The Smitty and Detroit’s University Club

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the.smitty // Detroit, MI, photo by Brian Day

Historic Detroit says that the University Club:

…was a fraternal organization where the city’s educated men could go to hang out and network.

The organization was founded in 1899 in Swan’s Chop House at the northwest corner of Woodward and Larned. To be a member, you had to have graduated from a university or college. George P. Codd, a congressman and mayor, was the group’s first president. The group would move several times before it would move into this structure on East Jefferson in 1931. It was designed by William Kapp of the architectural firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls in the Collegiate Gothic style. Among its features were underground 4 Singles and 1 Doubles Squash Courts, and 1 Racquets Court, and a grand two-story great hall. There were also 24 bedrooms on the third floor. This building was for only the boys, and women were forced to use a side entrance on Jefferson.

…At 4:30 a.m. on June 15, 2013, a massive fire ripped through the club’s dining hall and destroyed other parts of the building. “It took fire crews nearly six hours to completely extinguish the blaze, which continued to flare up into the evening,” DetroitUrbex.com notes.

Click the pic to view it bigger and see more of Brian’s work at BrianDay.org.

Back into the Woods Day, 2016

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The Runner, photo by Scott Laidlaw

December 1st is one of my personal holidays, Back into the Woods Day, which of course is the day after deer hunting season ends when it’s once again safe to wander Michigan’s woods & trails.

View Scott’s photo background big and see more in his Explored! slideshow.

Black (duck) Friday

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Duck Silhouette, photo by diane charvat

This is a shout-out to everyone who’s struggling with being alone or simply for the bare necessities of life, and to those who are helping to ease their burden. I was so heartened by stories of friends serving meals, inviting lonely friends, and in general reaching out over the Thanksgiving holiday.

We’re all a family. Every one of us, every day.

View Diane’s photo bigger and see more in her Birds slideshow.

The Gales of November

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When the winds of November come early, photo by Curt Saunier

Never will I ever not share this incredible Edmund Fitzgerald video by Joseph Fulton on November 10th. Simply wonderful:

View Curt’s photo bigger and see more in his The Skies slideshow.

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High Noon: 1909: Marquette Main Street via Shorpy

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Marquette Front Street c 1909, photo by Lycurgus S. Glover (Detroit Publishing Co)

The Shorpy Photo Archive is a magical website that has been around for years, dishing up incredible and well presented public domain photos from around the country. Many, like this one of Main Street in Marquette from 1909, are from Michigan. In addition to a link to purchase a print of the photo, all include a giant view of the image and a discussion board that uncovers many of the details that become apparent when you look at the picture closely such as this odd detail in the lower right:

“Why is there a wooden platform behind him leading to a blank wall?”

The wooden platform is actually a bridge over a set of railroad tracks that lead out to cranes for unloading coal in the Marquette Harbor. The wall is for safety as it was a 16′ drop down to the tracks. See attached links for different view of Front Street and the City of Marquette around that time. You can see the same wood bridge in one and the cranes in the other. Also you can see the ore docks that gravity load iron ore into ore boats to take the iron ore to Pittsburgh. Iron mining was and still is a big business in Marquette County. The photo in question was taken standing on the a steel bridge leading to the old ore dock that can be seen in the attached photos.

Click through to check the photo out background bigtacular. As one commenter notes, “It’s noon by the building clock, and the locals are mobbing the ice cream parlor.”

Quiet Night at Frankfort Lighthouse

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Quiet Night at Frankfort Lighthouse, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

I was going to talk this morning about how I will continue to talk about what I want to talk about on Michigan in Pictures, but then I saw this awesome photo by Heather. I’m sure you get the idea.

On her Snap Happy Gal blog where you can view & purchase some great lighthouse photos, Heather writes:

I think of myself as a serendipitous shooter: I go out to scenes in all kinds of light – the good, the bad, even the ugly – and I take photos. Sometimes I walk away with artwork worth sharing, and sometimes I just walk away with happy memories. I don’t often stalk a scene for the best light, I don’t think of myself as having a favorite thing to photograph, and I don’t find that I’m predictable (even I don’t know when or where I’ll be heading out to shoot until I get the itch). But, lately, if you wanted to catch me out and about, you’d look at northern Michigan’s west coast lighthouses.

I’ve visited every one of them from Manistee up to Northport (though I didn’t take the camera out), and I’ve been there from sunrise to sunset, and well into the night.

Last Wednesday, I checked the weather and saw something I hadn’t seen in what felt like eons: the possibility for clear night skies. I packed my gear, my cold weather clothes, and food and water, and headed for the coast. I missed the best light in an incredible sunset, but caught the afterglow and the first light of the moon on the lakeshore just south of Empire. While the skies were still cloudy, I headed south into Frankfort to see how the ice was shaping up along the beach. By this time, the winds had died down almost entirely. The water inside the breakwall was very still, the forming ice chattered, and tiny waves sloshed against the icebergs beached on the sand.

Read on for the rest, view & comment on her picture on Facebook, and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal for great pics of lighthouses and much more.

More about the Frankfort North Breakwater Light on Michigan in Pictures.

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

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Something in the Air, photo by Brian Wolfe

Another day, another mass shooting – this time in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Beyond right and left, can we all agree that we need to figure out why we’re the only nation in the world who has this tragic problem and work on actually addressing this problem?

I’m guessing bolstering our gutted mental health system is a great place to start.

View Brian’s photo from Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park background big and see more in his Black & White slideshow.