Shipwreck Saturday: The Wreck of the Minnehaha

Taking on Water

Taking on Water, photo by Aaron Springer

“She was built in 1880 [by Linn & Craig in Gibralter, Michigan] and has been unfortunate from the start. Two years ago [in 1891] she was wrecked near Detour [at the north end of Lake Huron], and remained on the rocks all winter, being abandoned to the underwriters, who finally rescued the wreck and sold it.”
~ Buffalo Evening News Monday, October 16, 1893

Historic Arcadia Michigan tells the tale of The Wreck of the Minnehaha:

In October of 1893, the steam barge Henry J. Johnson was towing the Minnehaha from Chicago bound for Point Edward at the south end of Lake Huron with 58,000 bushels of corn. At 7:30 PM on October 13, the two ships found themselves off Point Betsie facing 90 mile per hour gale force winds. They tried to find shelter behind the Manitou Islands, but at dawn the next day, they were still south of Sleeping Bear Point fighting high winds and waves to stay out of shallow water.

Captain Benniteau of the Johnson decided to turn the ships south and head to Frankfort, the nearest refuge. However, somewhere near Frankfort high waves crashed over the Minnehaha’s deck, smashed two hatch covers, and began filling the hold with water. William Parker, captain of the Minnehaha, realizing his ship was in serious trouble, sent up distress signals, released the tow lines, and headed for the beach. There was nothing the crew of the Johnson could do but avoid the same shallow water.

The Minnehaha ran aground about a quarter of a mile offshore between Burnham and Arcadia. To avoid the waves sweeping the decks, all but one member of the crew, who drowned trying to swim to shore, climbed into the ship’s rigging. As the ship was breaking up, the captain called to the crew to grab whatever would float and go over the side anyway. But only the captain made it to shore safely. One crew member made it to a pier, but was too tired to hold onto a pole used to try to pull him to safety.

Read on for much more including photos of the Minnehaha.

Check out Aaron’s photo bigger where he also has a pic of the wreck in calm water and see many more of his great photos of Lake Michigan.

More Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures!

Sunlight Sighting

Sunlight Sighting, Frankfort Michigan

Sunlight Sighting, Frankfort Michigan, photo by Aaron Springer

Today’s photo of the  the approach of Frankfort’s North Breakwater was taken a few hundred feet from yesterday’s pic.

View it bigger and see lots more of Aaron’s great Lake Michigan photos on Flickr.

Fence in the sunset for a Friday

Fence in the sunset

Fence in the sunset, photo by Noah Sorensen

It looks like we have a little bit of warmer weather on the way, and I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

View Noah’s photo from Frankfort Harbor background bigtacular and follow him at mcsorensens on Instagram for lots more!

Sunsets, snow or winter wallpaper? Michigan in Pictures has them all!

Frankfort Ice Cave

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Frankfort Ice Cave, photo by Sarah Hunt (oni_one_)

“Love lingers when the heart remembers to touch the light leaking from the soul.”
~R.M. Drake

Here’s a pretty incredible shot from Sunday in Frankfort Harbor.

Lots more great shots from outdoors in Michigan on Sarah’s Instagram. I’ll post this one and another shot bigger on the michpics Facebook.

In addition to being a pretty great photographer with a penchant for adventure, Sarah is an ambassador for Outdoor Bella, a community of strong women who are building strong relationships and lasting friendships and love to embrace the outdoors. She’s hosting a snowshoe hike meetup at 9:30am on Sunday, March 1st at the Sleeping Bear Point Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, followed by lunch at Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor following the hike. Get all the details right here.

Inside Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse original Fresnel lens

Point Betsie Lighthouse original Fresnel lens, photo by 22 North Photography

Point Betsie Lighthouse is located on the shore of Lake Michigan just north of Frankfort. It has the distinction of being Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse, and now you can take your photography indoors! The Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse detail the restoration of the lighthouse and grounds and say:

The first floor is now an exhibition area depicting the history of the lighthouse and the lifesaving operations of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and U.S. Coast Guard at Point Betsie. The rehabilitation process included the installation of all new utility components in the quarters, restoration of the interior walls and floors, and the complete renewal of the tower and lantern. Funding for these projects came from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program and a distinctive “Save America’s Treasures” award from the Federal Government, along with necessary matching contributions by Point Betsie’s private donors.

One key donation was for the restoration of the Victorian staircase in the assistant keeper’s quarters, a major gift in memory of former Assistant Keeper Henry LaFreniere and his wife Hattie. The stairway provides access to a beautiful two-bedroom vacation apartment, the rent from which is an important source of revenue for the light station. Another important historic contribution consisted of radiators that had previously heated Point Betsie’s adjacent Coast Guard station.

As the interior rehabilitation was moving forward, many gifts of furnishings and other period-appropriate items were donated or loaned to the Friends group for display and use. Other items, especially for the apartment, were carefully selected for purchase. The hopes of many Point Betsie devotees were realized when the beautiful Fourth-order Fresnel lens which provided the station’s sweeping beam for about a century was returned by the Coast Guard for display on the lighthouse’s first floor.

You can head over to the Point Betsie Lighthouse site for hours and also click over to the Michigan in Pictures Facebook for a few more photos of the new displays!

View the photo bigger and see more in the Inside Point Betsie gallery on Facebook.

More Point Betsie on Michigan in Pictures!

A Lighthouse a day keeps the winter away

Frankfort Lighthouse by 22 north

Dawn at Frankfort North Breakwater Light, photo by 22 North Photography

22 North Photography has declared February as Lighthouse Month, sharing 28 Michigan lighthouses in 28 days. Day 1 is the Frankfort North Breakwater Light which marks the entrance to Betsie Lake and the Betsie River in Frankfort.

View the photo bigger on Facebook, keep up on their Facebook page and also see the 22 North Photography website.

Many more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

Going for the gold

SUP'rs ... going for the 'gold'

SUP’rs … going for the ‘gold’, photo by Ken Scott

It’s hard to believe that Summer 2013 is almost in the books. I hope you’ve had fun and that you get a chance to grab a little more “summer gold” this weekend!!

Check this out bigger and see more in Ken’s Benzie slideshow.

Into the Maelstrom: Winter Surfing in Frankfort

Frankfort Winter Surfing

Frankfort Winter Surfing, photo by lomeranger.

Sure, you’re crazy. But are you crazy enough for 17′ waves and 40 degree water?

See this photo from Frankfort bigger and purchase if you want at Jason’s Zenfolio.

More Michigan surfing on Michigan in Pictures!

Frankfort North Breakwater Light

Frankfort Lights by Jason Lome

Frankfort Lights, photo by lomeranger.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Coast Guard has given the Frankfort Lighthouse to the City of Frankfort under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. It’s one of 15 historic light stations in Michigan that have been transferred at no cost to nonprofits and government agencies.

The Frankfort North Breakwater Light entry at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light details the long history of the lights at Frankfort Harbor and says that:

By 1924, the total car ferry tonnage through Frankfort Harbor was twenty five times greater than that prior to the establishment of the ferries. To better serve this vital commerce, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a pair of reinforced concrete arrowhead-type breakwaters at the harbor entrance in order to create a large stilling basin to protect the opening into the harbor. With the completion of these breakwaters in the early 1930’s, the twin piers at the entry into Lake Betsie no longer served any purpose. With plans in place to shorten them into short stub piers, the North Pierhead Light was lifted from the pier onto the deck of a barge and carried out to the end of the North Breakwater. A square steel base 25 feet in height had been erected on the end of the breakwater to receive it, and the tower was lifted onto the new base. After being bolted into position, the new tower stood 67 feet in height from the upper level of the pier to the top of the lantern ventilator ball. By virtue of its location on the concrete pier, the light stood at a focal plane of 72 feet, and the 17,000 candlepower incandescent electric light within the Fourth Order Fresnel was visible for a distance of 16 miles in clear weather.

Be sure to click for much more including some very cool old photo of the South Pier fog bells and the story of captain George Tifft, who more or less founded Frankfort when his schooner was driven into Lake Betsie.

See this photo bigger, in Jason’s fantastic ice slideshow, and purchase prints on his photography website.

Michigan in Pictures has a great vintage postcard of the Frankfort Light in winter and you can see the tower in this shot by jimflix from the Absolute Michigan pool.

Frankfort Beach & North Breakwater Light in Winter

Benzie Vintage Winter Frankfort Beach Card looking South to the pod Pier and Lighthouse

Benzie Vintage Winter Frankfort Beach Card looking South to the pod Pier and Lighthouse, photo by UpNorth Memories – Donald (Don) Harrison.

The Frankfort North Breakwater Light in the picture is one of three Michigan lighthouses that the Coast Guard is offloading.

Be sure to check this out background bigtacular Don’s Benzie vintage winter slideshow has more wintertime views from Northern Michigan.

Everyone OK with a little more summer?