September 17, 2014
The Lansing State Journal reports on Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun’s plan for an $80-million makeover of Michigan Central Station:
Michigan Central Station, a well-known symbol of Detroit’s decay, is expected to get $80 million in renovations over the next three years, according to a top aide to depot owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun. The revelation was made by Moroun associate Dan Stamper as he went before the Detroit City Council last week to discuss alternative plans to the city selling land needed for a new bridge to Canada.
…At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins said she was happy to see Moroun’s associate promise to help that community.
“There is one building that you all have not demolished,” Jenkins said of the depot. “Whenever they show the demise of Detroit there are two buildings they always show — one is the Packard Plant, the other is the train station.”
“We are going to renovate the train depot,” Stamper replied. “It’s probably another three years to secure the building watertight.”
…Jenkins didn’t seem impressed with Stamper’s description of plans to renovate the train station.
“That’s a pledge that I’ve heard multiple times,” Jenkins said.
So the short answer: don’t hold your breath. Read on at the LSJ for more.
Lots more photos of Michigan Central Station on Michigan in Pictures.
September 4, 2014
In honor of the latest kayaker to throw caution to the wind (or is that water?) and take the plunge over the 51′ Tahquamenon Falls, here’s a cool aerial of the Falls that was postmarked in 1948 and probably taken a few years before.
If you want to see how to do this, check out a great video feature at YooperSteez on How to Kayak Over Tahquamenon Falls with Brazilian extreme kayaker Marcelo Galizio. Things To Do in the UP has an interview with Marcello as well. NOTE: I’m pretty sure this is against the rules at Tahquamenon Falls State Park and probably a great way to kill yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing!
Lots more about Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures!
August 22, 2014
“Winter is Coming.”
~ House Stark
A little reminder to soak up summer while we have it. If you need a little more, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says:
Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a ‘super-cold’ winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal.
Publishers claim their forecasts–based on a ‘secret’ formula that looks at weather and astronomical trends–have an 80 percent accuracy rate.
‘Colder is just almost too familiar a term,’ Editor Janice Stillman said. ‘Think of it as a refriger-nation.’
More black & white photography on Michigan in Pictures.
August 7, 2014
Here’s a Throwback Thursday featuring one of Northern Michigan’s most colorful characters:
Harrison’s most colorful character was John “Spikehorn” Meyers, known to thousands of Michigan residents simply as Spikehorn. He was a showman, naturalist, politician, coal miner, tile manufacturer, furniture builder, inventor, realtor, bear hunter, lumberjack, and above all, individualist. The old gentleman had a fertile imagination under his white thatch of hair and full white beard.
According to neighbors, Spikehorn’s interest in the woods and buckskins developed around 1930, when he opened his Bear and Deer Park established on his property at the corner of US-27 and M-61. Rumor has it the park even contained an occasional buffalo.
Spikehorn and his friend, Red Eagle, dressed in buckskins for tourists and treated them to tales of their adventures in the woods. He enjoyed feeding his pets sweets, popcorn, and pop and loved posing with his deer and bears for cameras.
His enemies were the Conservation Officers, as indicated by the sign in front of his business: “Feed Conservation Officers to the Bear.”
Spikehorn also appears in one of the best Michigan history videos, Roaming Through Michigan, a classic newsreel.
“Mr. Scott never did anything for Detroit in his lifetime and he never had a thought that was good for the city.”
~ J.L. Hudson
Sometimes when you peer into history, you see things you didn’t expect, and that’s definitely the case with today’s subject. The Cass Gilbert Society’s page on the James Scott Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle explains that the fountain was completed in 1925, designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert (designer of the US Supreme Court Building in DC), and executed by sculptor Herbert Adams
The fountain was the result of a bequest from millionaire playboy James Scott, a figure of much controversy in Detroit at the turn of the century. Detroit’s fountain of mirth from the excellent Rearview Mirror series in the Detroit News (removed, but see The Wayback Machine) tells of the opposition from prominent citizens and clergy like J.L. Hudson and Bishop Williams that a playboy, loafer, gambler and vindictive practical joker like Scott be memorialized solely because he was able to plunk down a vast sum for his own monument. While public opinion kept the project scuttled for years after Scott’s death, influential Alderman David Heineman and others took up the charge, likely seeing how a vastly expensive fountain could enhance Detroit’s island park.
Speaking to reporters gathered in the office of Mayor Philip Breitmeyer, Heineman said: “I can look around this office and see pictures of men who played poker with Jim Scott. I say the bequest should be accepted.” He also recalled that “Jim always liked Belle Isle and loved to see the children there.”
The mayor agreed with Heineman. “I don’t believe the city has a right to insult any of her citizens by refusing a gift for such a good cause,” he said.
In the end, their view prevailed. It took more than 15 years, but Breitmeyer lived to attend the fountain’s dedication in 1925. Cass Gilbert, the New York architect who planned the Detroit Public Library, won a competition for design of the glistening white memorial at the lower end of the city’s pleasure island.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post previously appeared but sadly the photo was deleted by the owner. It’s one of my favorites so I re-blogged it!
April 10, 2014
If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.
There’s much more photographic goodness from Ralph on Michigan in Pictures.