July 23, 2012
Peaches (like everything else) are ripening earlier this year and South Haven peaches are starting to show up at farm markets across the state. This nice Michigan Peach Industry History article from the Michigan Peach Sponsors begins:
The first peach tree in western Michigan was probably planted by William Burnett, who established a trading post on the west bank of the St. Joseph River a mile upstream from Lake Michigan in the 1780s. Burnett planted an orchard near his post and was credited with having taken great pains in caring for it. When the first permanent settlers reached the area in the late 1820s they found Burnett’s orchard healthy and still bearing fruit. Besides a few peach trees, the settlers also found a few seedling peach trees growing along the east bank of Hickory Creek and at the future site of the community of St. Joseph.
The next peach trees planted in Berrien County were at the Carey Mission in present-day Niles Township. In 1826 the Reverend Isaac McCoy, founder of the mission, had a peach orchard of “two or three hundred” trees.
Berrien’s earliest permanent settlers brought seedling fruit trees with them and planted enough trees to provide for their personal needs. Because trees took a long time to mature, some of the more resourceful pioneers budded their fruits on the roots of wild plum trees to acquire crops more quickly. Most early settlers planted apple and pear trees that were hardy and relatively disease resistant. They also planted a considerable number of the more delicate peach trees. Nearly every pioneer family had at least one. The growing of peaches was slow to catch on, but when settlers realized the region was suited for successful cultivation of the climate-sensitive fruit, peaches quickly gained popularity.
Read on for more and also see Ready to Pick: Peaches on Absolute Michigan.
More great Michigan foods on Michigan in Pictures!
May 2, 2011
The annual National Cherry Festival got its start around 1910, as cherry growers in the Grand Traverse area began to hold informal “blessing of the blossoms” ceremonies each year at blossom time in May. Businesses jumped on the bandwagon (cherry truck?) in 1925 for the formalized “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” which was such a big deal that in 1930 they expanded to 3 days and in 1930 President Herbert Hoover attended the opening. The next year the Cherry Festival was declared a national affair and in 1933 they moved it to summer.
Although it’s now a summertime affair (July 2-9, 2011), the wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula hold an annual Blossom Days celebration (May 14 & 15 this year). My informal read of the cherry blossoms here says that tart cherry blossoms will be in full swing with sweets kicking off.
Apparently in 1906 there was some sort of spiritual attraction of orchards, because to the south in Benton Harbor, the Reverend W. J. Cady of the First Congregational Church in Benton Harbor was the first to urge his parishioners to drive through the orchards and view the fruit blossoms. Cady termed them “symbols of life renewed” and his sermon is credited with the birth of the Blossomtime Festival. Now the Blossomtime Festival in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor is shared between the oldest and largest multi-community festival in the state of Michigan. Join them this Saturday (May 7) for the Grand Floral Parade and more!
April 5, 2011
Through Absolute Michigan we found out about a cool discovery off South Haven by Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates in collaboration with nationally acclaimed author Clive Cussler and his sonar operator Ralph Wilbanks of the National Underwater & Marine Agency (NUMA).
MSRA’s historians have verified that the vessel’s construction and design is consistent with ships built in the 1820s and 1830s, making it perhaps one of the oldest vessels discovered in the southern basin of Lake Michigan. The vessel sits upright and is in surprisingly good condition considering it was built nearly 200 years ago. Exact identification will be difficult as these small, early sloops were rarely documented and most had wrecked or been scrapped before photography became available. MSRA will continue to research and explore the wreck during the 2011 season.
Underwater video of this new discovery will be shown at the annual “Mysteries and Histories Beneath the Inland Seas” evening event on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Holland’s historic Knickerbocker Theatre.
We have all the details (including a video and sonar showing the ship) on Absolute Michigan and you can learn about and register for the conference at the MSRA web site!
October 28, 2008
Michael notes that even 100 years of Lake Michigan waves can’t put out the South Haven Light. He has several more in his South Haven Oct 26 2008 set (slideshow) – all uploaded “background big”. You might also want to check out the South Haven Light slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool.
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light relates the history (with photos) of the South Haven Pier Lighthouse. He writes that a Fifth Order Fresnel lens from Parisian glass makers Barbier and Fenestre was installed in the lantern in 1902:
While the light was new, the old wooden beacon had withstood thirty years of Lake Michigan’s worst, and as a result of increasing deterioration, Eleventh District engineer James G. Warren laid-out plans to replace the venerable structure with a new cylindrical metal tower.
Contracts for the metalwork and required materials were awarded and delivered to the lighthouse depot in St. Joseph. On October 6, 1903, the tender Hyacinth delivered the prefabricated steel tower and a work crew on the pier, and erection of the new structure continued through the remainder of the month. The thirty-five foot structure was given a gleaming coat of white paint, and the district lampist carefully removed the Fifth-order lens from the old beacon and installed it in the new octagonal lantern. Captain Donahue proudly climbed the spiral stairs within the new tower to exhibit the South Haven light from atop the new tower for the first time on the evening of November 13.
Light and tower remain an active aid to navigation maintained by the Coast Guard and while you’re in South Haven, be sure to visit the Michigan Maritime Museum.
October 4, 2008
Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, Marquette and Kalamazoo are by no means all of Michigan’s cities (or even the largest). Each, however, seems to be an anchor for its region – a center to which people look to for culture, entertainment and commerce.
October 13-15, 2008, lovers of cities large & small from Michigan and all over the country will head to Detroit for the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 (CCS2), an exploration of what our cities could become and how we can work to make them. Organizers have chosen Detroit, a city so deeply forged in America’s industrial fires that it’s been devastated by the flickering of that flame. I’m headed down there and will try to bring some of the ideas back to you through Absolute Michigan – I hope that some of you can join me there.
The Photos (left to right)
- Downtown View – Lansing, Michigan by Mario.Q
- Motor Within a City by SNWEB.ORG Photography, LLC.
- Partly Cloudy by GR58
- Old Flint (HDR) by Hemicuda82
- Traverse City, Michigan by farlane
- View from Mt. Marquette by fastbird232
- The Kalamazoo Radisson by bill.d
Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit on Oct. 13-15, 2008
CCS2 will present a dynamic and engaging conversation about how communities around the world are integrating innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts & culture and business to create vibrant economies. Full conference registration is $300 for the two and half day event, and there’s also a “no frills” registration that is only $100. There’s also a free “Unconference” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) on the 12th for designers, urban planners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students, community leaders to explore and discuss what’s possible for Detroit.
Keynote speakers include:
- Bill Strickland, MCG-Bidwell Corp.
- Richard Florida, Author Who’s Your City
- Charles Landry, Author The Art of City Making
- John Howkins, Author The Creative Economy
- Dean Kamen, Inventor, DEKA
- Majora Carter, Sustainable South Bronx
- Doug Farr, Architect and Author Sustainable Urbanism
- Ben Hecht, Pres. & CEO Living Cities
- Tom Wujec, Fellow, Autodesk
- Carol Coletta, CEOs for Cities
- Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate, City of Toronto and Author, The Municipal Mind
- Diana Lind, Editor, Next American City magazine
Breakout sessions on topics such as:
- Race and the Creative City
- Cities, Universities & Talent
- Marketing, Media and the Creative City
- Measuring New Things – ROI in the Creative Economy
- Creative (Small) Cities
- New Ideas in Urban Amenities
- Community Vitality: The Role of Artists, Gays, Lesbians & Immigrants
- Midwest Mega-region: How the Midwest Can Compete
- Transportation Innovation for Cities
- Making the Scene: Music & Economic Development
Much (much) more at creativecitiessummit.com.
August 15, 2008
Doug has a great shot of a sport I’ve been itching to try. Wikipedia’s Stand Up Paddle Surfing entry says:
Stand Up Paddle, (SUP), is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. It can be traced back to the early days of Polynesia. The sport is ancient form of surfing and began as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of learner surfers as standing on the board gave them a higher view point increasing visibility of what was going on around them such as incoming swell….
Today SUP, or Stand-Up-Paddle, is gaining popularity as the demands for global-conscious green sports increase. Additionally the sport benefits athletes with a strong ‘core’ workout. SUP’ing is popular at warm coastal climates and resorts, and is gaining in popularity as celebrities are sampling the sport and cross-over athletes are training with SUP. SUPs have been spotted around the globe anywhere there is easy access to safe waters as well as in the surfing lineups of the world.
Doug writes that the Michigan Maritime Museum’s historical replica of the famous sailing sloop Friends Good Will sails daily from the South Haven harbor. Follow that link for the tale of the original Friends Good Will and the building of this replica. (also check out Doug’s daytime photo of the sloop)
The Wikipedia entry for South Haven has all your facts and demographics and says that most of the city is in Van Buren County, with a the very north portion in Allegan County. Probably the best resource for South Haven history is the city of South Haven’s history page. It notes that the city was originally founded by J.R. Monroe, who was granted a land patent from the U. S. government in 1833 for 65 acres of land along Lake Michigan’s shore. The city didn’t get going until the 1850s when sawmills at the mouth of the Black River were established and fed the growth of the town (and the timber-hungry city of Chicago). South Haven’s “glory days” were probably when:
The resort business had its beginning in the mid-1800′s at the home of Mrs. H. M. Avery. It was to experience phenomenal growth and became South Haven’s most colorful era. By the turn of the century, thousands of visitors were arriving by steamer and train to enjoy a memorable vacation. Lodging was available in magnificent hotels, farm resorts, family homes, or picturesque little cottages along the river. Entertainment was unlimited. Choices included pavilions, several theaters, a casino, an opera house, an amusement park with a roller coaster, and much more.
Tourism remains the main business of South Haven and the South Haven Visitors Bureau and Great South Haven Chamber of Commerce can help you plan a visit. You can look in on the town with the South Haven web cam, view the Flickr photo map for South Haven and the Google map for South Haven.
Coincidentally, yesterday’s post was from South Haven too. View more South Haven area photos on Michigan in Pictures and also explore South Haven on Absolute Michigan.
June 22, 2007
Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition is looking for stories (500 words or less) and photos about people and the lakes that fill folks with laughter, sadness, nostalgia, or wonder, and maybe even inspire us to think about the Great Lakes in a new way.
The story categories are Fishing, Camping and General and there’s also a photo category. In addition to grand prizes with two outdoor adventure packages (kayak, tent and sleeping bag and two photography packages including a digital camera) there will be monthly prizes (backpacks, fishing gear, digital cameras) for children, high school student and adult age groups.
The contest runs through August 20, and you can get all the details and view some of the submissions at healthylakes.org.
June 15, 2007
It might be cheating to go to the well twice, but it’s hard to find a way to convey the awesome scope of Michigan’s shoreline dunes without getting above them (and moving along them). Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of his video on YouTube of the flight.
The official page on Van Buren State Park (which makes the park look like it recently escaped from prison) says:
Van Buren State Park offers approximately 400 acres of land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Van Buren County. The focal points of the park are its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. Van Buren became a state park in May of 1965 when the original 167-acre plot was purchased from the Harry LaBar Drake family. Since then two other land purchases have been made to make up the current park.
The Wikipedia entry for Van Buren State Park needs some help as well. Anyone have some knowledge about the park and a little time?
The park has camping on over 200 sites, hiking on miles of trails and great sandy beaches. Here’s a Flickr photo map and also the Google Map for Van Buren State Park (looks like they caught a boat on the satellite flyover!)