December 10, 2013
Marty shared this photo and also some information about the CR510 Pennsylvania Truss Bridge in Marquette County from historicbridges.org:
This is one of the largest, most beautiful, and most significant truss spans in Michigan. Not only does this truss bridge display the Pennsylvania truss configuration, it appears that it may have actually come from the state of Pennsylvania. In 1919, the Michigan State Highway Department purchased the bridge which originally crossed the Allegheny River. Relocating and reusing truss bridges was not unusual in this period of history. An example notice indicating bridges for sale from 1921 is shown to the right. At this time, CR-510 was a state trunk line route and purchasing and relocating this bridge would have been an inexpensive alternative to building a new bridge from scratch. It was erected on the CR-510 location in 1921. The Michigan State Highway Department’s Biennial Report stated that the bridge was one of two toll bridges crossing the Allegheny River within 500 feet of each other and was being removed due to the redundancy. Unfortunately, the report did not state exactly where on the river this bridge came from. Since most of the Allegheny River is in Pennsylvania, it is assumed the bridge came from Pennsylvania, although the Allegheny River does dip into New York State for a short time. Depending on where on the Allegheny River it was originally located, it may have been part of a multi-span bridge.
Pennsylvania truss bridges are an uncommon truss type, and the nature of their design means that they are reserved for longer truss spans. However, even among pin-connected highway Pennsylvania truss spans, this bridge’s span still stands out as fairly long. It is the longest pin-connected highway truss span in Michigan. The truss type is extremely rare in Michigan, and so the bridge has additional significance in the context of Michigan. The bridge also retains excellent historic integrity with minimal alterations despite its long service and being located in two different states over its service life. The bridge has decorative details on its portal bracing, another feature that is rare among Michigan truss bridges.
Read on for more.
More bridges on Michigan in Pictures.
October 26, 2013
An Absolute Michigan feature via Michigan History Magazine on the opening of the Mackinac Bridge on November 1, 1957 says (in part):
With the bridge ready for traffic, but fearing inclement autumn weather at the Straits, officials decided to have an official “opening” on November 1, 1957, but an official “dedication” in late June of the following year.
Amazingly, the weather on the first day of November (preceded by two days of rain and fog) was sunny and pleasant. However, the weather in late June was so cold and wet (with six-foot waves on the Straits) that some of the events were shortened or canceled altogether. According to one observer, it “was a bleak, gray day, more like March than June, and the only parader who looked happy was a snow queen from Cadillac, who rode on an ice throne float, throwing snowballs made of popcorn.”
…On November 1, after paying the $3.25 toll (taken symbolically by former U.S. Senator Prentiss Brown, who chaired the Mackinac Bridge Authority), Governor G. Mennen Williams crossed the bridge (driven in a car by Mrs. Williams because the governor had forgotten his driver’s license). Then, according to United Press International correspondent Thomas Farrell, cars lined up for one mile on both sides of the Straits “swarmed” on to a bridge whose size “staggers the imagination.”
In his opening day remarks, Governor Williams predicted that the bridge would add $100 million annually to the state’s tourist trade. He continued, “Michigan at last is to be one state, geographically, economically and culturally, as well as politically.”
I think we can probably agree that it’s had a tremendous impact on Michigan! About this photo with a unique view of the festivities, Dave writes:
A friend found this large format color slide earlier this year and I scanned it at high resolution. It shows Governor G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams at the tollbooths on the St. Ignace end of the Mackinac Bridge on the day it opened, November 1, 1957. I have seen many photos of this day, but never one quite like this.
September 12, 2013
The annual Labor Day Bridge walk across the Mackinac Bridge takes place this Monday (September 2, 2013). UpNorthLive reports that you can turn your Labor Day bridge walk into a one of a kind experience with a trip to the top of the Mighty Mac!
More than 40,000 people are expected to participate in the 56th Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk which will take on Monday, Sept. 2.
For the second year in a row, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Mackinac Bridge Authority are asking the public to share their Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk experiences on social media with photos and videos. One person sharing their memories will be chosen at random to receive a once-in-a-lifetime tour to the top of the Mackinac Bridge.
Through Monday, Sept. 9, you can post your memories of walking the bridge, either this year or in a previous year, on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MightyMacWalk13. Memories can include photos or videos.
A lucky person whose entry is chosen at random by computer will receive a tour for two to the top of the bridge, courtesy of the MBA. The person who travels the furthest to walk the bridge this year and post a memory will win a Pure Michigan gift pack, courtesy of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Read on for more and check out the pics on Twitter and Instagram. Get all the details on the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk from the Mackinac Bridge Authority. If you want to see what it looks like from the top, check out my friend Spike’s Mackinac Bridge slideshow!
Much more on the Mackinac Bridge at Michigan in Pictures!
August 20, 2013
July 23, 2013
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Cathy Nagler will be attempting to swim across the Straits of Mackinac tomorrow (Wednesday, July 24):
Worry isn’t a word Nagler uses to talk about the upcoming distance swim, which is expected to take place Wednesday between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, on the west side of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. But she does have legitimate concerns, chiefly hypothermia from the cold water.
“That’s the hard one,” she said. “I went in Lake Michigan on June 12 and the water temperature was 58 degrees.”
Nagler will wear a lightweight wetsuit, of the sort tri-athletes wear, to combat that problem. Combined with dive boots, it should keep her warm enough.
“The heavier wetsuits, like water skiers wear, make me too buoyant in the water,” she said.
Nagler, who summered at her family’s cabin in Northport as a child, has been a life-long swimmer. She has several distance swims to her credit, both in the United States and England. But her goal to swim across Lake Michigan has the most meaning for her.
I thought I would try and figure out how many people have swum the 4.1 mile distance across the Straits of Mackinac, but it appears that the answer is “a lot.” This feature in the St. Ignace News about a group of 5 who swam the Straits in 2011 has some great information about swimming the Straits, and notes that the Coast Guard receives about 10 special marine requests specifically for swimming the Straits.
July 12, 2013
Today’s photographer, Michael Koole wrote to let me know that last Sunday (July 7, 2013) the oldest continuously operating covered bridge in Michigan burned and collapsed into the Flat River. Arson is suspected, and you can also see mLive’s coverage and history of the bridge. Michael noted that it was one of less than a dozen in Michigan (see also this page) and the oldest covered bridge still in use in Michigan.
The West Michigan Tourism Association says White’s Covered Bridge:
…was the third bridge built across Flat River at or near the same site, originally called White’s Crossing in honor of a prominent pioneer family. The first was a primitive log-corduroy bridge built in 1840. A second bridge, built around 1856 for a mere $250, was demolished by an ice jam in the spring of 1869. Residents of nearby Smyrna decided they must erect a more substantial structure, despite having no means of immediate payment. The current White’s Covered Bridge was built in 1869.
Jared N. Bresee, who built the covered bridge at Fallasburg, along with Joseph H. Walker, were contracted to build the 120- foot long bridge for a deferred payment of $1000 due in 1870, plus $700 due in 1871. They planked the floor with second-hand lumber in an effort to finish the job quickly. When the townspeople discovered auger holes in the planks, they deducted $25 from the first payment. The bridge was built in just 84 days with only man, ox and horse power.
White’s Bridge is a frame structure with a gable roof. Its construction is of the through-truss type, and the trusses are completely sheeted over with rough pine boards. The floor is 14 feet wide and 116.5 feet long. All of the truss members and dimension lumber are hand hewn and secured with wooden pegs. The sheeting and roof boards are fastened to the rafters with hand cut nails. The abutments are made of local fieldstone. After repair of the abutments in the fall of 1955, White’s Bridge was reopened to automobile traffic.
Except for occasional siding replacement and a new cedar shingle roof, White’s Bridge is much the same today as it was a century ago. It is built with the Brown truss, a type of construction which enjoyed a brief popularity, only in Michigan.
Invented and patented in 1857 by Josiah Brown of Buffalo, New York, the Brown truss resembles the Howe arrangement of “X” bracing and counter bracing, but uses lighter and less timber. It contains no upright members and no iron except for bolt connectors at the timber intersections. Bresee and Walker used the Brown truss successfully in at least four covered bridges in Michigan, three of which are still in existence.
White’s Covered Bridge was listed with the Michigan State Register on February 17, 1965 and awarded a Michigan Historical Marker on July 2, 1965.
Michigan in Pictures has profiled a few of Michigan’s remaining covered bridges – they are filed (predictably) under bridge.
July 9, 2013
“Unless we move without delay to halt the deterioration of our land, our water and our air, our own children may see the last traces of earth’s beauty crushed beneath the weight of man’s waste and ruin.”
~Governor William Milliken to the Michigan legislature, January 1970
While “environmentalism” has become a polarizing term, it seems to me to be a concept that’s at the core of loving & caring for the Great Lakes State. One of my personal heros, Michigan Governor Bill Milliken, recognized this and he and his wife Helen fought strongly throughout their careers to enshrine protection of the natural bounty that they loved into the fabric of Michigan’s laws. It’s no surprise that every year the Michigan Environmental Council recognizes an individual for outstanding leadership, enduring commitment and extraordinary public service in protecting natural resources at the local, state and national levels with the Helen & William Milliken Distinguished Service Award.
The 2013 recipient has been announced, Dave Dempsey. Dempsey is the author of numerous books, a former member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, environmental policy adviser to former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, and member of the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund Board.
“Dave Dempsey is the rare leader who is able to move effortlessly from talking about the arcane technical details of some issue, to explaining in vivid and powerful terms why that issue is so critical to the quality of life for the generations that come after us,” Chris Kolb, MEC president, said in a press release Monday.
“Dave’s contributions to a better Michigan through his public policy advocacy alone deserve our recognition and gratitude. However, when you add in his authoritative chronicling of Michigan’s environmental history through his books, it’s clear he has made a special, positive, and lasting impact on our state.”
There’s no doubt that Dempsey has been a champion of the Great Lakes, and this Sunday (July 14) you have a chance to do some championing of your own as dedicated groups from all over the state host Oil & Water Don’t Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes to raise awareness about climate change and the dangers posed by an oil pipeline that runs through the Mackinac Straits. Enbridge Energy – the company responsible for the devastating July 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill and over 800 other spills since 1999 - has been pumping oil through the Straits for 60 years. They are seeking to pump even more oil through the aging Mackinac pipeline – possibly including tar sands, the most toxic and hard to clean up if spilled.
The rally this Sunday, July 14 at noon at Bridge View Park in St. Ignace (just across the bridge) and there are numerous busses heading there from Kalamazoo, Lansing, Traverse City and other locations. Click for details or view the event on Facebook!
June 24, 2013
May 9, 2013
The Library of Congress page on the Sault Ste. Marie International Railroad Bridge that spans the Soo Locks from Michigan to Canada at St. Marys Falls explains that:
The Sault Ste. Marie International Railroad Bridge has nine camelback truss spans crossing the St. Marys River with bascule and vertical lift bridge components crossing the American Locks at the St. Marys Falls Canal. It is the only bridge in the United States known to include these three types of spans in a single structure to use an interlocking mechanism to connect the leaves of the double-leaf bascule span.
It is Michigan’s most significant railroad bridge from an engineering history standpoint and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
More Michigan bridges on Michigan in Pictures.