High Noon: 1909: Marquette Main Street via Shorpy

Marquette Front Street

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.”

Stoll Trail Incident and How Isle Royale Became a Park

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Silhouette of a Moose, photo by Nina

Nina writes that she came upon this moose looking like a fake silhouette against a beautiful backdrop while hiking Albert Stoll Memorial Trail just before sunset at Isle Royale. Read Houghton, Flight to Isle Royale, and the Stoll Trail Incident for lots more including photos on Nina’s blog Black Coffee at Sunrise.

This excellent history of Isle Royale National Park from ParkVision explains how this remote Lake Superior Island became a park and Mr. Stoll’s role:

As early as the 1860’s some visited the island for touring or pleasure. But by the turn of the century a real tourism industry was beginning to exist on the island, fueled in part by the growth of midwestern cities. The first hotel on the island, the Johns Hotel, was built in 1892, and other early resorts were built at Tobin Harbor, Rock Harbor, and Washington Island. By the 1920’s there were a number of sizeable resorts located on Isle Royale and some of the smaller islands surrounding it. The moist, cool air on the island provided a popular escape from the midwestern summer heat and for hay fever sufferers.

The 1920’s also brought an effort to gain preservation of and national park status for the island. This effort was spearheaded by Albert Stoll Jr. of the Detroit News, and it was endorsed by Stephen Mather who visited the island in 1924. The threat of extensive logging of the island’s forests in 1922 enhanced concern about the importance of preservation of the island’s magnificent natural resources. Isle Royale gained a measure of fame as a result of a daring winter visit by plane by Ben East and his companions.

In 1930 the Michigan legislature created the Isle Royale National Park Commission. Establishment of the island and surrounding areas as a national park was authorized when Herbert Hoover signed legislation on March 31, 1931. However, initially no money was authorized for its establishment. The Depression and World War II intervened, and it was not until August of 1946 after all park lands had been acquired that the park was finally dedicated in a ceremony on Mott Island.

Read on for lots more!

View Nina’s photo background big and see more at Black Coffee at Sunrise where she will have further posts from her latest journey!

Pier Energy at Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse


Pier Energy, photo by Aaron Springer

The Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse entry at Terry Pepper’s excellent Seeing the Light says the tip of the light is 72 feet off the water, making that spray over 80′ tall!! Click above for a ton more, but here’s something about the light tower:

1912 saw significant a significant change in the lighting of the Frankfort harbor entrance. A new square steel pyramidal tower was erected on the North Pier. Fully sheathed in steel plates, the white painted structure stood 44 feet from its base to the top of the ventilator ball. Outfitted with a fixed red Fourth Order Fresnel lens, the tower’s location on the north pier provided the new light with a focal plane of 46 feet, and a visible range of 12 miles in clear weather. The air siren from the South Pierhead light was relocated into this new structure, and set up to emit a characteristic isophase characteristic of alternating periods of 3 second blasts and 3 seconds of silence. An elevated walkway, similar to that installed on the south Pier, was erected from the new light to the shore.

…By 1924, the total car ferry tonnage through Frankfort Harbor was twenty five times greater than that prior to the establishment of the ferries. To better serve this vital commerce, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a pair of reinforced concrete arrowhead-type breakwaters at the harbor entrance in order to create a large stilling basin to protect the opening into the harbor. With the completion of these breakwaters in the early 1930’s, the twin piers at the entry into Lake Betsie no longer served any purpose. With plans in place to shorten them into short stub piers, the North Pierhead Light was lifted from the pier onto the deck of a barge and carried out to the end of the North Breakwater. A square steel base 25 feet in height had been erected on the end of the breakwater to receive it, and the tower was lifted onto the new base. After being bolted into position, the new tower stood 67 feet in height from the upper level of the pier to the top of the lantern ventilator ball. By virtue of its location on the concrete pier, the light stood at a focal plane of 72 feet, and the 17,000 candlepower incandescent electric light within the Fourth Order Fresnel was visible for a distance of 16 miles in clear weather.

Read on for lots more about the lighthouse including some great old photos.

View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow,.

Tons more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

Tom Izzo: Definitely One of the Most Famous Natives of Michigan


Tom Izzo, photo by Hillary Higgens

TRUE CONFESSION: Page-at-a-time slideshows make me want to smash my screen, but I have to say that what mLive is doing with slideshows has been pretty cool. Their feature on the Most Famous Natives of Michigan has their pick for the most famous person from each of Michigan’s 83 counties. Definitely worth a read. Share your thoughts here on on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook!

It’s hard to argue with their choice for the most famous person from Dickinson County, Michigan – Michigan State University Spartan coach Tom Izzo:

Since 1995, Tom Izzo has led the Michigan State men’s basketball team as head coach. Born Jan. 30, 1955, Izzo was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Under his watch, the Spartan team has made it to the Final Four seven times and taken home an NCAA Men’s Division I Championship.

Hillary took this photo back in 2011. View it background big and see more in her 2011 Champion’s Class slideshow.

Michigan’s Second Oldest City: Looking back on St. Ignace


St Ignace Lighthouse, photo by Sheldon Spurrell

You may know that Père Jacques Marquette founded Michigan’s oldest city Sault Sainte-Marie in 1668, but do you know Michigan’s second old city? If you can read titles, you know that’s St. Ignace, founded in 1671 and named in honor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Here’s some of the history of St. Ignace from the St. Ignace Visitor’s Bureau:

The natives of the St. Ignace region were migratory. In the spring, the Anishinabeg gathered maple sugar and fished sturgeon and smelt. Summer found them in settlements surrounded by crops of corn, potatoes and squash, and near the abundant supplies of wildlife, fish and berries. They developed efficient housing, watercraft, hunting and farming tools.

The heritage of the Straits evolved and changed over the centuries beginning with the arrival of Roman Catholic missionaries and then French and British explorers and fur traders … The natural waterway joining Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac generated extensive water traffic, and prompted the establishment of an outpost during the period of French occupation. The outpost – Fort de Buade – became the seat of King Louis XIV’s authority in the interior of North America. French notables including Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle and Antoine Lamothe Cadillac spent time at the post. St. Ignace was among the largest settlements in New France from the last decade of the 15th century until the establishment of Detroit in 1701. The British arrived in the St. Ignace region with the defeat of the French during Seven Years War.

St. Ignace played a pivotal role in the fur trade until this industry began to wane. By the mid-1800’s the financial importance of commercial fishing to the economic well-being of the area eclipsed that of the fur trade. Ancillary industries including curing, packing and shipping augmented the fishery. It was during this period that the Mackinaw Boat became a familiar sight on the waters in and around the Straits. As the lumber industry in Michigan evolved, St. Ignace became a center for mill yards and its proximity to the shipping lanes added to its importance as a commercial hub in the northern Great Lakes area.

Read on for more including travel information.

Sheldon took this photo back in July of 2012 at sunrise. View it bigger and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

More from St. Ignace on Michigan in Pictures.

Today & Yesterday at Point Iroquois Lighthouse


Point Iroquois Lighthouse on Whitefish Bay, photo by Cole Chase Photography

The Point Iroquois Lighthouse page at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a 100+ hear old photo of the light taken from almost exactly the same angle as Cole’s! View his bigger and see more great shots from fall of 2014 in his Autumn in Upper Michigan slideshow.


Point Iroquois Light Station in 1905, showing the fog signal building constructed in 1890. Note that the 1885 bell tower is still in place to the immediate left of the dwelling.

The photo is courtesy of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Historical Museum, and you can click the link for more about the museum!

Sunrise on McCarty’s Cove & Marquette Harbor Lighthouse


“McCarty’s Cove” Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, photo by John McCormick

Just got back from Marquette, and I have to say, this is one cool city!!

John took this photo back in August of 2011 at sunrise at McCarty’s Cove, one of Marquette’s best beaches according to Travel Marquette. I really had to dig (seriously, a Mining Journal history quiz was all I had to go on) to learn that McCarty’s Cove is named after Mike McCarty whose business, Lake Superior Ice, operated at that location. I’m not sure how long, but in 1919 they took over the Marquette Ice Company. Know more? Post it in the comments!

UPDATE:  Ann Fisher (who is a contributing photographer to Michigan in Pictures) shares:

“McCarty’s ice business lasted at least into my childhood (late 50’s, early 60’s). I remember going there to buy ice when we were making homemade ice cream in our hand-cranked ice cream maker.”

The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is now a museum – click for more.

View John’s photo bigger, see more in his Sunsets/Sunrises slideshow, and view and purchase his work at michigannutphotography.com (FYI you can buy this photo right here).