February 18, 2015
Here’s an incredible shot of Big Red aka the Holland Harbor Lighthouse. In his extensive article on the history of the Holland Harbor Light, Terry Pepper explains how the nickname came to be:
A Coast Guard crew arrived in Holland in 1956, and gave the combined fog signal building and lighthouse a fresh coat of bright red paint in order to conform to its “Red Right Return” standard, which called for all aids to navigation located on the right side of a harbor entrance to be red in coloration. Local residents thus began referring to the fifty year old structure as “Big Red,” a name which has stuck through the years. The Fourth Order lens was subsequently removed from the fog signal lantern in the late 1960’s, and replaced with a 250 mm Tidelands Signal acrylic optic.
With the fading of the Great Lakes passenger fleet, Holland Harbor had ceased to serve any real commercial traffic. With the station now serving only as a beacon to guide pleasure boats in and out of Lake Macatawa, the Coast Guard announced plans to abandon the old fog signal building to eliminate ongoing maintenance costs in 1972. Over the years, “Big Red” had become as much of an iconic symbol of tourist-centered Holland as tulips and windmills, and fearing the loss of their beloved landmark, the citizenry of Holland gathered together and circulated petitions in an attempt to save the historic structure. To this end, the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Commission was formed in 1974 to coordinate preservation and restoration efforts, and continues to manage the structure to this day.
View Tony’s photo big as Big Red on Facebook and see and purchase some of his work at imagesforyourwalls.com. If you’re in an icy mood, consider attending the opening of his Frozen In Time exhibition at the Holland Arts Council from March 5 – April 18, 2015. The opening reception is March 5th, starting at 6pm.
February 4, 2015
I know that many folks in southern Michigan are wondering where the heck all this snow came from. Last night I realized that a friend of mine was actually responsible!
Yooper Steez tells the Legend of Finnish snow god Heikki Lunta:
The name is now often associated with an annual winter festival in Negaunee, but it’s creation is linked to an annual snowmobile race held in Atlantic Mine. In 1970, the U.P. was having one of those winters where it doesn’t snow as much as we might like, which was threatening the success of the race. To increase support, radio salesman David Riutta wrote the “Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song.” This song created the fictional Heikki Lunta as a creature that lived in the backwoods of Tapiola, twenty miles south of Houghton, and would perform a dance to make it snow. The song went on U.P. airwaves and was a success, and incidentally it did snow that year, causing the snowmobile race to be postponed on account of too much snow.
The song gained popularity enough to be mentioned on “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show,” and the radio salesman was even invited to sing the song for winter events in California.
As anyone who has been through an Upper Peninsula winter knows, the snow can become relentless, and by the end of that winter, Riutta wrote “Heikki Lunta Go Away,” which is now often paired with the initial song.
The name Heikki Lunta comes from the Finnish translation of the name Hank Snow, like the popular country and western singer.
Read on for more including videos of the Heikki Lunta Song by Da Yoopers and also see Heikki Lunta – A Modern Copper Country Folk Hero at Pasty.com. If you want to go in depth, Hilary Virtanen presents a detailed and fascinating history of this distinctly Yooper phenomenon from 1970 to the present day with press clippings and more in Not Just Talking About the Weather: Tradition, Social Change and Heikki Lunta (use the dates on the left to navigate).
PS: When he’s not making it snow, Adam is also a fantastic photographer. See his work, some of which is potentially NSFW depending on where you work, at brockit.com.
January 26, 2015
Today is Statehood Day, Michigan’s 178th birthday. For Michigan’s 175th birthday in 2012 I put together some fun facts about Michigan. They’re still true and still fun!
- Michigan is derived from the Indian word Michigama, meaning great or large lake. (more about Michigan’s name on Michigan in Pictures)
- French explorers Étienne Brulé & Grenoble are the first recorded Europeans to set foot in Michigan (you never know though). In 1668 Fathers Jacques Marquette and Claude Dablon established the first mission at Sault Ste. Marie, and in 1701, French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain in Detroit.
- The Michigan Territory was created, with Detroit designated as the seat of government and William Hull appointed as our first governor.
- Michigan became the 26th state on the 26th of January, 1837. Is 26 our lucky number? FYI, our first State governor was Stevens T. Mason, the 25 year old Boy Governor (the youngest state governor in American history).
- Michigan’s nickname is “the Wolverine State”. It is generally believed to have been coined during the 1835 Toledo War between Michigan and Ohio, when our southern rivals gave us the name due to the wolverine’s reputation for sheer orneriness!
- The Great Seal of Michigan was designed by Lewis Cass and was patterned after the seal of the Hudson Bay Fur Company. It depicts an elk on the left and a moose on the right supporting a shield that reads Tuebor (“I will protect”).The interior of the shield shows a figure on the shore with the sun rising over a lake. His right hand is raised, symbolizing peace, but he holds a rifle in his left hand, showing readiness to defend the state and nation.Below the shield is the inscription of our state motto Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” (I just learned that Michigan has an Office of the Great Seal – how cool would it be to say you worked there??)
- The original State Capitol of Michigan was Detroit, and it moved to Lansing in 1847 to help develop the western side of the state and due to the need to develop the western portions of the state and for easy defense from British troops. Here’s apic of Michigan’s original Capitol Building and an 1890s view of the current Michigan capitol.
- Michigan is the 10th largest state by area if you count the water … and who wouldn’t count the water??
- Speaking of water, we have 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, good for second to only Alaska in coastline!
More of Michigan’s birthday on Michigan in Pictures.
January 22, 2015
While you might feel like you saw these stylish gents at the coffee shop the other day, Dave shares that the hipster look is timeless: Upper Michigan circa 1899. “The loggers.” 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.
January 20, 2015
EarthSky’s Matt Daniel writes that NASA, NOAA, and Japan Meteorological Agency all report 2014 as Earth’s warmest year since modern-day record-keeping began in 1880.
Put in more tangible terms, since at least the days when University of Michigan footballers wore uniforms like this, there has not been a warmer year.
What’s more May, August, September, October and December of 2014 were ALL the warmest for that month since 1880! I’d like to suggest that global warming/climate change be shifted from a political issue to a survival issue. You are of course free to draw your own conclusions.
NASA has a snappy video that boils it down to a minute and a half.
Wikipedia says that these stylish gents played just one game, defeating the team from the University of Toronto, 13 to 6, at the Toronto Lacrosse Club. Michigan scored two touchdowns and one goal; Toronto scored three safety touchdowns.
Click the link for more and click the photo above to view it big as the big House.
January 19, 2015
“And so we must say, now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to transform this pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our nation.
…this social revolution taking place can be summarized in three little words. They are not big words. One does not need an extensive vocabulary to understand them. They are the words “all,” “here,” and “now.” We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.
…With this faith, we will be able to achieve this new day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing with the Negroes in the spiritual of old: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King in Detroit, June 23, 1963.
The words above are from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at Cobo Hall at the Great March on Detroit. The speech is regarded as the dress rehearsal for his famous I Have a Dream speech in Washington DC. Click to listen and read the text of the speech.
More Martin Luther King on Michigan in Pictures.
I really encourage you to click through and listen. Dr. King was an incredible orator, and this was one of his very best speeches.
December 18, 2014
Last month I featured a cool shot of the Petoskey Pierhead lighthouse that people really liked. Here’s a pic of what that light looked like a hundred years ago. The entry for the Petoskey Pierhead Light at Lighthouse Friends says (in part):
Named after the Ottawa Indian Chief Ignatius Petosega, Petoskey is situated at the southeast corner of Little Traverse Bay. In westerly winds, the lake steamers had difficulty offloading summer visitors at Petoskey, prompting Congress to pass an act on August 17, 1895, authorizing construction of breakwaters to protect the landing pier. One breakwater, connected to shore, was built west of the landing pier, and a second detached breakwater was built to the north.
Work on the breakwaters commenced in 1896, and in 1899, a metal post with a lamp house at its base was placed fourteen feet from the outer end of the western breakwater. Two lantern lights, a red one above a white one, were exhibited from the post starting on July 1, 1899. The beacon light was damaged by the schooner Willia Loutit on July 11, 1900, but repairs, paid for by the schooner’s owners, were soon made.
In 1903, structural steel and cast-iron metalwork were ordered to enclose the pier’s metal post, but the work was evidently not carried out until 1912. The resulting thirty-four-foot-tall lighthouse resembled an inverted funnel and consisted of a pyramidal base, a vertical mid-section, and an ornate lantern room. This funnel-like style of lighthouse was also deployed on piers at five other Lake Michigan cities: Waukegan, Illinois and at Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
…During a severe storm in December 1924, the lighthouse was washed from the breakwater and destroyed. A newspaper account noted that the “self-lighting lighthouse” had been discontinued for the season on December 8, just six days before it was swept off the breakwater. A temporary light was displayed from an unpainted post until 1930, when a concrete foundation was constructed on the breakwater, and a new light was displayed from a thirty-foot, skeletal, steel tower, painted red.
…and of course Michigan in Pictures has lots more Michigan lights too!