March 28, 2015
It’s 8 degrees right now in Traverse City, and while the weeklong run of wintry weather hasn’t been good for such popular pursuits as getting the garden ready, boxing up winter clothes and keeping your house from being declared a Cabin Fever Disaster Area, it has left the ice in many parts of the state just perfect for the sport of ice boating.
Northern Michigan AP News photographer John Russell is a Michigan in Pictures contributor and wrote Ice Boating: An Ancient Sport in a Modern World a few years ago. It begins:
Sailing on frozen surfaces is believed to have its roots in Northern Europe, where goods and people moved around the region on frozen rivers and canals, using simple sails and handmade boats.
The Dutch and others brought iceboating to the Hudson River valley and other places along the East Coast, where miles of frozen rivers made for great sailing during the winter months. Freight and people were commonly moved up and down the Hudson River in huge, slooped-rigged boats.
Ranging in length from 30 – 50 feet, the stern-steering boats are still raced today by the Northwest Ice Yacht Association, having recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The ancient sport of sailing on frozen lakes and rivers is alive and well in our state, which has a long and involved history in the sport. Innovations developed in Michigan have enhanced and improved iceboating.
During the winter of 1936-1937, in the hobby shop at the Detroit News, boat builder Archie Arroll, along with Norm Jarrait and Joe Lodge, designed an ice boat they called the Blue Streak 60. Designed to be small enough to build in a garage, and easy enough to be built by anyone, the 12-foot hull design became known as the DN 60, for Detroit News and the 60-square-foot sail.
It is now the largest one-design boat class in the world, with over 8,000 registered boats around the world.
Read on for more including our state’s role in international ice boat racing, some state clubs, safety tips and a couple of photos from John.
More Michigan iceboating on Michigan in Pictures!
March 27, 2015
One of my favorite Michigan fine art photographers is Bill Schwab, and I still remember the day when I pulled up the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr to find he’d added some of his photos to the group, including the one above.
This morning I learned that he will be presenting an artist lecture “Across Iceland” for the Charlevoix Circle of Arts:
Fine art photographer, Bill Schwab has been taking photo-expeditions to Iceland since 2009. He will share some of his favorite photographs of Iceland’s harsh, yet beautiful, landscape. Schwab is also the founder of PhotostockFest held annually in Harbor Springs. The Artists Adventure Lecture Series are free and open to the public.
Click above for more on the event and visit the Charlevoix Circle of Arts for more about them. Bill’s PhotostockFest takes place June 18-21 and you can register and get details on workshops and the event at that link.
The photography site RFOTOFOLIO has a great interview Seeing the Beauty: Bill Schwab that starts out:
My father’s side of the family was very much into photography. My Great Grandfather, Frederic C. Lutge had a portrait studio in late 19th and early 20th century Detroit and it branched out from there. My father always had interesting cameras and my uncle had a darkroom. I was fascinated by the gear. Even when I was too young to have a camera, I would draw pictures of them. After cutting them out I would pretend to use them and then draw the pictures “taken” with my cut out cameras and show them to people. Apparently I was hooked at an early age, but it wasn’t until I was twelve that I started processing and contact printing my own film from an old Ansco kit. After that, it is all a blur.
…Growing up in Detroit, pretty much everyone worked in the automobile manufacturing industry and I knew very well at a young age that wasn’t going to be my destiny. I can remember very clearly my dad asking me what I wanted to be at about age five. I said that I would get a job like his and he basically said, no way. Then there was my mom with her unbridled curiosity. She was an early news junky and I seriously think she missed her calling by not going into journalism. The major happenings of the day were right there on the TV during dinner and I was very aware and interested in what was going on. We had subscriptions to Life Magazine and Look and I loved to go through the pages looking at the photographs.
Read on for lots more and some beautiful photos.
View Bill’s photo of the ruins of the pier at Cross Village bigger on Flickr and see lots more from across the state in his Michigan slideshow. You can view and purchase prints at billschwab.com. He’s a good follow on Facebook and also just started up an Instagram @bill_schwab, so you might want to follow along there too!
More Michigan photographers on Michigan in Pictures.
March 26, 2015
I think the guy on the right is replaced by a computer in the 2015 version. About the photo, Ronnie writes:
Before the World War II started in Europe, 1939 was expected to be an exceptional year. America was filled with optimism, and with the Great Depression winding down, the nation was looking forward to what the coming decade of the 1940s would bring. Even the theme of the World’s Fair in New York was billed as “the world of tomorrow,” especially when it came to consumer and industrial electronics. However, for the Detroit Police Department one of the most important technological advancements in the world of law enforcement had become a reality.
Many electronics experts at the turn of the 1920s, said it would take another five decades before you would see two-way radios available for use in motor vehicles. While this philosophy was taken as gospel; several Amateur Radio operators pushed the envelope of experimentation to it’s zenith in their basements, and workshops across America. The fruits of their labor came to the forefront in the mid-to-late 1930s, which proved that two-way radio technology was viable for use by police officers in the field.
Earlier attempts at using two-way radio communications in the Motor City in 1934 had several drawbacks. The biggest was the cost, which was around $700 to equip each vehicle with the very large, and bulky equipment that took up the entire back seat and trunk of the patrol car. Not only did it take up a lot of space, but it really added a lot of weight that was hard on the vehicles’ suspension system.
March 25, 2015
Atop the Mackinac Bridge, photo courtesy Google Trekker
Pure Michigan announced a cool new way to experience some of Michigan’s scenic treasures:
Through a partnership between Pure Michigan and Google, many of Michigan’s iconic destinations are now accessible to people all around the world through Street View in Google Maps. Google’s Street View Trekker is a backpack system with a camera on top that is worn by an operator who walks through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot – or in the case of some Michigan locations by kayak. The imagery is captured automatically and stitched together to create the 360 degree panorama seen on Google Maps.
More than 44,000 panoramic photos were taken by members and volunteers on the Pure Michigan team and the Department of Natural Resources who borrowed the Trekker and traveled for four weeks, capturing breathtaking scenes around Michigan, including this stunning view from the top of Mackinac Bridge.
Click through for a video introducing the partnership and a bunch of panoramic scenes from the State Capital to Mackinac Island to the Sleeping Bear Dunes to Tahquamenon Falls. Be sure to check out the behind the scenes for this pano as well!
March 24, 2015
USA Today is polling their readers to see what they think the 10 best state parks in the nation are. The entry page for the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park says:
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, or the “Porkies” as its known to frequent visitors, encompasses 60,000 acres of lakes, rivers and virgin forest. The park offers camping on the shores of Lake Superior, 90 miles of hiking trails, kayak rentals, mountain biking and, in the winter, access to the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Mich. is currently ranked #2 of 20.
You can click here to vote if you’re so inclined.
John took this evening shot in October 2014 near the east end off the Lake of the Clouds. View it bigger on Flickr, see more staggering photos in his Autumn in Michigan slideshow, and definitely follow him on Facebook at Michigan Nut Photography.
Tech has won three national titles in 1962, 1965 and 1972, and the Huskies (29-9-2) are currently ranked 5th in the nation and tied for most wins in the country this year. They received an at large bid to the tourney and take the ice as the #2 seed in the West region this Friday at 4:30 PM vs St. Cloud State. (details)
Here’s the beginning of a really excellent New York Times feature from last December entitled Stirring Passions in Hockey Hotbed:
Hockey rules this remote part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where it is played by everyone from children to those in their 70s and 80s. All through the long winter it is always game on — in modern arenas, outside (into the wee hours of the night) and in two of the oldest hockey rinks in the world.
Professional hockey was born here in Copper Country in 1902, 15 years before the N.H.L. was formed. Even before that, the game was king in Houghton, Hancock, Calumet and nearby towns when they were at the center of a mining boom.
The mining is gone, the woods dotted with abandoned buildings and ghost towns. Only about 44,000 live in the area now, but the love affair with hockey endures. And the Michigan Tech Huskies are winning again, at last.
Tech’s hockey tradition stretches back 95 years and includes three N.C.A.A. Division I titles, in the 1960s and ’70s, but the Huskies have finished above .500 only once since 1993.
This season, though, they opened with 10 straight victories, their best start in history, and achieved their first No. 1 ranking. Now 13-3-0, Tech is ranked No. 5, having split a two-game series with No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth last week.
I really recommend that you click to read on at the Times for a great feel of the rich history of hockey in the Copper Country. If you want a lot more MTU hockey history, check out Copper Country Hockey History. Their compendium of Michigan Tech Hockey History begins with MTU’s crushing 30-0 destruction of Eagle River that still stands as the record for most goals in a game and rolls through nearly 100 years of hockey.
The photo above was taken during the WCHA Tournament Championship game on Saturday which the Huskies lost 5-2 to tourney top seed Minnesota State. View it and more in their gallery, get lots more at michigantechhuskies.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook & Twitter.
March 21, 2015
Lighthouse Friends’ page on the Muskegon South Pier Light begins:
The name ‘Muskegon’ comes from the Ottawa Indian term ‘Masquigon,’ meaning “marshy river or swamp,” and refers to the Muskegon River that expands into Muskegon Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. Settlement on the shores of Lake Muskegon began in 1837 with the establishment of Muskegon Township. Nicknamed the ‘Lumber Queen of the World,’ Muskegon was home to more millionaires than any other town in America during the late 1800s, when its lumber helped rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871.
In August 1838, Lieutenant James T. Homans visited the river and included the following in a report to the Secretary of the Treasury:
Muskegon river, on lake Michigan, came next under my observation, it is a large stream, opening, within half a mile of its outlet, into a considerable lake, eight miles long by four wide. The channel in, is wide and easy of access, and not less than twelve feet of water in it; making this harbor, in my estimation, the best on lake Michigan, all things considered. Its value as a safe haven, and the rich lumber trade in which it will soon be engaged, (three extensive steam saw-mills having been erected there,) entitle it to a light-house near the entrance. I selected a point, on the south side of the river’s mouth, as the best location, in the event of an appropriation being made for a light there.
On March 3, 1849, Congress set aside $3,500 for a lighthouse at the site selected by Homans, and in 1851 a one-and-a-half-story, rubblestone dwelling, surmounted by a wooden tower, was built. The dwelling measured thirty-six by eighteen feet, and the top of the tower stood twenty-six feet above the ground. Six lamps with fourteen-inch reflectors were originally used in the lantern room, but a sixth-order Fresnel lens replaced these in 1856. Alexander Wilson was hired as the light’s first keeper at an annual salary of $450.
Read on for lots more including photos.