds of beach-goers on the second of July. Mott himself visited the falls and took a ride on the lake during one of his last outings. The name of the falls was decided through a contest, and a Miss Debbie Holbrook of Flint submitted the winning entry, “Stepping Stone Falls.”
Little else is known of the falls. The brutalist architecture is a common hallmark of the time period in which it was designed, but the architect remains a mystery. ♦