It’s hard to leave fall behind…
Two interesting auto-related tidbits came across my desk in the last couple of days.
The first is from Deadline Detroit, and shows an excerpt from a 1917 newsreel with a Detroit Police Department driver-safety campaign trying to persuade drivers to slow down.
Fast forward to today and beyond with Michigan Senate approval of self-driving vehicle testing on Michigan roads. The Detroit News reports that (pending House approval):
Under the Michigan rules, a driver would be required to be in the driver’s seat at all times during testing to take over in the case of emergency. Manufacturers and suppliers would use an “M” license plate for automated vehicle testing. “Upfitters” of automated vehicles, such as Google, would be permitted to test vehicles along with manufacturers.
The action comes as the U.S. Congress is set to hold a hearing Tuesday on autonomous vehicles amid growing interest among automakers. They will hear from General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. executives along with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
…The University of Michigan says that by 2021, Ann Arbor could become the first U.S. city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles. That’s the goal of the Mobility Transformation Center, a cross-campus U-M initiative that also involves government and industry representatives. Ann Arbor has been home to a 15-month-long ongoing study of 3,000 vehicles that are linked to one another in a test of technology to see if connected cars can help each other avoid crashes.
More automotive features on Michigan in Pictures.
I can’t get enough of the great shots of snowmelt-fueled U.P. rivers. Go Waterfalling’s page on Sturgeon Falls says:
Sturgeon Falls is located in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness in Ottawa National Forest. The Sturgeon River has carved out a deep, forested gorge, that is 300 feet deep in some places. The falls are located deep in the gorge. The drop is only 30 feet, but the river is very powerful. Above the falls the river is well over 100 feet wide. It then narrows into a chute only about 30 feet wide before shooting over the falls, spraying mist in all directions.
Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!
This year marks the 250th anniversary of the most dramatic event at Fort Michilimackinac. On June 2, 1763 the fort was captured by Ojibwa & Sauk warriors, who gathered under the guise of playing a huge game of baggatiway. Elizabeth Edwards of Traverse Magazine has an in-depth article about the massacre that begins:
Under an unusually hot sun on a late spring day on the Straits of Mackinac, British Major George Etherington, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, was suffering from an acute case of cultural blindness. And there was no excuse for it. Relaxed at the sidelines of a rousing game of baggatiway (similar to lacrosse) outside the fort, the major should have seen the danger signs in this Ojibwe versus Sauk contest of sweaty, half-naked bodies painted with white clay and charcoal.
The 30-year-old officer was born in the colonies, and most likely grew up on stories of Indian uprisings. He’d even served in the just-ending French and Indian War, in which the English had wrested control of North America from the French—a victory that had put this previously French fort in Etherington’s care. Though the major had been raised on American soil and had fought on it, he was still English. And in that country, a battle was a battle, and a sporting event was a sporting event.
Perhaps that explains why the major missed the clues…
Definitely read on for much more at Traverse! Every Memorial Weekend on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, they re-enact this event and much more of the fort’s history in the annual Fort Michilimackinac Pageant. Next Sunday (June 2) they will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the attack at Michilimackinac at the fort as they open the new South Southwest Rowhouse.
Robert has some more good information about the events at the fort including a link to the painting The Conspiracy – Fort Michilimackinac by Robert Griffing that imagines the planning of the massacre. See his photo background bigtacular and see more in his My Neighborhood slideshow.
More from the Straits of Mackinac & Mackinac Island on Michigan in Pictures.
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB 30) has its 6th birthday tomorrow. MightyMac.org has this to say about the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw:
Commissioned June 10, 2006 Mackinaw (WLBB 30) assumed the “Mackinaw” name and heritage and now stands as the largest United States Coast Guard Cutter on the Great Lakes. WLBB 30 is configured to better handle a variety of roles including buoy maintenance, and handling of environmental spills.
The Mackinaw is powered by 3 Caterpillar 3612 Turbocharged V-12 engines – 3360 KW each. Prolusion comes from 2 ABB azimuthing electric propulsion drives where the propulsion motor is installed inside a submerged azimuthing (unlimited 360 degrees) pod and coupled directly to an extremely short propeller shaft.
Click for more including lots of photos, and definitely don’t miss this sweet panoramic tour of the Mackinaw. You can see the Mackinaw every year at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival (July 27 – August 5, 2012). Her predecessor is now the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City. Michigan in Pictures has more about icebreakers on the Great Lakes and you can also see a video of the Mackinaw at work from Boatnerd on YouTube.
More Michigan ships & boats on Michigan in Pictures.
I thought that Jason’s incredible HDR – plus the fact that he paddled 14 miles to get this shot – was more than reason enough to revisit one of the most storied lights in the Great Lakes, Waugoshance Shoal Lighthouse.
The Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society explains:
This treacherous area of Lake Michigan was the location of the first Lightship, stationed on Waugoshance Shoal in 1832. It was used to help guide the many ships through the area, now known as Wilderness State Park. In 1851, the Lighthouse Board decided to replace the Lightship with Waugoshance Lighthouse.
Waugoshance Lighthouse served until 1912, when it’s services were replaced by White Shoals Lighthouse. In it’s glory the Waugoshance sported red and white horizontal strips on a steel encased tower and stone walls that are five and one half feet thick. Also, it has one of only three remaining “birdcage” lanterns left on the lakes and is considered one of the most endangered lighthouses in the world.
Learn much more – including how the light was used for WW II training – at Waugoshance Shoal Lighthouse at Terry Perrper’s Seeing the Light and another photo of Waugoshance on Michigan in Pictures. Also don’t miss The Joker’s Ghost, a story from this lighthouse on Absolute Michigan.
The Point Betsie Light Station entry at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light says that although the lighthouse on the southern tip of South Manitou Island was in 1840, it wasn’t until 1853 that the decision was made to construct a lighthouse to mark the passage’s eastern side and to let ships know when to turn south.
The plan for the Point Betsey Light called for a cylindrical single-walled tower constructed of Cream City brick, standing 37 feet in height from the foundation to the top of the ventilator ball. Five concentric brick rings encircling the tower beneath the lantern, each successively larger in diameter than the lower ring, formed a support for the gallery on which an decagonal cast iron lantern was installed. The lantern was outfitted with a white Fourth Order Fresnel lens equipped with bulls eyes, which was rotated around the lamp by a clockwork drive at a precisely monitored speed to impart the station’s characteristic fixed white light with a flash every 90 seconds. By virtue of the tower’s location on the dune, the lens was located at a focal plane of 52 feet above lake level with a range of visibility of ten miles. The small two story dwelling, also of Cream City brick was located on an excavated cellar immediately inshore of the tower, to which it was connected by a short covered passageway. This passageway was outfitted with a cast iron door at the tower end in order to stop the spread of any possible fire between the two structures.
The exact date on which the Point Betsey Light was exhibited has been lost to history. While Lighthouse Board annual reports and Light Lists report the station as being completed in 1858, it was not until February 1, 1859 that David Flury, the first keeper to be assigned to the station, appears in District payroll. Thus, it may well be that while construction was completed in 1858, the Light was not activated until the opening of the 1859 navigation season.
Read on to learn much more about this gorgeous lighthouse including the steps they had to take to unsure that the pounding surf you see here didn’t destroy the light.
The Michigan Picture Project had a great photo feature last year on America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (music & animated clown warning), held every year in Detroit that lifts the curtain with a stunning selection of HDR images of the floats in the warehouse. On Parade in Waiting they write:
The Thanksgiving Parade that fills Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit for several hours every year is actually an ongoing work in progress that has delighted spectators for decades. Detroit’s first Thanksgiving Parade in 1924 featured 10 floats inspired by nursery rhymes, including Mother Goose and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, along with several marching bands. As the parade grew into a major event, new floats and characters joined those original figures, and all of these parade creations emerge from storage in huge warehouses to march again down Woodward Avenue.
Floats added in recent years celebrate Downtown Detroit, the Automobile Industry, and American Freedom. Many skilled hands collaborate to create each new float and every giant head that entertains the thousands of parade-watchers who line the route. During the weeks leading up to the parade, the floats and figures come out from warehouse storage, to be polished up in preparation for the big day. Photographer Eric Smith used a digital technique to convey the storybook magic of the parade characters as they wait to come to life.
Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade was produced by the J. L. Hudson Company from the parade’s beginning in 1924 until 30 years ago. The store’s Display Department created and cared for the floats and giant heads. In 1979, Hudson’s passed parade sponsorship and control to Detroit Renaissance, and in 1983 that responsibility went to the Michigan Parade Foundation. Since 1990, The Parade Company has managed the parade with enthusiastic help from thousands of volunteers and support from dozens of Detroit businesses and civic groups.