Castle Rock: Another (Michigan) Roadside Attraction

Castel Rock Curios

Castle Rock Curios, photos by Alan C of Marion,IN

This photo is just one of very many in Alan ‘s Roadside Finds set (slideshow) and you’ll also want to wander through his Michigan pics!

Michigan’s Roadside Tourist Attractions will be showcased in a special exhibit opening at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing on January 10, 2009.

Michigan’s Roadside Attractions, set to run through Sept. 14, 2009, features more than 50 roadside attractions that grew up as Michigan expanded its highway system from the 1930s through the 1970s. Many of these attractions still provide fun and excitement for millions of tourists each year.

“Deer parks and dinosaur gardens are just a couple travel experiences that take center stage again in this exhibit. Places like Castle Rock in St. Ignace, the Soo Locks Boat Tours and the multiple locations where Paul Bunyan has been spotted are also featured through photos, artifacts and souvenirs,” said Phillip C. Kwiatkowski, director of the Michigan Historical Museum System. ” Michigan’s Roadside Attractions is about treasured mementoes, from miniature Paul Bunyan statues and plastic purses to dinosaurs, seashells and even ceramic doll dish sets.”

Learn more about the exhibit from the Michigan Historical Museum.

I know you’re all wondering about Castle Rock – here’s what Roadside America has to say:

Castle Rock is an abrupt, geologic protuberance just north of the Mackinac Bridge on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The nearly 200-ft. column of rock was long ago augmented with a man-made ramp and walkway to provide tourists a climb for an unparalleled view of Lake Huron and distant Mackinac Island.

At the base of the Castle Rock lookout is an amusing Paul Bunyan statue accompanied by his mythical sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox. This Bunyan is rare. Instead of standing, ready to deforest Michigan, Paul sits, staring googly-eyed towards the lake. With a newspaper in his hands, we’d complete the visual that Paul is halfway through one of his mighty bowel movements.

OK, probably should have cut that one sentence earlier. Read more about Castle Rock from Hunt’s UP Guide (I learned that it only costs 50¢ to climb – definitely stopping next time!)

flame on

flame on

flame on, photo by jenny murray.

This is part of Jenny’s ttv (through the viewfinder) set (slideshow).

Hope your weekend is as exciting as this mailbox … I’m pretty sure that if you get a tattoo or paint your face like this, it will be!

quincy karma on US 12

quincy karma

quincy karma, photo by buckshot.jones.

This colorful capture is part of Scott’s A trip down historic US 12 set (slideshow). He writes:

I turned off the Interstate and took US 12 on my way back to Dearborn. Lots of small towns and rural scenes.

You can follow US 12 all the way to the Pacific ocean. In Detroit and Chicago, US 12 is known as Michigan Avenue. From the Water Tower to old Tiger Stadium, this route has lots of history. (and also see the US 12 in Michigan entry!)

Here’s Quincy, Michigan and US-12 on the Absolute Michigan Map of Michigan.

Nothing more I can say except “Thanks Scott for posting these in big, beautiful, background-sized glory!”

…and have a great weekend everyone!

…I’m Just The Messenger – Coleman, Michigan

...I'm Just The Messenger - Coleman, Michigan

…I’m Just The Messenger – Coleman, Michigan, photo by jfactor1.

Just wondering what goes through someone’s mind just before they shoot a sign.

Any thoughts?

Another (Michigan) Roadside Attraction

Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan, photo by I am Jacques Strappe.

The Michigan Historical Museum is planning an exhibit called Michigan’s Roadside Attractions, set to run from January to June of 2009. They are looking for stories, pictures and artifacts of the unique places – open or long shuttered – that folks visit on the way from someplace to someplace else. Michigan Historical Museum System Director Phillip C. Kwiatkowski says:

We want to hear what made you stop at these roadside attractions – places like the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace, Deer Forest in Coloma, Windmill Island in Holland and the multiple locations where Paul Bunyan has been spotted – and to see the photos you took and the souvenirs that you kept. Our biggest need is your treasured mementoes, from miniature Paul Bunyan statues and plastic purses to dinosaurs, seashells and even ceramic doll dish sets.

If you can help, please contact Eve Weipert, curator of collections, at (517) 373-1509 or Most artifacts used in the exhibit will be considered on loan and will be returned after the exhibit ends. The museum has an established review process that is utilized prior to acceptance of loans or permanent donations. Artifacts are needed by April 1, 2008 to allow time to complete the exhibit storyline around the available artifacts.

This photo by Marjorie is part of her Roadside Curiosities set (slideshow) and it’s available “Bunyan-sized” for your desktop wallpaper.

If you’re interested in Michigan’s roadside attractions, here’s some “roadside” photos from the Absolute Michigan pool, Michigan Tourist Traps from, the “roadside” tag on Michigan in Pictures, this Absolute Michigan “Weird Wednesday” featuring Domke’s Dinosaur Gardens and of course, Michigan’s legendary Big Boy Graveyard.

If you have links or memories to share, post them in the comments!

Tree – Salem Township, Michigan


PICT1982, photo by bryan_axe.

Michigan has a Salem Township in Washtenaw county and another in Allegan County. Based on Bryan’s other photos I’m guessing Washtenaw.

Happy weekend, people!

Flint Vehicle City Arch – The Making of Modern Michigan

Flint Vehicle City Arch

Flint Vehicle City Arch, photo by Arthur Crooks (Kettering University Library, Scharchburg Archive)

This photo of Saginaw Street (from Detroit Street looking south) shows the Vehicle City Arch that was erected in 1905 as part of the City’s 50th anniversary. It was taken in 1909 and is one of many photos from Michigan’s past in The Making of Modern Michigan, a collaborative project headed by the Michigan State University Libraries, in partnership with the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Library Consortium, and the 50+ libraries currently participating in the project. It includes local history materials from communities around the state – photographs, family papers, oral histories and genealogical materials on a wide range of subjects.

Many of the images (such as the one above) are part of collections. The Crooks collection includes lots more photos of Flint at the turn of the century like Buick: Made in Flint, The circus comes to town and a shot of the arches lit up at night. The Crooks collection reaches into the 1920s, and you have to check out Bootleg Raid in Flint.

As is often the case, I got curious about those arches. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go any further than Arches Restoration to Celebrate our Heritage (ARCH). Their history page explains:

The Flint arches were erected in 1899 to replace gas lanterns used to illuminate the business district at night. Built by Genesee Iron Works, five arches were placed at intersections along Saginaw Street. Each arch was built with 50 light bulbs to illuminate the City’s main street at night. Half were turned off at midnight. The arches supported decorations for every parade of importance held in the city and colorful lights replaced golden incandescence at holiday times. None of the original arches had the famous Flint Vehicle City crown at its apex.

When Flint celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1905 two additional arches were erected with the famous Flint Vehicle City graphic at the crown. These arches were placed at the south end of the city at the intersection of Fifth and Saginaw Streets and at the north end of the business district at the confluence of Saginaw and Detroit Streets (now M.L. King Boulevard).

Though many believe the arches celebrated Flint’s heritage as a center for automobile manufacturing, the original arches were a salute to Flint as the world’s largest volume manufacturer of horse drawn carriages.

They were successful in their campaign to restore the arches on Saginaw and you can see a photo by day and by night!

Lost on vacation

Lost by Terrapin Dawg

Lost, photo by Terrapin Dawg

One of the great things about being on vacation is getting lost. Not the kind of lost where everyone’s hot and cranky, but rather the kind of lost where you see things you never expected and aren’t even sure you could find your way back.

This photo from Cheboygan County, Michigan is part of a great set of photos of Northern Michigan, which Matt says is his favorite place in the world. (slideshow).

Tiger Stadium: At the corner of Michigan & Trumbull

At the corner of Michigan & Trumbull

Michigan and Trumbull was the address for professional baseball in Detroit for 104 seasons. From 1896 when Bennett Park opened, until the last game at Tiger Stadium in 1999, Michigan and Trumbull was the most famous street corner in Michigan. Tiger Stadium by Irwin J. Cohen takes you on a visual tour of baseball in the Motor City from the beginning of the Tigers franchise to the historic final game played at Tiger Stadium. The pages are filled with photos (some never before published) of the stadium and Tiger legends from Cobb, Gehringer and Greenberg right up to Kaline, Lolich, Trammell, Gibson and others.

1968 Detroit Tigers / St. Louis Cardinals World Series program cover
The World Series went a full seven games and games three, four, and five were played in Detroit. Each game attracted the same 53,634 attendance numbers. (Author’s collection.)Click above photos for a larger view!
Willie Horton of the Detroit Tigers
Affable slugger left fielder Willie Horton hit 36 home runs in 1968. In game five with St. Louis ahead three games to one, Horton made the most memorable defensive play in the history of the ballpark when he threw out speedster Lou Brock trying to score from second on a single. (Courtesy B&W Photos.)

Tiger Stadium by Irwin J. Cohen is available from the publisher online at or by calling 888-313-2665.

View other excerpts from Arcadia Publishing’s Michigan books at Michigan in Pictures!

On a more editorial note, I had originally thought when I requested these photos that this would be part of a requiem for this grand old ballpark. It still may, but with Tiger icon Ernie Harwell pushing a plan to redevelop Tiger Stadium as a smaller ballpark and museum complex, maybe not!

You can follow Tiger Stadium news at Absolute Michigan.

Cruisin’ the Original: Woodward Avenue

Cruising Woodward Avenue in Detroit Michigan

Cruising Woodward, 1951 (above) …the seriousness of the times (1950s) did not dampen a growing love of cars and the freedom experienced by driving them. These young Detroiters found their cars especially useful during the longest transportation strike in the city’s history. In April 1951, the folks here piled into a car not far from the Fisher Building, in the distance, which is across from the General Motors Building in Detroit’s New Center area. After the strike, Detroit mayor Albert Cobo urged the city council to sell Detroit’s streetcars to a willing buyer, Mexico City, for $1 million. The streetcars remained in service there until the 1980s. Detroit soon dismantled its trolley tracks, and only buses ran after that. Cars became the city’s major means of transportation.

Cruisin’ the Original: Woodward Avenue by Anthony Ambrogio and Sharon Luckerman begins: In the 1950s, cruising swept the nation. American streets became impromptu racetracks as soon as the police turned their backs. Young people piled into friends’ cars and cruised their main streets with a new sense of freedom. The Totem Pole on Detroit’s Woodward AvePent-up desires after the hardships of World War II plus a booming economy fueled a car-buying frenzy. To lure buyers to their particular makes and models, automobile companies targeted the youth market by focusing on design and performance. No place was that more relevant than on metro Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, the city’s number-one cruising destination and home of the world’s automobile industry. Barely 50 years earlier, Henry Ford rolled his first Model T off the assembly line at Piquette and Woodward, just south of where cruisers, dragsters, and automobile engineers ignited each other’s excitement over cars. This unique relationship extended into the muscle car era of the 1960s, as Woodward Avenue continued to reflect the triumphs and downturns of the industry that made Detroit known throughout the world.

The Totem Pole (right) was the cruisers’ unofficial starting point on Woodward Avenue at Lafayette Street, kitty-corner from the zoo. This 1957 photograph demonstrates the “proper” way cruisers parked—to see and be seen, backed in, like the finned Plymouth in the lower-left corner. (click photo for larger view!)

Funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byway program and with guidance from the Woodward Heritage Team, Detroit writers Anthony Ambrogio and Sharon Luckerman interviewed numerous local historians, automobile engineers, automobile museum directors, and Detroiters who cruised during these extraordinary decades.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Cruisin’ the Original: Woodward Avenue is available from the publisher online at or by calling 888-313-2665.

View other excerpts from Arcadia Publishing’s Michigan books at Michigan in Pictures!

Here’s an action-packed feature on the Woodward Dream Cruise from Absolute Michigan!