Michigan author James Oliver Curwood and the Curwood Festival
June 5, 2012
This weekend (June 7-10) Owosso holds their annual Curwood Festival honoring Michigan author James Oliver Curwood. The Shiawasse District Library says that James Oliver Curwood was born in Owosso, Michigan on June 12, 1878. He was in the University of Michigan journalism program for 2 years before quitting to become a reporter for the Detroit News-Tribune. Wikipedia’s entry on James Oliver Curwood says that:
By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books.
By 1922, Curwood’s writings had made him a very wealthy man and he fulfilled a childhood fantasy by building Curwood Castle in Owosso. Constructed in the style of an 18th century French chateau, the estate overlooked the Shiawassee River. In one of the homes’ two large turrets, Curwood set up his writing studio. He also owned a camp in a remote area in Baraga County, Michigan, near the Huron Mountains as well as a cabin in Roscommon, Michigan.
Curwood was an avid hunter in his youth; however, as he grew older, he became an advocate of environmentalism and was appointed to the Michigan Conservation Commission in 1926. The change in his attitude toward wildlife can be best expressed by a quote from The Grizzly King: “The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live.”