Lish Dorset of The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn writes on the Pure Michigan Blog that although summer is always a busy time at The Henry Ford, this summer is shaping up to be especially busy as they celebrate what would have been the 150th birthday of founder Henry Ford. She writes:
We’re celebrating Henry’s legacy all year at The Henry Ford, whose birthday is July 30. Starting in June and running through August, pay a visit to Miller School in Greenfield Village and step back in time to the days of Henry’s youth as he experiments with clock parts, machines and principles that challenged him.
You can also visit Henry’s T, a 15-minute dramatic play and hear how this ultimate maker was inspired to build his universal car. Follow up the play with a visit to Henry Ford Museum and learn how to build a Model T yourself.
Both Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are offering guided tours to guests with an emphasis on Henry’s work.
Michigan in Pictures regularly features awesome historical postcards from Don Harrison of UpNorthMemories.com. Don emailed me the other day to let me know that the 39th National Stereoscopic Association Convention will be held in Traverse City next month (June 4-10, 2013).
The event features speakers, workshops, 3D image competitions, exhibitions and a huge 3D Trade Fair where you can view and purchase equipment and photographs. While there’s no specifically Michigan tie, I thought it was pretty cool that Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS is one of the featured speakers. You may know Brian as the guitarist of Queen, but he apparently postponed a career in astronomy, returning to astrophysics in 2006. He’s also a life-long stereoscopy enthusiast.
Regarding stereoscopy, Wikipedia’s explains:
Stereoscopy (also called stereoscopics or 3D imaging) is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by means of stereopsis for binocular vision. The word stereoscopy derives from the Greek “στερεός” (stereos), “firm, solid” + “σκοπέω” (skopeō), “to look”, “to see”.
Most stereoscopic methods present two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. These two-dimensional images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of 3D depth. This technique is distinguished from 3D displays that display an image in three full dimensions, allowing the observer to increase information about the 3-dimensional objects being displayed by head and eye movements.
The photo above shows the Diag at the University of Michigan. You can see it bigger along with dozens more from all across Michigan in the Bentley Library’s Michigan in 3D Stereoscopic Cards gallery.
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.
May 8, 2013
The 1896 book Myths and Legends of our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner relates a rather gruesome version of the tale of the origin of Whitefish, which this photo reminded me of.
An Indian who lived far in the north was so devoted to the chase that he was never at home for the whole of a day, to the sorrow of his two boys, who liked nothing so much as to sport with him and to be allowed to practise with his weapons. Their mother told them that on no account were they to speak to him of the young man who visited the lodge while their father was away, and it was not until they were well grown and knew what the duty of wives should be that they resolved to disobey her. The hunter struck the woman dead when he learned of her perfidy. So greatly did her spirit trouble them, however, that they could no longer abide in their old home in peace and comfort, and they left the country and journeyed southward until they came to the Sault Sainte Marie.
As they stood beside the falls a head came rolling toward them on the earth—the head of the dead woman. At that moment, too, a crane was seen riding on the surface of the water, whirling about in its strongest eddies, and when one of the boys called to it, “O Grandfather, we are persecuted by a spirit; take us across the falls,” the crane flew to them. “Cling to my back and do not touch my head,” it said to them, and landed them safely on the farther shore.
But now the head screamed, “Come, grandfather, and carry me over, for I have lost my children and am sorely distressed,” and the bird flew to her likewise. “Be careful not to touch my head,” it said. The head promised obedience, but succumbed to curiosity when half-way over and touched the bird’s head to see what was the matter with him. With a lurch the crane flung off his burden and it fell into the rapids. As it swept down, bumping against the rocks, the brains were pounded out and strewn over the water. “You were useless in life,” cried the crane. “You shall not be so in death. Become fish!” And the bits of brain changed to roe that presently hatched to a delicate white fish, the flesh whereof is esteemed by Indians of the lakes, and white men, likewise. The family pitched a lodge near the spot and took the crane as their totem or name-mark. Many of their descendants bear it to this day.
The version I read in one of my all-time favorite books, Lore of the Great Turtle : Indian Legends of Mackinac Retold by Dirk Gringhuis is pretty dark as well. Michigan in Pictures has a post with all the information about Sandhill Cranes in Michigan, and you can also check out Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) from the Michigan DNR.
More birds on Michigan in Pictures.
May 2, 2013
Good Harbor is located on the northern edge of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Lake Michigan end of County Road 651. Today only evidence of the vanished village are the pilings of what was once a 500′ dock that could load 4 schooners at a time. The Good Harbor page from the Lakeshore explains that logging in the area began in 1863 to supply cordwood fuel for steamers, leading to the founding of a village in the 1870s.
Shortly after 1880 (Henry) Schomberg bought out Schwartz’s interest and built a big sawmill which had a capacity of 30,000 feet in a 10-hour day.
…The Schomberg Lumber Company ran a hotel, two stores which became a shopping center for the local farmers, and a saloon. The township line between Centerville and Cleveland townships ran down the middle of Main Street in Good Harbor. Centerville did not allow saloons, so Good Harbor’s saloon was built on the Cleveland township side of the street … At the height of the lumber business, the mill worked day and night during the winter and during the day in the summer. As many as 75 teams of horses were used hauling logs to the mill, lumber to the dock, and supplies to the camps. The lumber company owned some of the teams and the rest were owned by local farmers and rented to the lumber company. At its peak, the mill cut 8,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.
The schooners were loaded by farmers who were called to work at the dock when the ships arrived. Good Harbor had no protection from storms with a northwest wind, so ships had to leave the dock and sail to the Manitou Islands for protection when a storm would come up. Sometimes storms would come up too fast and the ships were driven aground.
April 29, 2013
historicdetroit.org’s page on the Water Board Building explains:
The Art Moderne-styled Water Board Building has been a familiar part of Detroit’s skyline since October 1928. The Common council provided $1 million in the 1927-28 city budget for a triangular-shaped building on a site bounded by Randolph, Farmer, and Bates Streets. Louis Kamper – a Detroit-based architect known for his work on the houses of prominent Detroiters, as well as Detroit landmarks like the Book Building (1917), the Washington Boulevard Building (1923), and the Book-Cadillac Hotel (1924) – originally planned for a 14-story building. But, “because of the high value of the site, the Board decided that … it would build a twenty story building.”
The completed building reflects the trend toward simplification of forms typical of the Jazz Age. Standing 23 stories, it is comprised of a five-story base, a 15-story shaft, and a three-story penthouse. The total cost – including the $250,000 paid for the site, and the architect’s five-percent commission – was $1,768,760.20. It was one of the last buildings designed by Kamper, who was in his late sixties during its design and construction.
…The BOWC’s new building was constructed in a record-breaking seven months. It was considered state-of-the-art and fireproof by 1928 standards.
Click over to Historic Detroit to read a whole lot more and see a couple of old photos. Also check out the Water Board Building at Detroit 1701 where I found a link to this 300 year history of the Detroit Water Board.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
April 26, 2013
Terry Pepper has (as usual) a very detailed entry for Poe Reef Lighthouse on his Seeing the Light website. This crib style lighthouse is located off Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron. The reef is very close to the surface and posed a significant threat to navigation until the decision was made in the 1890s to anchor a lightship there. This served until Lighthouse Service decided to build a permanent station on Poe Reef in 1927:
The station building at Poe Reef was to be an exact duplicate of that which the crew had previously completed at Martins Reef. The main twenty-five foot square structure consisted of a steel skeletal framework to which an exterior sheathing of riveted steel plates was applied. Thirty-eight feet tall, it contained three levels, or “decks”, as the crews assigned to the station knew them. The two upper decks were set up as living quarters, while the main lower deck served as housing for the machinery required for powering the lights, heating system and foghorn.
Centered atop the main structure stood sixteen-foot square, ten-foot high watch room of similar construction, with a single observation window on each side. Finally, a decagonal cast iron lantern room was installed on the roof of the watch room, and outfitted with a Third Order Fresnel lens. The combination of pier and tower provided the Fresnel with a seventy-one foot focal plane, and a visibility range of almost twenty nautical miles in clear conditions. Work was completed at the station and the light exhibited for the first time on the evening of August 15, 1929.
At some point in time, in order to eliminate the possibility of the Poe Reef Light being mistaken for the identical all white structure at Martin Reef, the main deck and watch room of the Poe structure were given a contrasting coat of black paint.
Terry has some cool shots of this light as well including this wide shot with cormorants.
More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.
April 24, 2013
This Friday, April 26th is Arbor Day, and I thought it would be nice to take a look what is probably the most famous trees in Michigan’s history and the place where it once grew, Hartwick Pines State Park. In 1927, Karen Michelson Hartwick purchased over 8,000 acres of land that included 85 acres of old growth white pine from the Salling-Hanson Company of Grayling. Mrs. Hartwick was a daughter of a founding partner of the logging company and shortly after the purchase, she donated the land to the State of Michigan as a memorial park named for her husband, the late Major Edward E. Hartwick of Grayling. A nice article from the Toledo Blade about Hartwick Pines explains:
This is Hartwick Pines, the largest stand of “old growth” forest in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Here, white pines, red pines and hemlocks ladder their way 160 feet to the sky.
…There are approximately 24,000 trees in the Hartwick Pines old growth grove today, but not all are “old growth” trees. Lightning and wind claim a few of the old trees each year, and they are replaced with a mixture of hardwoods and pines.
A large hemlock near the parking lot was recently damaged by a storm and had to be removed. Its stump showed 365 annual rings. The most famous tree at Hartwick Pines — The Monarch — lost its crown in a 1992 storm and then died four years later. It was 155 feet tall when healthy, with a circumference of 12 feet and an estimated age of 325 years.
PS: The Monarch was a white pine, Michigan’s State Tree.
April 23, 2013
The Adrian Daily Telegram reports that ownership of the Irish Hills Towers has formally been transfered to the Irish Hills Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The towers have been stabilized and are being evaluated, and it appears that the IHHS would need about $300,000 to restore this attraction. Keep up with their progress at the Irish Hills Historical Society Facebook.
This page on the Irish Hills Towers notes that the top of the towers is 1400 feet above sea level, which makes them the highest point in southeastern Michigan. On a clear day (if they were open) you could see for seven miles with a ten lakes visible. Michigan in Pictures has more shots of these iconic landmarks including the history of the towers and a crazy cool photo by Matt Callow.
Darren took the photo and suggests that he’d like to see the towers restored and converted to a museum for Michigan’s Roadside Attractions. Check it out on black and see more in his Irish Hills Towers slideshow.
April 20, 2013
101 years ago today on April 20, 1912, Tiger Stadium opened at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood. Last year Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports observed that this milestone passed largely unmarked:
It was 100 years ago this weekend. Ty Cobb scored the first run by stealing home. From that day until 1999, this very spot rumbled with din and greatness. Pretty much every legend that played in Fenway in the 20th century also played here. Lou Gehrig sat himself down for the first time in 2,130 games here, ending his incredible ironman streak. Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run here. Reggie Jackson hit one into the right field light tower here during the ’71 All-Star game. The Tigers won World Series titles here in 1968 and again in 1984, with Kirk Gibson launching a late-inning home run off Goose Gossage that no Tigers fan alive to see it will ever forget. Fair to say this was the most exciting place in the history of Michigan.
And now there’s hardly a trace. Fans committed to honoring the old stadium in some form maintain a home plate, a pitcher’s mound, two chalk lines for base paths and two benches where the dugouts used to be. The 125-foot flagpole from the old center field is still standing.
While the old ballpark’s birthday is definitely passing unmarked again this year, mLive hadan article about the uncertain future of the site a couple of weeks ago. If you’d like to do a little remembering, head over to 100 years at Tiger Stadium on Absolute Michigan for a whole lot more about this beloved ballpark and links to videos including the intro to the DVD Michigan & Trumbull featuring Ernie Harwell. (a 2 1/2 minute stroll through Tiger Stadium)
Lots more Detroit Tigers pictures on Michigan in Pictures!