WARNING: Do not try this today – just 15 degrees right now and not expected to break 20.
Few places in Michigan have the expansive view of the Lake Michigan overlook on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s 450′ feet down to the water, so remember that freedom comes at a price!
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light shares the story of one of Michigan’s hard-luck lighthouses, the Grand Island East Channel Light. Work began in 1867 with the the clearing of a sandy peninsula on the southeast shore of the island:
As a result of the chosen site being both on low ground and close to the water’s edge, a considerable amount of cribbing was installed along the shore line to help stave-off erosion and undermining of the station’s foundation. Plans for the station building called-out a typical “schoolhouse” style combination dwelling and tower similar to that used frequently throughout the lakes. However, in order to minimize cost the building was to be of timber frame construction with wood siding, as opposed to the more common brick or stone materials used in such structures elsewhere. Painted white to increase its value as a daymark, the 1 ½ story dwelling incorporated a forty-five foot tower its southern end, and was outfitted with an oil-fired steamer lens with a focal plane of 49 feet.
…The combination of a wooden structure in such an exposed location, and its location on the low sandy area close to the water’s edge created an ongoing maintenance nightmare for the district engineers, with the station listed as one at which considerable repairs were taken every year for the following thirty years.
…Without any care throughout the years, the structure deteriorated rapidly. Without regular scraping and repainting, the once bright white structure had turned a dismal driftwood gray, and the cribs installed a hundred years previously had disintegrated completely, with the waters of Munising Bay lapping directly at the stones of the structure’s foundation.
Read on for much more including efforts that stabilized this structure and the lighthouses that replaced it after decommissioning in 1908.
View Steve’s photo background big and see more in his 2016 Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse slideshow.
More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
This morning I got a note from one of Michigan in Pictures’s longtime contributors, Joel Dinda letting me know that I had coincidentally featured his photos twice on previous January 5ths. The other two were Rotten Apples: 2014 Detroit Lions Playoff Edition detailing the Lions’ loss to Dallas after the pass interference call that was and then wasn’t and a look at the Ruins of the the Old Cheboygan Point Lighthouse in 2013.
The third time is the charm they say, so here’s one that Joel shared way back in January of 2006 (taken summer of 2005) as part of his “Flower a Day” series. I think he started doing them in January and then realized somewhere along the way that as bad as Michigan winter in January can be, Februarys are worse!!
Baby, it’s cold outside. I hope you enjoy the July sunset from South Haven which seems more than half a world away from the teens and single digits that are out there this morning.
Stay warm and safe.
Back in June, Bobby wrote, “Weathered and worn, these trees are enjoying a gorgeous summer evening along the shores of Lake Superior.”
Not ready to let summer go? There’s lots more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
You may know that Père Jacques Marquette founded Michigan’s oldest city Sault Sainte-Marie in 1668, but do you know Michigan’s second old city? If you can read titles, you know that’s St. Ignace, founded in 1671 and named in honor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Here’s some of the history of St. Ignace from the St. Ignace Visitor’s Bureau:
The natives of the St. Ignace region were migratory. In the spring, the Anishinabeg gathered maple sugar and fished sturgeon and smelt. Summer found them in settlements surrounded by crops of corn, potatoes and squash, and near the abundant supplies of wildlife, fish and berries. They developed efficient housing, watercraft, hunting and farming tools.
The heritage of the Straits evolved and changed over the centuries beginning with the arrival of Roman Catholic missionaries and then French and British explorers and fur traders … The natural waterway joining Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac generated extensive water traffic, and prompted the establishment of an outpost during the period of French occupation. The outpost – Fort de Buade – became the seat of King Louis XIV’s authority in the interior of North America. French notables including Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle and Antoine Lamothe Cadillac spent time at the post. St. Ignace was among the largest settlements in New France from the last decade of the 15th century until the establishment of Detroit in 1701. The British arrived in the St. Ignace region with the defeat of the French during Seven Years War.
St. Ignace played a pivotal role in the fur trade until this industry began to wane. By the mid-1800’s the financial importance of commercial fishing to the economic well-being of the area eclipsed that of the fur trade. Ancillary industries including curing, packing and shipping augmented the fishery. It was during this period that the Mackinaw Boat became a familiar sight on the waters in and around the Straits. As the lumber industry in Michigan evolved, St. Ignace became a center for mill yards and its proximity to the shipping lanes added to its importance as a commercial hub in the northern Great Lakes area.
Read on for more including travel information.
More from St. Ignace on Michigan in Pictures.