Lots more from Frankfort on Michigan in Pictures.
I was going to talk this morning about how I will continue to talk about what I want to talk about on Michigan in Pictures, but then I saw this awesome photo by Heather. I’m sure you get the idea.
On her Snap Happy Gal blog where you can view & purchase some great lighthouse photos, Heather writes:
I think of myself as a serendipitous shooter: I go out to scenes in all kinds of light – the good, the bad, even the ugly – and I take photos. Sometimes I walk away with artwork worth sharing, and sometimes I just walk away with happy memories. I don’t often stalk a scene for the best light, I don’t think of myself as having a favorite thing to photograph, and I don’t find that I’m predictable (even I don’t know when or where I’ll be heading out to shoot until I get the itch). But, lately, if you wanted to catch me out and about, you’d look at northern Michigan’s west coast lighthouses.
I’ve visited every one of them from Manistee up to Northport (though I didn’t take the camera out), and I’ve been there from sunrise to sunset, and well into the night.
Last Wednesday, I checked the weather and saw something I hadn’t seen in what felt like eons: the possibility for clear night skies. I packed my gear, my cold weather clothes, and food and water, and headed for the coast. I missed the best light in an incredible sunset, but caught the afterglow and the first light of the moon on the lakeshore just south of Empire. While the skies were still cloudy, I headed south into Frankfort to see how the ice was shaping up along the beach. By this time, the winds had died down almost entirely. The water inside the breakwall was very still, the forming ice chattered, and tiny waves sloshed against the icebergs beached on the sand.
More about the Frankfort North Breakwater Light on Michigan in Pictures.
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has an extensive entry on the history of the Manistee Pierhead Light with copious information and historical photos. Terry goes deep on Manistee’s history as a lumber port:
Although the first sawmill had been established on the banks of the Manistee in 1841, settlement in the area was not widespread until the Chippewa relinquished their reservation by treaty in 1849, and the federal government offered lands along the Manistee for public sale. It did not take lumber interests long to realize the incredible potential of the Manistee which snaked a hundred miles into the forests, and lumbermen soon began lobbying for federal funding to improve the harbor and to erect a lighthouse at the river mouth. With no appropriation forthcoming, the businessmen of Manistee took the matter into their own hands, erecting a pair of short stub piers at the river mouth in an attempt to stem the deposition of sand and silt.
In 1861, Congress instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to dispatch an Engineer Officer to Manistee to conduct a survey of the river entrance. Water depth in the opening between the piers was found to be from seven to eight feet, and a 250-foot long sand bar with a water depth of less than five feet above it was identified 600 feet off the end of the piers.
…To serve this burgeoning maritime commerce, the piers were extended an additional 150 feet in 1875, and the channel between them dredged to a minimum depth of ten feet. With the main light now standing a considerable distance to the rear of the pierheads, the decision was made to replace the shore light on the north bank with a pierhead beacon on the outer end of the longer south pier. Click to view enlarged image The new south pierhead light consisted of a timber-framed pyramidal beacon typical of the type being erected on pierheads throughout the Great Lakes. With its lower half open, the upper half immediately below the gallery was enclosed to provide a small service room for lamp maintenance. Equipped with windows, the service room also served as a sheltered area in which the keeper could stand watch during inclement weather. Standing 27 feet in height, the beacon was capped with a square gallery with iron handrails and an octagonal cast iron lantern installed at its center.
Read on for a whole lot more.
About the photo, Heather writes:
I still can’t believe I managed to drag myself out of bed this morning. There were 8 minutes of pink light – and a stunning sunrise to the east that I completely ignored – followed by about 90 minutes of interesting (if not sunrise) light.
If you want to take a look at the Pier from the beach, check out the St Joseph webcam. Have a great weekend everyone!!
PS: Here’s a link to more information and a photo of the St. Joseph North Pier Outer & Inner Lights from almost exactly a year ago – lots more ice.
PPS: I’d love it if you’d become a patron of Michigan in Pictures. Thanks to all who have so far – I really appreciate it!
Although I just featured a sunset photo by Heather … Wow!
She took this last night and writes: A break at the horizon that spouted god rays all afternoon hinted a the potential for a lightshow at sundown. We were not disappointed, though we were very cold.
Click for more about the Frankfort Pier Lights and a super cool winter photo by Jason Lome.
I’ll never miss a chance to tout Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light as one of the premier resources for information about Michigan’s lighthouses, as well as others on the Great Lakes. He packs them full of the history including the political maneuverings and economic reasons for lighthouse development and closure and peppers in (sorry – couldn’t resist) historical photos and pictures from his own visits.
The entry on the Menominee North Pier Light details the lumber boom that led to the construction of the first lighthouse in 1877 and the development of the iron ore rich Menominee Range. He continues:
The town of Menominee continued to reap the benefits of the Range, and as a result significant harbor improvements were undertaken in the 1920’s, At their completion in 1927, a prefabricated octagonal cast iron tower was delivered by vessel, and lowered onto the pier.
The thirty-four foot tower was painted white, and integrated with an attached fog signal building. An elevated wooden catwalk stretched along the wooden pier to provide the keepers with safe access to the light during periods when waves crashed across the surface of the pier. The octagonal cast iron lantern room was outfitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens of unknown manufacture.
At some point thereafter, the wooden pier was replaced by a concrete structure with a forty-foot diameter circular crib at its offshore end. At this time, the fog signal was eliminated with the inclusion of an automated electrically operated signal in the tower. With automation of the light in 1972, the need for daily maintenance of the light was also eliminated, and the iron catwalk was removed from the pier.
The tower was painted bright red, and relocated to a white painted concrete platform in the center of the crib. Its elevated position on the pier provided a focal plane of forty-six feet.
While the catwalk no longer snakes its way along the pier, the iron tower still stands guard over the harbor entrance, its jewel-like Fresnel lens replaced by a stark modern 300mm plastic lens.
Read on for more at Seeing the Light.
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!