August 8, 2013
The Detroit Free Press recently had a fun article by Ziati Meyer titled Michigan Lighthouse Trivia that related:
LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS: The deaths of 48 people in one year prompted the building of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The stretch of water between Big Sable Point and Ludington saw 12 shipwrecks in 1855, so Congress was asked to send money to help. The result — after a Civil War delay — was a $35,000 lighthouse to help ships navigate that area of Lake Michigan
Read on for more fun facts and definitely check out Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light and our Michigan in Pictures archive for more info and photos of this iconic light north of Ludington.
More great aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.
February 1, 2013
Craig shared this photo of the North Breakwater Pier and Lighthouse in Ludington on the Absolute Michigan Facebook the other day.
More shots of Ludington (and this lighthouse) on Michigan in Pictures.
November 10, 2012
Chipping Ice on the City of Flint, photo by Captain John Meissner
Wikipedia explains that the Armistice Day Blizzard struck November 11 (Armistice Day) and November 12, 1940. The intense early-season “Panhandle hook” winter storm cut a 1,000-mile-wide path through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan. Carferries.com has a great article on The Armistice Day Storm of 1940 that begins:
The “storm” of November 11, 1940 was one of the worst storms in the recorded history of Lake Michigan. In all, the storm claimed 5 vessels, and 66 lives. The storm occurred on Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I in 1918.
The storm hit late Monday afternoon, November 11th, with winds of hurricane proportions. The winds struck suddenly from the southwest at about 2:30 P.M. and were accompanied by drenching rain, which later changed to snow. The winds reached peak velocities of 75 miles per hour, the highest in local maritime history. Telephone and power lines were down by the hundreds around Mason County. Several local firms had “gaping” holes where roofs once were. Trees were uprooted, small buildings were overturned, and brick walls were toppled, causing at least 1 serious injury. Very few places escaped without damage. Ludington, on the morning of November 12th, appeared to be a deserted city.
The Pere Marquette carferry City of Flint 32, attempted to make the harbor but wound up on the beach about 300 yards from the shore. She was ordered by her relief captain, Jens Vevang, to be scuttled to avoid being pounded by the incoming seas. On November 12th, a breeches buoy was strung and 27 year old crewman Ernest Delotowski of 406 First Street, Ludington, was brought ashore. Delatowski made a good portion of the trip in the icy waters of Lake Michigan. As a precautionary measure, he was taken to Paulina Stearns Hospital and was released later that day. He said he carried a message with him, but it got lost in the water. Later the buoy was used to carry a message to the ship, and then crewman Luther Ryder of S. Washington Avenue (Ludington) was brought ashore.
You can read more including first-hand recollections of the storm and also see more photos taken by Captain John Meissner and also photos of the grounding and other wrecks as a result of the storm at carferries.com.
More shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.
September 22, 2012
This morning north of Ludington, photo by Debbie Maglothin
It seems only fitting to follow up waterspouts with rainbows. The National Center for Atmospheric Research has an incredibly comprehensive page about rainbows. After explaining the optics behind rainbows (complete with diagrams), they delve into double rainbows:
Sometimes we see two rainbows at once, what causes this? We have followed the path of a ray of sunlight as it enters and is reflected inside the raindrop. But not all of the energy of the ray escapes the raindrop after it is reflected once. A part of the ray is reflected again and travels along inside the drop to emerge from the drop. The rainbow we normally see is called the primary rainbow and is produced by one internal reflection; the secondary rainbow arises from two internal reflections and the rays exit the drop at an angle of 50 degrees° rather than the 42°degrees for the red primary bow. Blue light emerges at an even larger angle of 53 degrees°. This effect produces a secondary rainbow that has its colors reversed compared to the primary, as illustrated in the drawing, adapted from the Science Universe Series Sight, Light, and Color.
It is possible for light to be reflected more than twice within a raindrop, and one can calculate where the higher order rainbows might be seen; but these are never seen in normal circumstances.
You may have noticed that the sky is brighter inside the rainbow above. They explain why the sky is brighter inside both single & double rainbows:
Notice the contrast between the sky inside the arc and outside it. When one studies the refraction of sunlight on a raindrop one finds that there are many rays emerging at angles smaller than the rainbow ray, but essentially no light from single internal reflections at angles greater than this ray. Thus there is a lot of light within the bow, and very little beyond it. Because this light is a mix of all the rainbow colors, it is white. In the case of the secondary rainbow, the rainbow ray is the smallest angle and there are many rays emerging at angles greater than this one. Therefore the two bows combine to define a dark region between them – called Alexander’s Dark Band, in honor of Alexander of Aphrodisias who discussed it some 1800 years ago!
Read on for much more about rainbows including supernumerary arcs, why we don’t often see rainbows in winter and even lunar rainbows! If you want to go rainbow crazy, head over to Atmospheric Optics for tons more rainbow information & photos.
See more rainbows on Michigan in Pictures. Also, I’ve added a new “science” category to Michigan in Pictures. I’ll tag past posts like the post about sundogs, rainbow-like formations you often see in winter. If anyone has a favorite, just post a comment on it mentioning that it would be a good fit for science!
September 6, 2012
More Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures.
July 5, 2012
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has all the history on Big Sable Point Light Station. One interesting fact is that it holds the distinction of being the last Great Lakes light to become electrified in 1949.
Terry notes that electrification was always a double-edged-sword, because it paved the way for automation in 1968 which in turned paved the way for vandalism and deterioration. In 1977 waves came perilously close to undermining the tower before the seawall could be replaced, but the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association has helped restore this light to its former glory.
June 3, 2011
June in Ludington. More about the North Pier Light (a wintry view at that).
Don’t miss the Michigan June Calendar on Absolute Michigan. Lots of fun stuff to do when you’re not soaking up a Michigan sunset!
And yes, we have sunsets.
March 29, 2011
I’ve featured Big Sable Point Lighthouse before on Michigan in Pictures, but most of you probably didn’t see that post. Besides, it was done on a day when the Great Lakes’ premier resource for lighthouse information, Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light, was down! Terry’s Big Sable Point Light Station page begins:
In its report to Congress in 1865, the Lighthouse Board presented the case that “the interests of commerce demand that Grand Point Au Sable be suitably lighted” Congress responded favorably on July of the following year with an appropriation of $35,000 on July 28 of the following year. The State of Michigan responded by providing the Federal Government with fee deed to nine hundred and thirty-three acres for the station later that year.
Construction began in early 1867 with the arrival of Lighthouse Board and Army Corps of Engineers workers, who immediately began the construction of a dock at which to unload the necessary supplies for the project. Next, a temporary cofferdam was constructed to keep waster from entering the foundation, which consisted of tightly fitted cut stone blocks beginning a depth of six feet below grade and extending three feet above.
On this sturdy foundation, the skilled masons began to raise the tower. Constructed of cream city brick, the walls were laid five feet thick at the foundation, tapering to a thickness of two feet thick immediately below the gallery. Within the tower, a circular inner wall, eight feet in diameter supported the cast iron spiral staircase. On its vertical climb, the stairway passed through three landing areas.
January 5, 2011
Our January Event Calendar is posted on Absolute Michigan. Check it out for all kinds of January fun!
Shane took this photo as the sun was setting and the winds were whipping along at 40 MPH at the end of the first day of the 2011 in Ludington. Check it out bigger in his Michigan slideshow.
September 10, 2010
Today’s post is filed under do not try this at home. My daughter was a passenger in a scary car accident last night. Nobody was hurt but it’s important to remember that you always get a second chance until the time you don’t.
Winter Blues at the Ludington North Breakwater Light has more about the history of this Michigan lighthouse!