Port Crescent in Michigan’s Thumb

The Port Crescent Smokestack

The Port Crescent Smokestack, photo by Joel Dinda

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is ThumbWind, a blog about (you guessed it) Michigan’s Thumb. In A Ghost Town in the Thumb they tell the story of the town of Port Crescent that was within what is now Port Crescent State Park:

Walter Hume established a trading post and hotel near the mouth of the Pinnebog River in 1844. From these humble beginnings the area took the name of Pinnebog, taking its name from the river of which it was located. However, a post office established some five miles upstream also took its name from the river. To avoid confusion the town changed its name to Port Crescent for the crescent-shaped harbor along which it was built.

Port Crescent had two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a cooperage whichPort Cresent manufactured barrels for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory, a brewery, several stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a depot and telegraph office, and a roller rink. Pinnebog employed hundreds of area residents. Others worked at blockhouses where they extracted brine from evaporated water to produce salt. At one time a this 17 block village boasted of a population of more than 500.

Read on for more and click for more about Port Crescent State Park.

View Joel’s photo background big and see more in his Port Crescent Vacation slideshow.

Five Things you need to know about Michigan: March Meltdown Edition


Grove, photo by Liz Glass

On my Absolute Michigan website, I have a favorite feature called Five Things you need to know about Michigan.  

1Please go out and vote in the Michigan primaries today. I am going to vote for Bernie Sanders because I feel that in Michigan and elsewhere working folks, retirees, students, and many more who have ended up on the short end of a globalizing, transforming world are hurting. It seems to me that many of those we have elected to represent us have forgotten that government can be a powerful force for the betterment of society and that when profits come at the expense of others, we all suffer. Please vote for whoever you want to, and I’d love it if you took some time today to remember that you are a part of your government.

2Wow. I had the chance to drive across Michigan yesterday, windows down, basking in near 60 degree temperatures and knowing that spring is on the way. Here’s hoping that the mercury stays moderate and our farmers, orchardists & vintners have a great growing season.


3Liz Glass took today’s photo. You can visit her at the Lake Street Market in Boyne City.  She shared today’s photo back in 2012 in the Absolute Michigan pool (where I get most of the photos for Michigan in Pictures). Liz wrote:

I’ve been saving some ice shots to sprinkle in during the warmer months. This is from March 15, when the ice on Lake Charlevoix had melted into a pack of splinters that could then be pushed into piles by the moving water. The color here is real. The low sun is bouncing the golden brown of the sandy lake bottom up through the ice mound, and the looser shards on top are picking up the shimmering silvers and blues of the water and sky.

View her photo bigger and see more in her crazy-awesome Ice slideshow.

4If you have a problem with me being myself, please consider not telling me to “stick to the photos” and instead follow another blog/person/path that doesn’t bother you. I love Michigan, I love Michigan in Pictures, but I am an actual person who believes as I believe and does what I do. I will continue to do this, and telling me not to will just upset us both.

5Congratulations! By making it to here, you can send me an idea for something about Michigan to feature. I can’t promise that I will be able to, but I can promise you that I will try and reply in any case. Just email me or post a comment below.

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A fond farewell to Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney and the importance of local news

Tamar Charney On the Mic

On the mic, everyone pitches in, photo by Michigan Radio

“I’ve heard many people dismiss local news as parochial ‘not in my backyard’ disputes or worse, merely coverage of the latest house fires. But there are many local stories that should, and do, become national and even international news when they are told right.
~Tamar Charney, Michigan Radio

I’ve been telling the stories of Michigan for over a decade, and one person who’s always been there digging deeper on the stories of our state that matter is Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney. No longer, as she announced that she’s moving on to work for NPR One. Her column A farewell reflection on Flint, local news, and Michigan Radio tells why she believes that local news still matters:

…The water crisis in Flint is an example.

Michigan Radio reporters have been toiling away on this story for months. It’s taken a while for it to get traction as revelation after damning revelation came out. But eventually this ‘local’ Flint story has become international news. The problems with the drinking water have roots in racism, poverty, failures of government oversight, and our country’s aging infrastructure. These are problems shared by communities all across the nation. It’s an incident that taps into our fears about the safety of our water and of our children. It calls into question whether we can trust our government.

We look down our noses at developing countries with unsafe water. We scoff at places weighed down by corrupt and incompetent governments. We pride ourselves on our American technological know how. But here is a city, right here in the US of A, where you can’t drink the water, where government failed the people, and the technical knowledge about how to keep lead out of the water wasn’t employed.

Telling this kind of story is what Michigan Radio does. It is what local news can and should be.

There’s all kinds of cynicism about journalists. But I have to tell you, the journalists at Michigan Radio are some of the most idealistic kind hearted people I know. They got in the business because they think the world will be a better place and our democracy will work better when citizens have information. These are people committed to finding out the truth and getting answers. It saddens me that society undervalues the work journalists do and even worse, blames them for causing the problems they cover.

The Flint water problems were being swept under the rug and nothing might have been done if it weren’t for a mom, a researcher, a pediatrician, and yes, reporters. It’s a story I’m proud to say Michigan Radio has been at the forefront of telling.

In this era of vanishing local journalism, it’s good to have people like Tamar and outlets like Michigan Radio still working hard. I urge you to consider a donation to Michigan Radio.

View this photo of Tamar bigger and see more in Michigan Radio’s A Day in the Life of a Pledge Drive slideshow. You can share your photos in the Michigan Radio Photo Group as well!

Celebratory Sunset … and 10,000 Fans for Michigan in Pictures

Celebratory Sunset

Celebratory Sunset, photo by Heather Higham

For the tenth anniversary of Michigan in Pictures last week, I asked for the 200+ fans needed to take the Michigan in Pictures Facebook past the 10,000 fan milestone. With your help, it’s blown way past that mark – thank you all so much for your support!!!

View Heather’s photo from Empire Beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore bigger, see more in her Winter slideshow, and definitely follow her at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook for much more.

More Michigan in Pictures milestones in the archives.

Ten Years of Michigan in Pictures

Ludington Lighthouse by RJE

Ludington Lighthouse, photo by RJE

10 years ago today, I posted “A Pond in Bald Mountain” as the very first photo on Michigan in Pictures. 3000+ posts later, I’m still at it. RJE has been sharing photos with me for almost all of those 10 years – thanks to him and everyone else who helps make Michigan in Pictures something that is fun and exciting for me and to all of you for staying with me for so long!

View the photo from November of 2005 background big and see more of RJE’s lighthouse shots on Flickr.


October Vibes in le détroit du Lac Érie

October Vibes by Camera Jesus

October Vibes, photo by Camera Jesus

Simply spectacular view of the city of Detroit.

The name of Detroit comes from “le détroit du Lac Érie” – French for the Straits of Lake Erie and referring to the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair that link Erie with Lake Huron. Wikipedia has a pretty nice writeup on the Detroit River:

The Detroit River flows for 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi) from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. By definition, this classifies it as both a river and a strait — a strait being a narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water, which is how the river earned its name from early French settlers. However, today, the Detroit River is rarely referred to as a strait, because bodies of water referred to as straits are typically much wider.

The Detroit River is only 0.5 to 2.5 miles (0.80 to 4.02 km) wide. The Detroit River starts on an east to west flow but then bends and runs north to south. The deepest portion of the Detroit River is 53 feet (16 m) deep in the northern portion of the river. At its source, the river is at an elevation of 574 feet (175 m) above sea level. The river drops only three feet before entering into Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m). As the river contains no dams and no locks, it is easily navigable by even the smallest of vessels. The watershed basin for the Detroit River is approximately 700 square miles (1,800 km2).

Since the river is fairly short, it has few tributaries. Its largest tributary is the River Rouge in Michigan, which is actually four times longer than the Detroit River and contains most of the basin. The only other major American tributary to the Detroit River is the much smaller Ecorse River. Tributaries on the Canadian side include Little Creek and the River Canard. The discharge for the Detroit River is relatively high for a river of its size. The river’s average discharge is approximately 188,000 cubic feet per second (5,324 m³/s), and the river’s flow is constant.

Check out Detroit 1701 for a bit of the river’s history and also be sure to support the Friends of the Detroit River who are doing great work to restore this corridor.

View the photo background bigiliciousfollow Camera Jesus on Facebook for lots more and view & purchase Joe’s Detroit photos (and others) from his website.

More Michigan rivers on Michigan in Pictures!

Autumn’s Chapel

Chapel Rock in Fall

chapel rock, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Here’s a cool picture from way back in 2006 of what I think is definitely one of the 7 wonders of Michigan: Chapel Rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Lucky Tree of Chapel Rock features quite a number of photos that I think can give you a pretty good understanding of this marvelous Michigan miracle.

Chapel Rock on Lake Superior has a single tree perched atop its column. By rights the tree should not be there: the small surface area of land on the top of the rock is insufficient to sustain a tree of this size.

There is hardly any topsoil, certainly not enough for an obviously thriving tree. How then does it flourish?

Look a little closer and you will see the answer – that rope on the right of the picture is not, in fact a rope. It is a system of roots, extending and stretching over the edge of the rock to the main bluff where there are nutrients and water aplenty.

Yet how on earth did the root extend over to the mainland? Did it slither in some triffid like way until it reached the other side? Is there a Little Shop of Horrors thing happening here?

Click through for the answer and some pics that make things clearer – including to my surprise one of my own! – from Kuriositas which looks like a pretty cool site.

View Paul’s photo bigger and see this and more in his slideshow.

More Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures? You bet!