Interference

Interference by Bill Dolak

Bill captured this interesting abstract of the lines made by two center-pivot irrigators in a soybean field near Vicksburg. See more in his massive Michigan: Kalamazoo County album & a lot more of his photography in our Michigan in Pictures group on Facebook!

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Tahquamenon: The River of a Hundred Bends

Tahquamenon River by Jim Sorbie

According to Wikipedia’s entry for the 89-mile long Tahquamenon River in the eastern Upper Peninsula:

The river is best known for the Tahquamenon Falls, a succession of two waterfalls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park totalling approximately 73 feet (22 m) in height. Because the headwaters of the river are located in a boreal wetland that is rich in cedar, spruce and hemlock trees, the river’s waters carry a significant amount of tannin in solution (i.e., it is a blackwater river), and are often brown or golden-brown in color. The Tahquamenon Falls are thus acclaimed as being the largest naturally dyed or colored waterfall in the United States.

The meaning of “Tahquamenon” is not known. Some called it the “River of the Head Winds” because they bucked the wind on the lower river no matter what direction they were paddling. Others called it the “River of a Hundred Bends”. Twentieth century descendants of local Chippewa translated the name to mean “river up against a hill” or “lost river island” or “river with an island part way”. In 1930 Jesuit scholar, Father William Gagnieut, concluded that the meaning of the name had been lost.

Jim took this in early July. Check out more in his awesome From the Air gallery on Flickr!

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Michigan’s Island King: James Jesse Strang

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

On July 8th, 1850, James Jesse Strang was crowned king of Beaver Island. Michigan History Magazine shared this article with me years ago:

Despite claiming to be “the perfect atheist,” Strang became a follower of Mormon leader Joseph Smith. When Smith was murdered in March 1844, Strang claimed to be the new Mormon leader, although most Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah.

King James Strang daguerreotype 1856
King James Strang (daguerreotype, 1856)

Strang’s followers settled on an uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan they called Big Beaver. The island had everything Strang and his followers needed: virgin timber, tillable land, a deep and sheltered bay and exceptional offshore fishing. It also was twenty-five miles off the mainland-a perfect place to protect Strang’s followers from outside influences and beliefs.

By the mid-1850s, the Mormon colony on Beaver Island boasted more than 2,500 followers. Beaver Island replaced Mackinac Island as the principal refueling stop for steamers, and the annual value of the kingdom’s exports (fish, wood and potatoes) was considerable.

The growth of Strang’s kingdom was not without controversy. Non-Mormons, called Gentiles, took exception with the Mormon settlement. Driven from the area’s fishing spots, angry over the establishment of a kingdom and Strang’s adoption of the practice of polygamy, the Gentiles vowed revenge. At the bequest of President Millard Fillmore, the U.S. district attorney prosecuted Strang for an assortment of unfounded offenses that included murder and treason. However, Strang was acquitted on all charges, and a year later he was overwhelmingly elected to the state legislature.

Strang ruled Beaver Island as an autocrat; he even had himself crowned king. But regulating every aspect of his followers’ lives led to his downfall. Describing women’s clothes as impractical and unhealthy, Strang decreed female subjects needed to dress in loose, knee-length smocks worn over modest pantaloons. Most Beaver Island women accepted the change, but a few refused to comply. When two women refused to wear pantaloons, Strang had their husbands whipped. The two men sought revenge and on June 16, 1856, they ambushed and shot their king.

On July 9, 1856, James Jesse Strang died from his wounds. He was buried in Wisconsin.

With Strang gone, enraged Gentiles charged onto Beaver Island and evicted the Mormons. After taking control of the Mormon printing office, the attackers printed a manifesto that boasted, “The dominion of King Strang is at an end.”

Andy took this back in 2016. See a lot more in his great Beaver Island, MI album on Flickr!

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Looking over Michigan’s Capitol

Michigan State Capitol Building by Joel Stevens

Michigan State Capitol Building by Joel Steven

Michigan’s current state capitol building is actually our third. Michigan’s Three Capitols explains:

In January 1872, a plan (called “Tuebor,” meaning, “I will defend”) submitted by architect Elijah E. Myers of Springfield, Illinois, was selected. Myers moved to Michigan to supervise construction and lived for the rest of his life in his adopted state.

Construction began in 1872. When the cornerstone of the eagerly-awaited building was laid on October 2, 1873, a ceremony was held which rivaled anything Lansing had seen since becoming the capital a quarter of a century earlier. People thronged to the city in numbers far exceeding its capacity. Private citizens opened their homes and made preparations to feed and shelter the visitors.

Materials for the building came from all over the country and even from abroad. Although the millions of bricks that make up its walls and ceilings were locally made in Lansing, the stone facade came from Ohio, the cast iron for the dome and floor beams from Pennsylvania, and the marble and limestone floors from Vermont. The Board of Commissioners made sure the best materials were selected for the best price—wherever they could be found. The final cost totaled $1,427,738.78, considered modest for the construction of a state capitol during this period.

Read on for much more!

Joel took this close up panorama of the Michigan State Capitol building on June 19th. Check out more of his work on Flickr and for sure follow Joel Steven Photography on Facebook!

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Brilliant Blues at Clear Lake

Clear Lake Montmorency County Michigan by Laurent Fady

Clear Lake by Laurent Fady

How about those blues??!! The Michigan DNR says that Clear Lake State Park in Montmorency County is located within the Mackinaw State Forest and:

…is a quiet, secluded retreat offering a sandy beach and a shallow swimming area that is ideal for children. A metal detecting area is available. The park encompasses two-thirds of the Clear Lake’s shoreline. A trail spur offers Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) riders a direct connection to the Atlanta ORV route and the Michigan Cross Country Cycle Trail.

This State Forest is composed of the northern eight counties of the Lower Peninsula. The Atlanta area of this forest contains over 258,000 acres of state-owned public land. Most of the virgin timber was removed from the forest by the 1920s and has been replaced by second-growth forests managed by the DNR. Deer, elk, turkey and small game are plentiful in the Mackinaw State Forest …elk can be seen and heard throughout the area in the early morning and evening, especially during the spring and fall. Native elk disappeared from Michigan nearly 100 years ago, they were reintroduced in 1918 and have multiplied into a large herd.

Head over to the DNR for trail, camping & disc golf course information.

Laurent took this photo above Clear Lake the other day. Lots more pics in his Aerial Photos of Northern Michigan Gallery on Flickr.

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Out of this world shot from Astronaut Christina Koch!

On Wednesday, NASA astronaut & Grand Rapids native Christina Koch tweeted the photo above that perfectly captures Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula with the caption “Waving to the mitten! Greetings to my friends and family in Michigan. The Great Lakes are as stunning from space as they are in person.”

Indeed!! While Ms. Koch calls North Carolina home now, we appreciate her appreciation for the state she was born in. Even more appreciated is the work she’s doing in space & the contributions to science she’ll make as the new champion in the “longest single spaceflight by a woman” category. The Verge explains:

Koch launched to the ISS on March 14th, along with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. But rather than stay for six months, as most of NASA’s astronauts do, Koch is now slated to remain on the station through February 2020. That means she’ll spend 328 days, or nearly a full year, in orbit, which is one of the longest consecutive stays in space by any NASA astronaut. She’ll just miss beating Scott Kelly’s record of 340 straight days in orbit, the all-time record for a NASA astronaut. But she’ll beat Whitson’s time of 288 consecutive days in space … She’ll just miss beating Scott Kelly’s record of 340 straight days in orbit, the all-time record for a NASA astronaut. But she’ll beat Whitson’s time of 288 consecutive days in space.

The lengthy stay could be helpful for NASA to better understand how long-duration spaceflight affects the human body. While Kelly was in space for his year-long mission, he gave samples of his own blood and did other health analyses so that NASA could see how his body changed while in orbit. The space agency then compared Kelly’s health data to that of his twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who remained on Earth throughout the full year. The experiment revealed a few surprising ways that space messes with the body, like damaging DNA and affecting cognition. NASA noted that Koch’s flight will also add to this growing area of research.

Read on for more at The Verge including plans for NASA’s first all-female space walk & DEFINITELY check out NASA’s photo gallery for Ms. Koch at work (wowzas) and/or all the photos from Expedition 59.

Six Degrees from the White Shoal Lighthouse

White Shoal Lighthouse Aerial, photo by US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

A reader shared a link to this photo with me, and this weekend I met a woman whose husband is a mechanic for the helicopter that took this photo. I thought that was pretty cool, but I also was putting groceries in my car at the local Meijer and a van pulled in a couple of slots down with a “White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society” logo on it! I talked for a bit with Brent who’s heading up the group, and I expect to have updates and photos as they get going with their renovation!

I also noticed that the photo from back in 2009 I had of this light has been removed by the photographer, so here’s the skinny on one of Michigan’s most recognizablelight houses.  White Shoals are located 20 miles east of Mackinac Point and just northwest of Waugoshance Island. So shallow that they break the surface in places, they long presented a hazard to navigation for ships entering the Straits of Mackinac. On his White Shoal Lighthouse page, Terry Pepper relates that beginning in October of 1891, the Lightship LV56 anchored at White Shoal during the shipping season for 19 years. Finally in 1907 funds were appropriated for a permanent lighthouse:

Spring of 1908 saw work begin on the White Shoal light on two separate fronts. While a crew at the site leveled a one hundred and two-foot square area on the shoal through the addition and careful placement of loads of stone, a second crew worked on building a timber crib on shore at St. Ignace. Seventy-two feet square and eighteen and a half feet high, the huge crib contained 400,000 square feet of lumber, and on completion was slowly towed out to the shoal and centered over the leveled lake bottom. Once in location, the crib was filled with 4,000 tons of stone until it sank to a point at which its uppermost surface was level and two feet below the water’s surface.

On top of this crib, a seventy-foot square stone block base was constructed to a total height of four feet, with the remainder of the pier being of poured concrete atop the block base. With the base complete, an acetylene-powered lens lantern was installed atop a temporary steel skeletal tower on December 5th, and with the onset of winter storms, work at the shoal ended for the season.

Seeing the Light has much more about the construction and history of White Shoal Light including shots of the tower and crib under construction and information about lighthouse tours offered by Shepler’s Ferry, on which you can see White Shoal, Waugoshance and Gray’s Reef Lights.

Wikipedia’s entry for the White Shoal Light notes that White Shoal is the only aluminum-topped lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the only ‘barber pole’ lighthouse in the United States and is the lighthouse featured on Michigan’s Save Our Lights license plate. There’s also a link to really cool Google Map of lighthouses in northern Lake Michigan. There’s a few more pics of White Shoal at boatnerd.

View the photo bigger and follow the US Coast Guard Traverse City on Facebook for lots more cool photos from their missions!

More aerial photos & more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

Fog rolling over the Narrows

Fog rolling in over the Narrows, photo by Unique View Photography

Here’s a look at North & South Lake Leelanau with “The Narrows” in between. I live just off the right edge of this picture and thought it was pretty cool how the spring fog completely covered Lake Michigan in this picture, creating a lake of fog!

See the photo bigger on Facebook and follow Elijah on Facebook.

More aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.

The Eyes of the Earth

aerial-shot-sandy-hansen-photography

aerial shot, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of Thoreau’s most beautiful thoughts in my mind, and we are certainly blessed in Michigan to have the eyes of the earth upon us here as they are in few other places.

Sandy says that at the top of the photo are West & East Grand Traverse Bay and then Elk Lake and Lake Skegemog. You can get your bearings and have a little fun exploring the lakes from above in this 3d view from Google Earth.

View her photo bigger and see more including more from this February flight in her Traverse City Area slideshow.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.

Colors of Crisp Point

colors-of-crisp-point-lighthouse

Colors of Crisp Point, photo by John Rothwell

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light says that Crisp Point Lighthouse is located on the Lake Superior coastline between Whitefish Point and Grand Island. It’s one of the most beautiful stretches of shoreline in all of the Midwest and:

It is difficult to imagine that during the 1800’s this stretch of seemingly bucolic coastline was known to mariners as “The Shipwreck Coast,” with the hulks of innumerable vessels pushed onto the shore by violent storms out of the north, or lost in the pea soup fogs which frequently enveloped the area.

Since the early 1850’s, the Lighthouse Board had been working on establishing a series of Lights to guide mariners along this treacherous stretch, with Lights established at Whitefish Point in 1848, Grand Island in 1867, Big Sable Point in 1874 and Grand Marais in 1895. As further witness to the dangers represented by this stretch of coastline, Congress approved the establishment of four life saving stations between Vermilion and Deer Park on June 20, 1874, one of which was designated as Station Ten, and built at an unnamed point approximately fifteen miles west of Whitefish Point. Although David Grummond was appointed as the first keeper at life saving station 10, it would be Christopher Crisp who served as keeper from 1878 until 1890 who would have the most lasting impact on the area, as Crisp became so well known that the point on which the station was established would become forever known as “Crisp’s Point.”

…The station was officially decommissioned in 1994, and without keepers maintaining the protective piers, shoreline erosion had progressed to the point that the lake was lapping at the very base of the tower itself. After the brick service room collapsed in November 1996, the GSA feared that the tower itself was in danger of toppling, and not wishing the responsibility and cost of stabilizing or demolishing the tower, the property was scheduled for auction in 1997.

Ohio visitors Don and Nellie Ross came across the old station, and taken with the natural beauty and history of the location, partnered with a number of area residents to form the Crisp Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, with their charter being the restoration and long term survival of what was left of the station.

Read on for lots more and historical photos. Terry adds that a visit to Crisp Point is a “must” for any lighthouse fans, as it remains one of the most desolate and beautiful locations in all of the Great Lakes. More about the lighthouse and its preservation at crisppointlighthouse.org.

View John’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!