Barton Dam, in ice and history


Barton Dam 1/21/12, photo by pcaines

ArborWiki’s entry for Barton Dam says that:

Barton Dam is one of Ann Arbor’s four dams on the Huron River. It was designed by engineer Gardner Stewart Williams and architect Emil Lorch and built in 1912-13 as part of the development of hydroelectric power on the Huron River by the predecessor of Detroit Edison. The earthen-construction dam is 34 feet high and 1767 feet long, and has a typical surface area of 315 acres and typical storage of 5050 acre-feet. The dam can be accessed from Huron River Drive from the city park located at the foot of Bird Road.

The City of Ann Arbor purchased the dam from Detroit Edison in the 1960s, and restarted hydroelectric generation in the 1980s. The facility has a 900-kilowatt turbine that generates 4.2 million kWh per year.

In case you’re wondering, Emil Lorch (1870-1963) was the first University of Michigan Dean of Architecture and – as this page from the Bentley Historical Library explains, Gardner Stewart Williams was the engineer who worked with the Detroit Edison Company to identify sites for dams to generate power on the Huron in the early 1900s. There’s also a Flickr group for Barton Dam where you can see a lot more photos!

Be sure to check this photo out bigger and see more in cpcaines Ann Arbor slideshow.

Lake Michigan was first

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan, photo by GLASman1.

This coming Thursday (January 26) is Michigan’s 175th Birthday (#mich175 on twitter). We’re making a big fuss of it with a 175th Birthday Bash on Absolute Michigan, and this morning I inadvertently stumbled on a piece of Michigan’s heritage that I guess I never really thought about.

Wikipedia’s Lake Michigan entry begins:

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the US and Canada. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron (and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia).

Hydrologically, the lake is a large bay of Lake Michigan-Huron, having the same surface elevation as Lake Huron (among other shared properties). It is bounded, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The word “Michigan” originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwa word mishigami meaning “great water”.

It makes complete sense to me that the Lake was first. However, since I’m pretty much never able to leave ambiguities un-investigated, I dug up a discussion thread about the origin of “Michigan” from the Ojibwe Language Society Miinawaa. One member listed a few variants:

mishigami = large lake
mishigamaa = large lake
mishi’igan = large lake
mishigaam = large shoreline

and then another member wrote

my understanding of the word ‘Michigan’–which may be different from others’–is that it comes from ‘michi-zaaga’igan’, which means ‘only/just/nothing else but a lake’ [michi ‘only, just, that’s all there is’ + zaaga’igan ‘lake’].

If you think about Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and how you might perceive them before aerial capability or maps, wouldn’t they seem like one big lake to someone questing to walk or paddle the shoreline of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula? The “only lake”? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Check this out bigger and in Mark’s Point Betsie Lighthouse slideshow.

More Lake Michigan on Michigan in Pictures.

Frozen Rescue: Coast Guard Training in Marquette


01192012_emergency_9854_autolvl_crop, photo by CreateWithKim

Kim says that yesterday she braved -19 degree windchills in Marquette to take photos and came across the Coast Guard practicing rescues. This photo shows five rescuers heading out to rescue two drowning victims. See some more photos of the Great Lakes’ most vital branch of the armed forces in action on the Marquette Coast Guard Facebook page.

Check it out bigger or see this and a couple more photos from the training in Kim’s slideshow.

View another photo and read more about the Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock on Michigan in Pictures. Have fun this weekend and stay safe!

Tahquamenon Falls in Winter

Tahquamenon Falls in Winter, photo by Karen Lancour

You know that we love, love, love Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures. If you haven’t made the trek in wintertime, definitely do – it’s amazing!

Karen shared this photo on the Michigan in Pictures page on Facebook. See it bigger on Facebook and click here to see more of the photos folks have shared with us!

This is a picture of the future.

This is a picture of the future.

This is a picture of the future., photo by farlane.

Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this Michigan in Pictures — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed.

Today is the only day (except for Sundays) in six years that Michigan in Pictures hasn’t posted a photo. Please watch the video below to see why I’ve chosen to join this protest and how this legislation will affect internet freedom. Then PLEASE scroll down to take action.

The video discusses the Senate version of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate the bill is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA has gotten more attention than PIPA because it was moving faster in the legislative process. But PIPA is just as dangerous, and now it is moving faster.

PIPA would give the government new powers to block Americans’ access websites that corporations don’t like. The bill lets corporations and the US government censor entire websites and cut sites off from advertising, payments and donations.

This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook and yes, blogs like Michigan in Pictures.

Ice Islands, Ice Beasts

Ice Islands

Ice Islands, photo by Silver Cat Photography.

Here’s a crazy shot from last year on Lake Huron near Oscoda in the Ice Beast group that I created. Winter has finally arrived in force and our Great Lakes have once again become home to the fearsome and beautiful Ice Beasts. If you have captured these rare creatures, please share your photos in the group!

Click here to see it bigger and see more in Sliver Cat Photography’s winter slideshow.


Happy Martin Luther King Day


JELLY BEAN HOUSE-MLK, photo by marsha*morningstar.

I have a dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.

~Martin Luther King, June 23, 1963 Detroit, Michigan

Martin Luther King delivered the above lines first in the massive Great March on Detroit in 1963 – click that link for the full speech and more on MLK.

See this photo bigger and see more in Marsha’s Heidelberg Project Detroit 2009 slideshow.