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!

High above Houghton, Michigan

Houghton Michigan

goodnight, pretty little town, photo by brockit, inc.

This wonderful photo made me want to know more about Houghton, Michigan, so here’s an edited profile of Houghton via Wikipedia:

Houghton is located on the south shore of Portage Lake, across from Hancock. (see map) Native Americans mined copper in and around what would later be Houghton thousands of years before European settlement. French explorers had noted its existence in the area as early as the seventeenth century, and in 1772 Alexander Henry had prospected for copper on the Ontonagon River near Victoria. When Horace Greeley said, “Go West, young man” he wasn’t referring to gold, but rather the copper rush in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

The city is named after Douglass Houghton, physician-naturalist on Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s Lake Superior expedition whose 1841 report on the quantity and superior qualities of UP copper earned him the title of “father of copper mining in the United States.” The news brought many Cornish and Finnish immigrants to the area, along with smaller numbers of French-Canadian immigrants arrived in Houghton (or Copper Island as they called it) to work in the copper mines. These groups have had and continue to have a great influence on the area’s culture and cuisine.

In Houghton’s first days it was said that “only thieves, crooks, murderers and Indians” lived there. The post Civil War boom and increasing demand for copper wiring fueled the development of Houghton in the 1860s and 1870s. The Keweenaw Waterway, a dredging and extension of the Portage Lake, the Portage Shipping Canal and Lily Pond that turned the northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula into “Copper Island” was completed in 1873. By 1880 Houghton had become “a burgeoning city” and in 1883, the railroad was extended from Marquette.

The last nearby mines closed in the late 1960s, but in 1885 the Michigan State Legislature foundedthe Michigan College of Mines to teach metallurgy and mining engineering. The school continues today as Michigan Technological University – the primary employer in the city.

Houghton has the distinction of being the birthplace of professional ice hockey in the United States when the Portage Lakers were formed in 1903, and Houghton’s Dee Stadium (formerly the Amphidrome) is the home of the Portage Lake Pioneers Senior Hockey Team.

Click for more from Wikipedia and please feel free to share tidbits in the comments.

View Adam’s photo background bigilicious on Facebook and definitely follow brockit for tons more cool photos!

More Houghton on Michigan in Pictures.

Sailor’s Delight on Crispell Lake

Sailors Delight

Sailor’s Delight, photo by Maury Page

Maury shares:

This photo was taken at Crispell Lake in Clarklake, MI on a calm, summer evening. I couldn’t capture the sun rays from where I was standing, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out my new drone. There were only a couple boats on the lake and it was a nice quiet night. When I was capturing this scene it just so happened that a bird flew into the frame at the perfect moment.

Regarding Crispell Lake, Lake Link says:

Crispell Lake is located in Jackson County, Michigan. This lake is 82 acres in size. It is approximately 25 feet deep at its deepest point. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Grass Pickerel, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, Walleye and Yellow Perch.

View Maury’s photo bigger,  check out more on his Instagram at mopage19 and also on his website.

More lakes on Michigan in Pictures.

Above Frankfort Harbor

Above Frankfort Harbor

Frankfort Harbor, photo by Julie

My friend Enrico of Traverse Today and his sons shared a great aerial video from Frankfort the other day:

Julie took this stunning shot last Saturday. View her photo bigger and see more in her Drone shots slideshow.

Lots more from Frankfort on Michigan in Pictures.

Breaking Free at Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls aerial view

Aerial View, photo by Julie

Julie got this cool shot of the Tahquamenon Falls throwing off winter’s grip at the beginning of the month. Now it looks like winter is going to strike back. Via the Detroit news and Sara Schultz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake, a winter storm is arriving today:

“We’re looking at the heaviest snowfall north of Saginaw, in the Thumb area and then to the north and west of that, and then of course the lower northern Michigan areas, where they could see six-plus inches of snow.”

A winter storm watch will be in effect Wednesday morning through early Thursday evening for areas north of Interstate 69, Schultz said.

“We’re looking at areas south of I-69 as mostly rain,” she said. “Between Flint and Saginaw, we’re looking at accumulation of snow and ice; just some light accumulation.”

Schultz cautioned that the forecast remains flexible as the storm enters the state. “That rain/snow line along I-69, if it shifts just a little it could throw off everything,” she said.

View Julie’s photo bigger and see more in her 366/2016 slideshow.

More Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures.

The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena, photo by Elijah Allen

Here’s a shot by a friend taken just north of me showing the incredible fall color that’s still out there along the Lake Michigan coast. It was taken from off Omena Point at the northern part of the Leelanau Peninsula, so how about a little Omena history courtesy the Omena Historical Society?

The Omena settlement had its beginnings when Aghosa Indians started arriving in 1850. In 1852, the Reverend Peter Dougherty and a band of Ottawas and Chippewas led by Chief Ahgosa moved from the present-day Old Mission Peninsula to a beautiful little bay on the Leelanau Peninsula’s eastern side. Chief Shabwasung and his Ottawa band were already encamped on the point to the north of the bay, on land Chief Ahgosa and his families from Old Mission had purchased. Ahgosa settled a little to the north, and his village became Ahgosatown. Both bands became part of the New Mission, soon to be called Omena.

Young George A. Craker came with Dougherty and taught farming to students in the mission school, and he and his descendants became active workers in Dougherty’s Grove Hill New Mission Church. Now called the Omena Presbyterian Church, it was dedicated in 1858 and has stood as the oldest Protestant Church in Leelanau County and one of the oldest historical landmarks in Northern Michigan. The Ahgosa family was also very active and some are now buried in the mission cemetery.

Click through to read more and for some historical photos of Omena.

View Elijah’s photo bigger on Facebook and scroll though when you get there for more!

More aerial photos, more history and more Leelanau on Michigan in Pictures.

Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Lower Harbor Ore Dock, photo by Rudy Malmquist

Travel Marquette shares the story of the Iron Ore Dock in Marquette’s Upper Harbor is also known as the Presque Isle Dock.

The dock was built in 1911 and is still commercially active. Each year approximately 9.5 to 10 million tons of ore are shipped from this dock. The dock is owned and operated by the Cliffs Natural Resources. This steel-framed dock is 1,250 feet long and 60 feet wide, with the top deck sitting 75 feet above the water level. It contains 200 pockets, each of which has a capacity of 250 tons of ore, for a total storage capacity of 50,000 tons. Supporting the dock is a foundation of 10,000 wooden piles enclosed by a 12-inch thick timber sheet plank wall filled with sand.

After being mined the ore is crushed and the iron separated out with either a chemical or magnetic process. The iron is combined with a binding agent (a glorified cornstarch) and rolled into small balls roughly an inch in diameter. The balls are fed through a kiln and fired by temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees F. The result is Taconite Pellets which are loaded on the ore boats and shipped. Most of the pellets shipped from the Presque Isle dock go to Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario the largest integrated steel mill. These pellets, which are roughly 70% iron, will be combined with coke and limestone at the mill to make steel.

The ore comes to the dock via railcars and is dumped into steel “pockets” or bins beneath the tracks. To load the boat, the chute is lowered to the open cargo hatch and a door at the bottom of the pocket opens, allowing the pellets to run into the boat shown in the picture. Loading time is variable, depending on the size of the boat and how prepared the dock is to load. Four hours is typical. Loading is the responsibility of the First Mate. It is important to load the ore in a proper sequence to avoid over-stressing the boat unevenly. Each chute (or drop of ore) is about 20 tons.

View Rudy’s photo big as the sky and see more in his slideshow.

More Marquette and more aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.