Michilimackinac and Pontiac’s Rebellion

The Fort and the Bridge

The Fort and the Bridge, photo by Joel Dinda

Mackinac State Historic Parks page on Colonial Michilimackinac says that:

French soldiers constructed the fortified community of Michilimackinac on the south side of the Straits of Mackinac in 1715. The community grew and prospered over the coming years as Michilimackinac became an important center of the Great Lakes fur trade. Every summer, thousands of Native Americans and French-Canadian voyageurs gathered at the post, which served as transfer station for furs trapped in the western Great Lakes and trade goods shipped in from eastern cities such as Montreal and Quebec. Michilimackinac came under British control in 1761, but the fur trade and community life remained relatively unchanged.

Fearful that the post was vulnerable to attack by American rebels, the British disassembled the fort and community and moved it to Mackinac Island in 1779-81.

One factor in the move may also have been an event that happened 252 years ago on June 2, 1763. The fort was captured by Ojibwa & Sauk warriors who gathered to play a huge game of baggatiway. Elizabeth Edwards of Traverse Magazine wrote a great article about the massacre that begins:

Under an unusually hot sun on a late spring day on the Straits of Mackinac, British Major George Etherington, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, was suffering from an acute case of cultural blindness. And there was no excuse for it. Relaxed at the sidelines of a rousing game of baggatiway (similar to lacrosse) outside the fort, the major should have seen the danger signs in this Ojibwe versus Sauk contest of sweaty, half-naked bodies painted with white clay and charcoal.

The 30-year-old officer was born in the colonies, and most likely grew up on stories of Indian uprisings. He’d even served in the just-ending French and Indian War, in which the English had wrested control of North America from the French—a victory that had put this previously French fort in Etherington’s care. Though the major had been raised on American soil and had fought on it, he was still English. And in that country, a battle was a battle, and a sporting event was a sporting event.

Perhaps that explains why the major missed the clues…

Read on for much more at Traverse, and you can also watch a video on Pontiac’s Rebellion from the History Channel or jump right to the story.

Joel adds that almost every building at Colonial Michilimackinac is a reconstruction, with only two or three minor exceptions. View his photo background bigtacular and see more from the fort and surrounding area in his Straits of Mackinac slideshow.

Bridge to the North

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Dan Moran

If you want to call this the world’s most beautiful bridge, you’ll get no argument from me.

View Dan’s photo background bigtacular and settle into his slideshow for a couple more amazing shots from Michigan. Then – because everyone needs a vacation every so often – keep watching for some jaw-dropping pics from Alaska. Seriously: wow, wow, WOW.

There’s lots more winter wallpaper and lots more of the Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures.

Happy New Year!

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.

Over the River…

Wintry Seven Bridges

Wintry Seven Bridges, photo by Heather Higham

AAA Michigan reports that about 1.5 million Michiganders are heading over the river and through the woods for the Thanksgiving holiday. The good news is that gas prices are the lowest since 2009 – down 40 cents from last year. The bad news is another weather system that’s dropping freezing rain & snow, closing schools and

View Heather’s photo bigger and see more in her Rivers slideshow. She took the photo at the Seven Bridges Natural Area near Kalkaska.

There’s more rivers and more bridges on Michigan in Pictures.

Fall Color at the Cut River Bridge

Cut River Bridge

Cut River Bridge and Fall Color, photo by Manistique Michigan

The page on the Cut River Bridge at Historic Bridges begins:

Among Michigan’s largest and most well-known historic bridges is the iconic Cut River Bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge is large enough that MDOT actually has maintained this bridge as an area attraction. Surrounding the bridge is a roadside park and a series of trails around the bridge. The intent to make this bridge something more than just a crossing goes back before this bridge’s status as a historic bridge to its initial construction. The bridge was designed as an attraction even when it was built, since sidewalks above the bridge in this rural area are present. Also, a set of stairways, part of the original design, take pedestrians under the bridge where they can view the supporting trusses. The abutments and piers were also given unusually exceptional detail, in particular the use of decorative stone facing. The two main piers give the appearance are attractive cut stone arches.

The bridge includes a total of 888 tons of steel and its height over the Cut River is 147 feet. It offers views of Lake Michigan from its deck. The bridge was originally painted a silver color, but is today painted green. This bridge is a steel deck cantilever truss bridge. This structure type is much more common in more hilly states like Pennsylvania, but is extremely rare in Michigan. The structure has visual complexity as a result of the extensive lattice and v-lacing on its riveted, built-up members, which are all very massive, typical for both a bridge of its size and its age. The bridge retains original standard-plan metal guardrails (Michigan’s “signature” type R4 railings) on the sidewalks that flank the roadway on each side. It also retains standard Michigan State Highway Department plaques.

Read on for lots more about this bridge that was constructed in the early 1940s. If you do make it to Cut River, do yourself a favor and hike down – it’s very cool!

View the photo bigger and see lots more autumn splendor at the Manistique Facebook page. and learn about the community at Manistique.com.

More bridges on Michigan in Pictures!

 

#TBT: Frozen Straits

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Mark Miller

OK, we’re not throwing back too far for this Thursday, but I wanted to share a really cool view that Mark took this February of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac locked in the grip of the Polar Vortex.

View his photo bigger and see more great views of Michigan from above in his Aerials slideshow. You can also see one of his aerial photos of the Straits from last August on Michigan in Pictures.

There’s more aerials and more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

Sunset for the Ambassador: New Bridge Plan Coming Today

This is Ambassador Bridge - connects the USA and Canada.( a view from Detroit side). Picture taken during the "blue hour" Please enjoy the view the way I did.

This is Ambassador Bridge…, photo by MaRia Popi Photography

Sunset, or at least twilight has arrived for the privately owned Ambassador Bridge. The AP is reporting that there’s now a deal for the long-discussed bridge between Detroit & Windsor:

Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder have called a news conference Wednesday about the planned new $2 billion bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Snyder’s office said Tuesday that Raitt and the governor “will make an announcement regarding the New International Trade Crossing” at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Canadian Club Heritage Center in Windsor.

The governor’s and transport minister’s offices declined immediate comment Tuesday on the nature of the announcement.

Michigan and Canadian leaders have agreed to build the bridge over the Detroit River between Windsor and Detroit’s southwest side.

Officials say Canada would finance construction of the bridge, which would open in 2020.

Definitely view Maria’s photo background bigtacular for the full impact and see more in her Detroit slideshow.

The Making of the Mackinac Bridge

Bridge_HDR2.jpg

Bridge HDR 2, photo by Allison Hopersberger

A calm night on the Straits of Mackinac, and Michigan’s signature bridge was looking fine!

I’ve posted a ton about the Mighty Mackinac Bridge here on Michigan in Pictures, but had never seen this excellent summary of how it came to be courtesy the Michigan Dept. of Transportation’s page on I-75 and the Straits of Mackinac:

The five-mile stretch of water separating Michigan’s two peninsulas, the result of glacial action some twelve thousand years ago, has long served as a major barrier to the movement of people and goods. The three railroads that reached the Straits of Mackinac in the early 1880s, the Michigan Central and the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railway from the south, and the Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette from the north, jointly established the Mackinac Transportation Company in 1881 to operate a railroad car ferry service across the straits. The railroads and their shipping lines developed Mackinac Island into a major vacation destination in the 1880s.

Improved highways along the eastern shores of Michigan’s lower peninsula brought increased automobile traffic to the straits region starting in the 1910s. The state of Michigan initiated an automobile ferry service between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City in 1923 and eventually operated eight ferry boats. In peak travel periods, particularly during deer season, five mile backups and delays of four hours or longer became common at the state docks at Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

With increased public pressure to break this bottleneck, the Michigan legislature established a Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority in 1934, with the power to issue bonds for bridge construction. The bridge authority supported a proposal first developed in 1921 by Charles Evan Fowler, the bridge engineer who had previously promoted a Detroit-Windsor bridge. Fowler’s plans called for an island-hopping route from the city of Cheboygan to Bois Blanc, Round, and Mackinac islands, thence to St. Ignace, along a twenty-four-mile route. The Public Works Administration flatly rejected a request for loans and grants to implement this project.

A plan was then drawn up for a direct crossing from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace, but they were again denied funds. In 1940, a plan was submitted for a suspension bridge with a main span of 4600 feet. This design was a larger version of the ill-fated Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, a structure destroyed by high winds on November 7, 1940. Although the disaster delayed any further action, the activities of 1938-1940 nevertheless produced some important results. The bridge authority conducted a series of soundings and borings across the straits and built a causeway extending out 4200 feet from the St. Ignace shore. The Second World War ended any additional work, and the Legislature abolished the bridge authority in 1947.

William Stewart Woodfill, president of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, almost singlehandedly resuscitated the dream of a bridge across the Straits of Mackinac. Woodfill formed the statewide Mackinac Bridge Citizens Committee in 1949 to lobby for a new bridge authority, which the legislature created in 1950. A panel of three prominent engineers conducted a feasibility study and made recommendations to the bridge authority on the location, structure, and design of the bridge.

The State Highway Department, which had just placed a $4.5 million ferryboat, Vacationland, into service at the straits in January 1952, remained hostile to the bridge plan. In April 1952, the Michigan legislature authorized the bridge authority to issue bonds for the project, choose an engineer, and proceed with construction. The authority selected David B. Steinman as the chief engineer in January 1953 and tried unsuccessfully to sell the bridge bonds in April 1953, but by the end of the year, the authority had sold the $99.8 million in revenue bonds needed to begin construction.

View Allison’s photo bigger and see LOTS more in her Mackinac Island slideshow!

Michigan Nut’s 2015 Calendar

Moonlit-on-the-Mighty-Mac

Moonlit on the Mighty Mac, photo by John McCormick/Michigan Nut Photography

If you’ve been following Michigan in Pictures for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the work of John McCormick aka Michigan Nut.

John has just released his 2015 Michigan Wild & Scenic Wall Calendar, and you can get it for just $15. As an added bonus, if you head over to like his post about it on Facebook, you have a chance to win a free one!

The photo above of the Mackinac Bridge is not only the cover of the calendar, it’s also the photo for June. View (and purchase) John’s photo bigger at MichiganNutPhotography.com, see more in his Michigan Bridges Gallery and definitely follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook for a regular dose of photographic awesome from the Great Lakes State!

There’s lots more from John on Michigan in Pictures too!!

 

Stone Bridge

DSC_3754

Untitled, photo by erin naylor

One of the fun things about Michigan in Pictures for me is that I get to see interesting and out-of-the-way places like this!

View Erin’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her slideshow.

More bridges on Michigan in Pictures.