Michpics Rewind: Whitefish & Cranes edition

Over the Moon by Todd Bielby

Over the Moon by Todd Bielby

Here’s one of my favorite Native stories that I originally shared in back in 2013…

The 1896 book Myths and Legends of our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner relates a rather gruesome version of the tale of the origin of Whitefish:

An Indian who lived far in the north was so devoted to the chase that he was never at home for the whole of a day, to the sorrow of his two boys, who liked nothing so much as to sport with him and to be allowed to practise with his weapons. Their mother told them that on no account were they to speak to him of the young man who visited the lodge while their father was away, and it was not until they were well grown and knew what the duty of wives should be that they resolved to disobey her. The hunter struck the woman dead when he learned of her perfidy. So greatly did her spirit trouble them, however, that they could no longer abide in their old home in peace and comfort, and they left the country and journeyed southward until they came to the Sault Sainte Marie.

As they stood beside the falls a head came rolling toward them on the earth—the head of the dead woman. At that moment, too, a crane was seen riding on the surface of the water, whirling about in its strongest eddies, and when one of the boys called to it, “O Grandfather, we are persecuted by a spirit; take us across the falls,” the crane flew to them. “Cling to my back and do not touch my head,” it said to them, and landed them safely on the farther shore.

But now the head screamed, “Come, grandfather, and carry me over, for I have lost my children and am sorely distressed,” and the bird flew to her likewise. “Be careful not to touch my head,” it said. The head promised obedience, but succumbed to curiosity when half-way over and touched the bird’s head to see what was the matter with him. With a lurch the crane flung off his burden and it fell into the rapids. As it swept down, bumping against the rocks, the brains were pounded out and strewn over the water. “You were useless in life,” cried the crane. “You shall not be so in death. Become fish!” And the bits of brain changed to roe that presently hatched to a delicate white fish, the flesh whereof is esteemed by Indians of the lakes, and white men, likewise. The family pitched a lodge near the spot and took the crane as their totem or name-mark. Many of their descendants bear it to this day.

The version I read in one of my all-time favorite books, Lore of the Great Turtle : Indian Legends of Mackinac Retold by Dirk Gringhuis is pretty dark as well.

You can see more from Todd on his Flickr & view & purchase photos on his website.

Read lots more about Sandhill cranes on Michigan in Pictures

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Hartwick Pines donor honored

Hartwick Pines State Park by James Salinas

Hartwick Pines State Park by James Salinas

mLive shares that the woman whose donation created Hartwick Pines State Park has been honored by the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame:

Nearly 100 years ago, a Grayling woman named Karen Hartwick bought and then donated to the state of Michigan an 8,000-acre parcel containing a rare and precious grove of pristine virgin pine trees.

The donation was significant for a woman acting alone at that time, but also considering that Hartwick’s father had made his fortune from the logging boom that had leveled much of Michigan’s ancient forests.

…Hartwick’s vision gave Michigan its beloved Hartwick Pines State Park, and it’s continued to keep that land safe in the century that has followed. As recently as a decade ago, the original “spirit and intent” of Hartwick’s donation was invoked as reason for the state to drop the land from an auction that would have allowed drilling exploration underneath those prized old-growth pines.

Lots more at mLive, visit the Environmental Hall of Fame & learn more about Hartwick Pines on Michigan in Pictures.

James took this photo way back in 2010. You can see more in his Hartwick Pines State Park gallery on Flickr.

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Sand Point Lighthouse

Tip of Sand Point by Mike Sherman

Tip of Sand Point by Mike Sherman

WHOOPS! This is Sand Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior

Head over to Mike’s Flickr and his Facebook page for his latest.

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#TBT Looking Down from Fort Mackinac

Looking Down from Old Fort Mackinac

Looking down from old fort, Mackinac Island, Mich by Detroit Publishing Co

This cool old photo from the Library of Congress shows ships at dock on Mackinac Island, including the black hulled steamer Juniata. Head over to the LOC for a lot more from Mackinac. 

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March 22, 1954: The Birth of the Mall

Northland Shopping Mall Southfield MI by William L Bird

Northland Shopping Mall Southfield MI by William L Bird

The Detroit Historical Society’s Encyclopedia of Detroit tells the story of the Northland Shopping Center in Southfield, potentially the world’s first mall:

Northland Center, located in Southfield, Michigan was the world’s largest shopping center, and first regional shopping center, when it opened on March 22, 1954. For many, its construction heralded the beginning of the end for downtown Detroit’s shopping district, and the beginning of suburban shopping malls.

Designed by architect Victor Gruen and constructed at a cost of $25 million, Northland Center’s opening, widely publicized in the national media, was said to signal the future of shopping in postwar America. The Center had a Hudson’s department store as its anchor with, at time of opening, an additional 80 spaces for tenants, all surrounded by an 8,344-space parking lot. Northland Center also featured a bank, post office, auditoriums, artwork, fountains and extensive landscaping, design features that were soon incorporated by other developers across the country.

The artwork included six sculptures commissioned by Hudson’s, perhaps the most well-known being Marshall Fredericks’ Boy and the Bear. Among other commissioned works were Moby Dick by Joseph Anthony McDonnell, and Lily Saarinen’s water sculpture/fountain, Noah.

In 1975, Northland Center was enclosed as a mall, and a food court was added to the complex in 1991. Despite these additions, Northland suffered a natural decline as it aged. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, major tenants vacated their operations, as did several of the anchor stores. The volume of shoppers dropped from its peak of 18 million annually to half of that. The property had various owners until the last in 2014 who defaulted on his mortgage.

Read on for more. 

William shared this photo from the Hiawatha Postcard Co of Ypsilanti. You can see more in his awesome Northland Shopping Mall gallery on Flickr.

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March 3, 2022: Happy Birthday, Mackinac Parks!

Beautiful Mackinac Island by Mark Swanson

Beautiful Mackinac Island by Mark Swanson

“Mackinac is a place largely visited by people from all parts of our country, and I take it from many foreign lands. A National Park is established on the island and I think the military post should be made not only comfortable but attractive.”
-Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs

It’s a birthday of sorts for Mackinac State Historic Parks which is a treasure trove of our colonial history. The page from Mackinac Parks on Fort Mackinac and the Mackinac National Park explains the birth of the park and how one forward thinking officer may very well have created the model for historical preservation in the park that holds so much of Michigan and the nation’s cultural history:

After Congress created Yellowstone in 1872, Senator Thomas Ferry introduced legislation to create a second park on Mackinac Island. In addition to the island’s attractive history and natural features, the U.S. government already owned much of the island as part of the Fort Mackinac military reservation and the soldiers stationed at Fort Mackinac could act as caretakers. As a result, the park would cost almost nothing, which Ferry knew appealed to the tight-fisted Congressmen of the 1870s. After two years of campaigning, President Ulysses Grant created the Mackinac National Park, the second park in the country, on March 3, 1875.

The park made Mackinac Island even more attractive to Midwestern visitors, and brought changes to Fort Mackinac, where the commanding officer became the park superintendent and a second company of soldiers joined the garrison. The Army finally performed some long-overdue repairs at the fort … Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs believed that “the fort itself is to the public one of the greatest curiosities within the lands of the park,” and required the fort’s commanding officer, Major Alfred Hough, to repair the post’s aging blockhouses. Although the blockhouses served no military purpose, Meigs knew that they were “among the few relics of the older time which exist in this country,” and believed that “there would be a cry from tourists” if they were destroyed. Fort Mackinac thus became as much a part of the national park as the island’s natural curiosities.

…On September 16, 1895, the last soldiers formally transferred Fort Mackinac and the Mackinac National Park to the state. Although the national park ceased to exist with this transfer, the state immediately created the Mackinac Island State Park, which continues to welcome thousands of Mackinac Island visitors every year.

Mark took this photo back in the summer of 2017 from the cannon deck at Fort Mackinac on the Island. See more in his Mackinac, Michigan gallery on Flickr.

Lots more from Mackinac on Michigan in Pictures!

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Fat Tuesday is Paczki Day in Michigan!

Kresge Library Services Paczki Day Extravaganza by Corey Seeman

Kresge Library Services Paczki Day Extravaganza by Corey Seeman

A Healthier Michigan has a nice look at the history of Paczki Day in Michigan:

The making and indulging in paczki (pronounced “poonch-key”) dates back to the Middle Ages. During that time, people in Poland would make pastries to use up all of their lard, sugar, eggs and other decadent ingredients before beginning Lent (a period of 40 days where Christians cut out certain foods like sweets or dairy and avoid eating meat on Fridays). Back then, the rich pastries were filled with pork fat. The more modern versions are a lot sweeter, often filled with fruit jelly (commonly raspberry, apple or lemon) or custard and dusted in powdered sugar.

When Polish immigrants came to the United States—especially Midwestern cities like Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay and Cleveland—at the beginning of the 20th century, Paczki Day came with them. And it’s been celebrated here on Fat Tuesday ever since.

FYI, paczkis often clock in at over 1000 calories & 30 grams of fat so no, they are definitely not the best of health foods but a perfect Fat Tuesday treat!!

Corey took a picture of this nice assortment of Paczkis from Benny’s Bakery in Saline back in 2020 at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business library. Head over to Flickr for his latest which includes pics of Runyon, an adorable pup.

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The Petoskey Underwater Crucifix

Petoskey Crucifix by Martin McReynolds

Petoskey Crucifix by Martin McReynolds

The Petoskey Visitors’ Bureau shares the story of the Petoskey Underwater Crucifix:

About 800 feet offshore and under 21 feet of water lies an Italian white marble crucifix, the only known freshwater-underwater crucifix. It came to Petoskey in 1962 in a round-about way, and has become a draw for divers and visitors alike ever since. You will not find a shrine like this anywhere else in the U.S.

The 11-foot tall crucifix, with a 5-foot 5-inch figure of Jesus Christ, was placed in the Bay, near the Petoskey breakwall at Bayfront Park, by the Wyandotte-based Superior Marine Divers Club in 1962. Its original intent was to honor Charles Raymond, a Southgate diver who drowned in Torch Lake. Later, the club expanded the focus of the monument to memorialize all those who have perished at sea.

Its origins date back to the late 1950s, when a grieving mother and father from Rapson in Michigan’s Thumb area had it crafted in memory of their son, Gerald Schipinski. Gerald was 15-years-old in 1956 when he was accidentally killed by a shotgun on the family farm.

After being crafted in Italy, the cross was broken during shipping to the Rapson Catholic church; the family rejected the damaged crucifix and it was sold in an insurance sale to the Wyandotte dive club. The crucifix made its way to Little Traverse Bay and was first placed by the U.S. Icebreaker Sundew 1,200 feet off the Petoskey breakwall on Aug. 12, 1962.

…in the early 1980s Dennis Jessick was president of the Little Traverse Bay Dive Club, and he proposed a winter viewing of the crucifix. The first was held in 1986, affording the community the chance to view the statue through a hole made in the ice. Lights are placed under water to help with viewing. The viewing of the crucifix,” as the locals call it, has continued.

The viewing of the Crucifix is always free and takes place if the ice is thick enough and other weather related conditions are right, usually in the end of February or early March. (NO VIEWING IN 2022) A tent is set up at the viewing area – which is a sure sign to the public that the viewing is taking place. It is also publicized in local media and on local Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau web sites.

More at the Petoskey Visitors Bureau & for sure check out this article on the crucifix from Northern Michigan Mish-Mash for a ton more info & some photos. Not gonna lie – I was really hoping to see this in person this year, but unfortunately there won’t be a public viewing in 2022 as there usually is. 

Martin took this photo back in 2009. Head over to his Well Liked gallery on Flickr for lots more great shots from Petoskey & elsewhere.

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The Ontonagon Boulder

Ontonagon Copper Boulder at the Smithsonian

Ontonagon Copper Boulder at the Smithsonian by Ian Shackleford

Today’s post is what we call a foreshadowing in the photo blog game. It concerns the extremely messy saga of the Ontonagon Boulder which is now at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. You can (and should) read it all, but here’s some highlights:

In 1669 the French government sent Louis Joliet to search for copper deposits in the area. Joliet decided to discover the Mississippi River instead.

English adventurer and fur trader Alexander Henry trips up the Ontonagon River in 1765 and 1771. An underwhelmed (and astoundingly wrong) Henry was unimpressed writing, “The copper ores of Lake Superior can never be profitably sought for but for local consumption….” The 5 million plus tons of copper 5,400,000 disagree.

In 1819 Gen. Lewis Cass directed an expedition to the boulder & sought to move it by burning thirty cords of wood around the boulder & throwing water on the hot copper which didn’t succeed in fracturing the boulder.

In 1841, Detroit hardware merchant Julius Eldred and an interpreter set out to buy the boulder from the Chippewa on whose land it stood for $150. He failed that time & the next, but in 1843 with a portable railway & car managed to move it (after having to buy the rock AGAIN from some Wisconsin miners for $1,365).

From the U.S. National Museum report of 1895: For four miles and a half, over hills 600 feet high, through valleys and deep ravines; through thick forests where the path had to be cut; through tangled underbrush, the home of pestiferous mosquitoes, this railway was laid and the copper bowlder (sic) was transported; and when at last the rock was lowered to the main stream, nature smiled on the labors of the workmen by sending a freshet to carry their heavily laden boat over the lower rapids and down to the lake.

At this long-awaited, triumphant point, Eldred was confronted by an order from the Secretary of War to General Cunningham, directing that the copper boulder be seized for transportation to Washington.

“The persons [Eldred and his sons] claiming the rock have no right to it,” the Secretary decreed, “but justice and equity would require that they be amply compensated for the trouble and expense of its removal from its position on the Ontonagon to the lake; and for this purpose General C. will examine their accounts and allow them the costs, compensating them fully and fairly therefore, the sum, however, not to exceed $700….”

In the end & with the help of Congress, Eldred received $5,664.98 which is roughly $200,000 in today’s dollars.

Read lots more from the Smithsonian & also check out a more detailed look at the drama around Eldred from The Mining Journal.

The photo was taken by Ian Shackleford & appears in the Wikipedia entry for the Boulder

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Happy 185th Birthday, Michiganders!

Mighty Mac at 50 by Julie

Mighty Mac at 50 by Julie

On January 26, 1837 Michigan was admitted to the Union as the 26th state. The Freep has a feature with some fun facts about Michigan a few years ago. One that caught my eye was this one:

What’s a Michigander?

The term many of use and love today was coined by none other than Abraham Lincoln in 1848. Then an Illinois congressman, Lincoln referred to Michigan governor Lewis Cass, who was running for president as a Democrat, as a “Michigander”, meaning he was as silly as a goose. Lincoln was mad at the Democrats for making more than they should have of Cass’ military experience, and the term was meant as an insult. “There is one entire article of the sort I have not discussed yet;” Lincoln said, “I mean the military tale you Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing onto the great Michigander.”

They note that while neither is official, many prefer “Michiganian.” I have always been a fan of Michigander, but I confess this fact is making me reconsider!

Julie took this photo at a big birthday for Michigan, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Mackinac Bridge which (IMO) is what made Michigan, Michigan.  See MANY more photos in her Michigan album on Flickr & enjoy our collective birthday!

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