Approaching Storm: the 1225 Polar Express

Approaching Storm by Charles Bonham

Charles caught this shot of another photographer shooting the famous 1225 Polar Express, The 1225 is housed at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso where every year it takes folks on North Pole Express rides during the holiday season. Wikipedia has the story of how the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive became the Polar Express:

Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive.

When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day. Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade.

 

While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.

Lots more  information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute and more about the book right here!

View Charles’ photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Steam Engine, Railroad Photos album.

Holly Jolly

saugatuck-fall-2009-by-richarddemingphotography

Saugatuck Fall 2009, photo by Richard Deming Photography

I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season, which includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, St. Stephen’s Day, Festivus, New Year, and of course general good will and fortune. If an inclusive wish of holiday cheer is in any way offensive, I’d mention the giving and loving spirit of the season and wish you the very best of it!

View Richard’s photo bigger, see more in his Saugatuck Fall 2009 slideshow.

How Pere Marquette 1225 inspired the Polar Express

Pere Marquette 1255

Pere Marquette 1225, photo by Bob Gudas

The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso is home station for the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive aka the Polar Express:

Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive. When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day.

Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade. While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.

Lots more about the Michigan’s largest operating steam locomotive at Wikipedia and information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute.

View Bob’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Michigan Holly or Winterberry

Holly

Holly, photo by Third Son

How like the holly in deep winter time
How like the star in the dark night shine
How like a path on the snow driven plain
How like the candle — how like the flame
How like the winter that promises spring
How like the carol we sing.
~Joel Mabus (How Like the Holly)

The Hope College Biology Nature Preserve has this to say about Michigan Holly (Ilex verticillata: Aquifoliaceae):

Michigan Holly is a medium sized shrub not normally growing taller than 12 feet and usually about 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. It has densely branched stems that grow into a round crown and flower in May and June with small yellow-white flowers. The fruits are highly distinguishable and grows in bright red clusters of small berries, forming in September and October and persisting into mid-winter. Michigan Holly (also known as Winterberry) is dioecious, so both male and female plants are needed for fruit production and only females bear fruits.

Michigan Holly is found throughout Eastern and Central North America, but does not grow well in the West, Southwest, or Lower Midwest because of dry winds and heat. It is found naturally in wetlands and will tolerate standing water or swamps, however, it prefers to grow in well-drained, acidic, damp, loamy or sandy soils and full or partial sun.

Click through for photos and a little more information.

View Third Son’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Early Winter 2015 slideshow.

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures. Also, definitely check out Michigan sonwriter Joel Mabus’s CD How Like the Holly – one of my favorite holiday albums ever!

Tis the Season

Tis the Season

Untitled, photo by Jeff Caverly

Whatever you’re celebrating, I hope that you get the very best from this holiday season and that your life is filled with at least as much beauty & magic as is in this photo!

View Jeff’s photo background big and see more in his slideshow.

 

 

Happy Michigan Indian (Anishinaabek) Day

Odawa Indian Boy

Odawa Indian Boy, photo by Sharon

Michigan Indian Day was established as the 4th Friday in September by the State of Michigan in 1974.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians & Kenny Pheasant, Director of their Anishinaabemowin Program created a cool site to help people learn Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabe nation. The history page begins:

In the beginning, Gizhemanidoo created the universe as we know it today. He created Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon, Mother Earth and Father Sky. And on the earth he created all things, living and nonliving. He created life in the earth, on the earth, in the sky and in the water. He created the plants, rivers, four-legged and winged creatures, and the swimmers. After this was done, he created one of the greatest mysteries of all – the four seasons – to bring harmony and balance to all.

After all creation was complete, he created man. After he created the first Anishinaabe, he came to him in a dream and instructed him that he was to name all things in the language that he gave him, Anishinaabemowin. So the first man went about on his journey and named all things he saw – all the animals, insects, birds and fish – however long this took. Afterward, he spoke to the Creator Gizhemanidoo in his dream and said, “I have finished what you have told me to do.” Then the Creator Gizhemanidoo spoke back to him and said, “Yes, you have indeed done so, and now it is time for me to give you your name. Your name shall be Nanabozho, and whenever your people meet and greet one another, they will say a part of your name. That is why whenever the Anishinaabe people greet one another, they say the word Bozhoo.

Our creation story tells us that we originally migrated to the Great Lakes region from the East Coast. There are many settlements of our original homes that still exist to this day, like Manitoulin Island, the Island of the Great Spirit.

We have always been a nation, and we knew one another as the Anishinaabek. It was not until the French and European settlers arrived on this part of the continent that we became known as the tribes now called Ojibwe, Odawa and Bodwe’aadamiinh.

Read on for more.

Sharon took this at the 2014 Odawa Homecoming Pow Wow in Harbor Springs. View it bigger and see more in her slideshow.

More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.

 

 

Christmas Wishes

November 27th

November 27th, photo by dudesitsgabby

Today is Christmas for me and my family. I hope that whatever today is for you & yours, your life is filled with warmth and love.

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