Guardian Building

Guardian Building, photo by Michael G Smith

Sometimes I find things and forget to post about them. A couple weeks ago, there was a feature from WXYZ in Detroit that the Detroit’s Penobscot Building plans to open observation deck:

New York has the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center, Chicago has the Hancock Observatory, but the doors to our city’s skyline have been closed for decades.

That’s changing, thanks to the historic Penobscot Building’s new plans to re-open its observation deck.

Kim Farmer has worked at the building since the 1990’s. She has seen owners come and go, but these new plans are what she calls, “pretty gutsy moves.”

“We plan on lighting up here, LED lights comparable to the Empire State Building,” the Vice President of Operations and Leasing told WXYZ.

There are plans to incorporate a banquet facility, and a ticket fee to reach the top. The goal is to complete the observation deck project by summer 2016.

Read on for more and thanks  for the find!

Michael took this shot a couple of years ago from the Penobscot. View it big as a building and see more in his Wirt Rowland, Architect slideshow.

PS: Read more about the Penobscot (once the 8th tallest building in the world and now 2nd tallest in Detroit) and the Guardian Building on Michigan in Pictures. They were both designed by Wirt C. Rowland, who was a heck of an architect!

 

Icebreaking on the St Marys River

Icebreaking on the St Mary’s River, photo by U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

Here’s an aerial shot of the 228-foot Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) SAMUEL RISLEY working in partnership with U.S. Coast Guard’s Sault Ste. Marie Sector on icebreaking operations in the St. Mary’s River last weekend. They write:

USCG Sector Sault Ste. Marie is also in high gear kicking off the 2015 Operation Taconite season, as ice continues to build daily across the Great Lakes. US Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are conducting around the clock icebreaking operations to assist commercial vessel traffic in the connecting waterways of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

Operation Taconite is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the US. Over water shipping offers the only effective means of transporting the vast amounts of iron ore from the mines at the Head of the Lakes in Minnesota needed to meet the demands of steel mills in Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Operation Taconite is primarily responsible for ensuring the successful transport of this cargo amid the harsh winter conditions of the northern Great Lakes.

Air Station MH-65s routinely fly ice reconnaissance flights in support of the operation

The photo was taken by the crew of one of the Traverse City Coast Guard Air Station’s Dolphin helicopters. View it background bigtacular and click through for a shot of the USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw working to keep this vital shipping channel open.

There’s more winter wallpaper and more ships on Michigan in Pictures.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!, photo by Spring Disney

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
~Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping for health & happiness for all of you, but also a mistake or two as the incomparable Mr. Gaiman prescribes.

Spring Disney shared this photo from Elizabeth Park in Trenton for the 2011 New Year. View it bigger on Flickr and see more (including some absolutely stunning owl photos) in her My Favorites slideshow.

More bridges and more New Year on Michigan in Pictures.

Root Beer Falls

December 27, 2014

Tahquamenon Falls Root beer falls

Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Courtney Cochran

The Tahquamenon Falls are Michigan’s biggest waterfall and quite a sight to see in any season. It draws its name from the distinctive root beer color of the water which is created by the leaching of tannins from the cedar swamps that feed the river.

At its peak flow, the river drains as much as 50,000 gallons of water per second, making it the second most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River after only Niagara Falls.

View Courtney’s photo bigger and see more in her Landscapes slideshow.

Lots more Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Presque-Isle-in-the-Porkies

Quiet water of the Presque Isle River. Porcupine Wilderness State Park, photo by Linda Carter

The Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park is the area of Michigan where I haven’t yet visited that I’m most fascinated with. One of the cool things for me about putting Michigan in Pictures together is learning new things about places, and Linda’s photo showed me something new about the Park! She writes:

The Presque Isle River (French explorers named it for the little island at the mouth of the river) is the largest and most dangerous flow through the Porcupine Mountains. The 3 waterfalls near its mouth are some of the most scenic in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The river forks at the end as it flows to Lake Superior. This picture is the right side, which is quiet and peaceful.

View her photo bigger and see more (including some of those waterfalls) in her Porkies slideshow.

The Golden Hour on the Rouge

The Golden Hour on the Rouge, photo by pkHyperFocal

The Rouge River Gateway Project relates that the Potawatami referred to the river as Minosa Goink which means “Singeing Skin River” – the place where game animals were dressed. The history continues (with my links to other fun stuff):

The French first settled on the banks of the Rouge River in the 1780s. They named the river “Rouge”, or red. Settlers would claim a few hundred feet of river frontage and extend their farms deep into the forest. Remnants of these “ribbon farms” still exist today in land ownership patterns along the river. Europeans continued to immigrate into the region to take advantage of its resources. They used the reddish clay for brick, mined the area’s salt deposits, and built farming communities along the riverbanks. The native prairie oak savannah and hardwood forests were cleared to make room for agriculture and industry.

Rapid growth and industrial development characterized the late nineteenth century. Henry Ford purchased extensive land holdings along the river. He built a factory in Dearborn to manufacture farm tractors, but kept a good portion of his land in agricultural production, partially for testing equipment. In 1914, he started construction of a permanent residence on the banks of the Rouge River.

A defining moment in the history of the river transpired with the construction of the Ford Rouge Plant during World War I. The development of the plant was motivated by Henry Ford’s desire to supply submarine chasers to the US military. The Ford Rouge Manufacturing Complex grew into a massive self –contained industrial complex that daily employed over ninety thousand men in the early 20th century. Raw materials including coke, iron ore, and rubber were brought in and transformed into cars in less than thirty hours, a process that set a new global standard for industry. The Rouge Manufacturing Complex became the largest manufacturing site in the world.

In his book Burning Rivers, Allen Park native John Hartig relates how heavy manufacturing and population growth seriously impacted the river to the point where the river became one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, catching fire in 1969 shortly after the famous Lake Erie/Cuyahoga River fire.

In 1986, in a Sunday feature on a new organization seeking to restore the Rouge, the Detroit Free Press called it the “sewer for a metropolis, discharge drain for industry, dumping ground for junk and garbage”. They went on to say that “the Rouge River has become so polluted that a cleanup seems unthinkable.”

While the Rouge is certainly far from restored, the organization the Freep was talking about, Friends of the Rouge, has been dedicated along with other public and private efforts to the preservation & restoration of the river. I encourage you to check them out for more information and to learn about their good work on the behalf of the river. Lots more at the Rouge River Project and Wayne County’s Rouge Project.

View pkHyperFocal’s photo big as a boat and see more in their Man Made slideshow.

More industry on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunny skies at Pine Bend

December 8, 2014

Pine Bend Natural Area

Winding River, photo by paisleyrainboots

Sarah took this last week at Pine Bend County Park and says that it was a beautiful day despite the 30 degree temperatures.

View her photo bigger and follow her on Instagram. You can also tune into her blog.

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