November 17, 2008
The Zilwaukee Bridge carries northbound and southbound I-75 125 feet over the Saginaw River at Zilwaukee, MI with a total length of just over 8,000 ft. This high level bridge replaced a drawbridge at the same location that caused major backups on I-75 with frequent openings for ship traffic going from Saginaw, MI to the Great Lakes. With a major and widely publicized construction mishap and huge budget overruns this is one of the more widely know bridges in the State of Michigan.
You can read much more about this star-crossed bridge in Wikipedia’s Zilwaukee Bridge entry, but the best resource is michiganhighways.org. There you can find The Zilwaukee Bridge: From the Beginning by MDOT. This details the whole story including “The Accident“. There’s also a bunch of photos of the bridge including an aerial view and an annotated aerial view.
October 27, 2008
Holloway Reservoir Regional Park is a 5500-acre park near Columbiaville in Genesee County. The park includes the 1,975-acre Holloway Reservoir and provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing and other recreation.
October 25, 2008
Last night I had dinner with a writer from England who is exploring vineyards in Leelanau by bicycle for a story. He was asking me some questions about how Michigan ranks nationally in grape & wine production. I didn’t have all the answers, but fortunately there’s the great Michigan Wines web site from the Michigan Grape & Wine Council.
From their fast facts page, I learned that Michigan has about 1,800 acres of wine vineyards, making Michigan the eighth largest in wine grape producer in the nation (if our juice grapes are factored in, we’re 4th largest). We’ve increased our vineyard area over 60% in the last 10 years. Michigan is 13th in wine production with 56 commercial wineries that produce over 425,000 cases of wine annually. The state’s wineries are also popular tourist destinations, attracting more than 800,000 visitors annually.
Most of Michigan’s quality wine grapes grow within 25 miles of Lake Michigan. Here, the “lake effect” protects the vines with snow in winter, retards bud break in spring helping avoid frost damage, and extends the growing season by up to four weeks.
Michigan has four federally approved viticultural areas (AVAs). In the northwest part of the state, near Traverse City, lie the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula. This area has a growing season averaging 145 days and an average heat accumulation of 2,350 growing degree days; 51% of Michigan’s wine grapes grow here. In the southwest part of the state lie the Lake Michigan Shore and Fennville appellations, where 45% of Michigan’s wine grapes are grown. This area has a growing season averaging 160 days and an average heat accumulation of 2,750 growing degree days.
You’ll also want to check out their history page for the very interesting story of Michigan’s winemaking history. Here’s the vineyard slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool and you can get lots more features and links for Michigan wines from Absolute Michigan.
October 21, 2008
I am continually surprised by how popular Michigan in Pictures (in particular this post) is for searches for “fall backgrounds” or “fall wallpaper“. Every day about 100 people end up here, and I feel it’s sort of a duty to find a nice big photo every few days … sort of like feeding the fish.
Nicole took this photo on an Exposure.Detroit photo safari at Stony Creek Metropark on Saturday. You can purchase some of her photos in her etsy shop.
October 9, 2008
Fall is a great time to visit Michigan’s wine country. Check out this slideshow of recent photos from vineyards in the Absolute Michigan group and learn much more about Michigan’s wineries and wine trails from Michigan Wines.
- Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail (home to Fenn Valley and others)
- Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail
- Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula
- Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail
September 6, 2008
MichMarkers.com has the text from the historical marker at Linden Mills in the village Linden (also a map).
The Linden Mills were a vital source of this village’s economic growth. The first mill, located on land granted to Consider Warner, was used to cut lumber. From 1845-1850 Seth Sadler and Samuel W. Warren, local residents, erected both a saw and grist mill. Operating along with the earlier facility, this complex was called the Linden Mills. The grist mill continued to function for over a century until the machinery was dismantled and sold at auction in 1956. The village then purchased the building for municipal offices and a public Library.
Today the mill is the site of the Linden Mills Historical Museum.
August 22, 2008
August 6, 2008
Stacy says that she took this photo on a boat tour of the Saginaw River and that access is very limited. It’s one of a number of photos in her Michigan Lighthouses set. She has also placed it on a map.
Terry Pepper’s page on the Saginaw River Rear Range Light brings the usual 110% of awesome with historical photos and a complete history of the lighthouse that explains (in part):
Eleventh District Engineer Major Godfrey Weitzel’s design for the combined rear range tower and dwelling was unique. Consisting of a large elevated concrete base supporting a combined brick dwelling and tower, the swampy ground in the chosen site first required the driving of timber piles deep into the ground to provide a solid foundation on which timber forms for the concrete base could be erected and filled. Atop this concrete foundation, a square two-story Cream City brick keeper’s dwelling 26′ 6″ in plan was constructed. Integrated into the northwest corner of the dwelling, a tapered 53′ tall square tower with double walls housed a set of prefabricated cast iron spiral stairs. Winding from the cellar to the lantern, these stairs also serving as the only means of access to the first and second floors by way of landings on each floor, each outfitted with tightly fitting arch-topped iron doors designed to stem the spread of fire between floors. A timber deck supported by timber columns encircled the dwelling at the first floor level, providing easy and dry access to all sides of the structure. The living quarters consisted of a kitchen, parlor and oil storage room on the first floor, and three bedrooms above. The tower was capped with a square iron gallery, supported by five cast iron corbels on each of its four sides. An octagonal cast iron lantern was installed at its center, with a fixed white Fourth Order Fresnel lens placed at a focal plane of 61 feet.
June 10, 2008
The “fish hawk” (length of 22-25 inches, wingspan of 4.5-6 feet) is brown above and white below, and flies with a distinct bend in its wing at the “wrist.” Their feet are equipped with spiny scales and long talons that give them a firm grip on slippery fish, their only prey. Ospreys usually select tall trees in marshes along streams, lakes or man made floodings. They will adapt to artificial nesting platforms. This help from humans, along with the restriction of certain harmful pesticides, has helped ospreys recover from the drastic population reductions seen in the 1950s and ’60s…
The Department of Natural Resources requests help from wildlife observers to report any sightings of osprey in southern Michigan, particularly in the Maple River area (north of St. Johns,) and in southeast Michigan (Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Livingston counties.)
Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan (OWSEM) is a non-profit volunteer organization based at Kensington Metropark. Their goal are to help the Michigan DNR in their efforts to restore the osprey to Southern Michigan and to educate the public about this very special raptor. On their very extensive web site they have a cool osprey sighting map, lots of reports and photos and there’s even information about osprey hacking.
You can learn more about the osprey from Wikipedia’s osprey entry and the get photos, calls and other info from
Pandion haliaetus (osprey) at the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web
May 31, 2008
Mark says that the irises in his yard are looking great this year.
If you’re in the Royal Oak area today, the Iris Club of Southeast Michigan is holding an AIS sanctioned iris show. Viewing is from noon to 4 PM, and I assume all the good looking irises will be there.