Steaming into Sunset by Diann
mLive shares that the last coal fired passenger ferry on the Great Lakes, the SS Badger car ferry, is exploring plans to transition from burning coal:
Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. is in the early phases of looking for ways to ditch the coal that currently propels the 410-foot historic ship across Lake Michigan.
“We are just in the early phases at looking at what other options could be viable for the Badger,” said Sara Spore, general manager of Lake Michigan Carferry. “There are not any definite plans, but we know that coal isn’t the long-term solution. We really are starting from scratch and looking at all of our options.”
More at mLive & check out the SS Badger website.
Diann took this shot of the Badger leaving port in Ludington way back in 2008. See more in her Third Coast gallery on Flickr.
More about the SS Badger on Michigan in Pictures.
Ludington Lighthouse by S Hughes Photos
“You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars.”
– Tom Hanks
I feel this Tom Hanks quotation so deeply. Not many experiences on this earth in my book that compare with gazing into the deep night sky.
The photo was taken at the Ludington Light last year. With apologies in advance to the small but vocal minority of anti-Facebook fans, you can see a lot more on S. Hughes’ Facebook page.
Watch the Skies on Christmas Eve by Fire Fighter’s Wife
Beth shares a great sentiment for the holidays or any season: May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve.
About this photo (which I’m still pretty sure is totally authentic) she writes: I wanted to do something I’ve never done and I couldn’t help myself. This year I was so inspired and thought it’d be great to bring out my Christmas album with a bang! This lead me to thinking, with a suggestion from a friend, to add a flying Santa sleigh to the moon. I debated back and forth but decided, it’s Christmas. Step out of the box and do something magical!
Indeed!! See more in her 25 Days of Christmas Gallery on Flickr & never grow up!!
Little Sable Lighthouse 4 by kmoyerus
Visit Ludington explains that Little Sable Point Lighthouse was originally named Petite Pointe Au Sable:
Located in the Silver Lake State Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a 107′ brick structure, constructed in 1874. This lighthouse is one of the tallest in the state of Michigan at over 100 feet and 130 steps to climb the tower. About 30 miles north, you can visit the other “Point” along Lake Michigan which is home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse located within the Ludington State Park.
…it cost $35,000 to build and contained 3 rooms. The rare third order Fresnel lens emitted a constant white light, and flashed a brighter light at set intervals, visible 19 miles into Lake Michigan.
The early 1900s saw some changes to the lighthouse. In 1900 the tower was painted white, and an access road and storage building were added in 1902. The name was changed in 1910 to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, meaning “little point of sand,” representing its location which juts into Lake Michigan. In 1977, the tower paint was removed and the original brick exposed.
Over the years, the lighthouse has had 15 keepers; and for one month, a woman took over when the original keeper took a temporary leave. The Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association took over the maintenance of the lighthouse in 2005, and it is open to the public from late May to late September.
The Light probably looked much the same in the 1870s as it did when kmoyerus took the photo in early May. See more in their Oceana County gallery on Flickr.
Ludington Harbor, photo by Daniel L
View Daniel’s shot of the Ludington Marina (with the SS Badger at the back) bigger and see more in his Ludington slideshow.
North Breakwater Light, photo by Mark Miller
The entry for Ludington North Breakwater Light at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light details a ton of the history of this lighthouse including the reason for its interesting appearance:
Over the summer of 1924, a unique structure took shape at the end of the North Breakwater. The main tower, fabricated of steel plates over an internal steel skeleton, took the form of a four-sided pyramidal tower with four round porthole windows on each of the three decks within. With plans calling for the installation of an air diaphragm fog signal operated by an electrically powered compressor, there was no need for a large fog signal building, and thus the signal building took the form of a relatively small structure integrated into the base of the landward side of the main tower. In order to help protect the structure from the force of waves crashing across the breakwater, the concrete foundation at the base of the structure was formed with angled surfaces designed to deflect the force of wave action up and away from the building.
The white painted tower was capped by a square gallery and an octagonal iron lantern installed at its center. Since the standard lantern design being used by the Lighthouse Service in new construction at this time was of circular conformation with diagonal astragals, it is likely (but unconfirmed) that the lantern used on this new light was transferred from the South Pierhead beacon which the new light was designed to replace.
Click through for more including a number of old photos.
View Mark’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.
More lighthouses and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.
Ludington St. PK, Skyline Trail 2, photo by Jerry Herrendeen
Visit Ludington’s page on Ludington State Park’s trails says:
The Skyline Trail runs along a tall sand dune ridge, on the south side of the river between the footbridge and Hamlin Dam. The trail begins at the west end of the parking lot and exits onto the Sable River Trail. This trail is completely elevated, made even higher by an extensive wooden boardwalk system. Several vistas let you look out over miles of sand dunes and Lake Michigan. On a clear day, you can see 20 miles to the Silver Lake State Park Sand Dunes. On the back side is an area where you can leave the boardwalk and run up and down the steep slope of this sand dune.
Read on for more about other trails at the park and click for the official Ludington State Park page.
View Jerry’s photo background big and see lots more in his Moods of Lake Michigan slideshow.
More Ludington and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.
Icebound Carferries at Ludington, photo courtesy Karl Bahle
The caption reads “Carferries 15, 17, 18 and 19 – Fast in ice at Ludington, Mich March 22, 1913” and from that, I was able to dig up some tasty history! Carferries.com has great information on the Pere Marquette fleet of ferries that was based in Ludington. They say (in part):
At various times between 1897 and 1947, the Pere Marquette operated a total of 13 ferries on Lake Michigan, running between Ludington, Mich. and Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Kewaunee, Wis. These ships were then an efficient means of bypassing the congested rail yards in Chicago. They plied routes varying between 60 and 97 miles in length, and were often plagued by violent storms and heavy ice. Given the fact that most of the cross-lake runs were made at speeds of 12 to 14 miles per hour, a remarkable volume of freight was carried.
In those fifty years the Pere Marquette car ferries made well over 160,000 lake crossings and transported roughly 4.5 million railroad cars loaded with over 75 million tons of freight. Even these numbers are somewhat conservative, as early records no longer exist. They also carried approximately 1.6 million passengers and after the mid-1920’s, about 380,000 automobiles. Additionally, over the course of its history, the railroad operated a total of 4 river car ferries. These ran between Port Huron, Mich. and Sarnia, Ont., and between Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ont., connecting the PM’s Michigan and Canadian lines.
- Pere Marquette 15 – launched in December of 1896 as the original Pere Marquette. She reportedly burned 30 tons of coal on an 1897 round trip from Ludington to Milwaukee. In 1924, the vessel was renamed Pere Marquette 15, and scrapped in Manitowoc in 1935.
- Pere Marquette 17 – launched in 1901, hauled 2 “Jack Johnson” battleship guns in 1915, sold to the State of Michigan to be the car ferry “City of Petoskey” <-great info and photos there!
- Pere Marquette 18 – here’s where the history gets a little murky, as the ship that was launched in 1902 sank in 1910 off Sheboygan, Wisconsin,
so either the date is wrong on the photo above or that’s another ship! UPDATE: Karl informed me that the original 18 did sink in 1910, a new one was put into service in 1911 and sailed until 1954!
- Pere Marquette 19 launched in 1903, ran aground numerous times before being sold for scrap in 1940. She was reduced to a barge profile and renamed the Hilda.
If you’re wondering “What happened to Pere Marquette 16?” that link has great info on the 16, only wooden car ferry in their fleet!
View Karl’s photo bigger and check out his Lake Boats album for many more photos!
Cold Air Waterspouts, photos by Debbie Maglothin
If you live along the Great Lakes, chances are you’ve seen a waterspout from time to time. While waterspouts are typically formed when cold air moves over warm water in late summer or early fall, occasionally the reverse can happen.
Debbie Maglothin took several photos of cold air waterspouts over Lake Michigan off the Ludington State Park beach. WZZM 13 meteorologist Alana Nehring explains how they form:
A drastic temperature difference between the air an water is required. In the most recent event, water temperatures were near 32 degrees while air temperatures were closer to 10 degrees.
A steady breeze needs to be present to jump-start the process of evaporation.
In most cases, this is also how lake-effect snow is produced but in some unique situations, a slight twisting motion will occur in the steam above the water. If it is maintained long enough, eventually weak funnels will develop.
Click the pics to view them bigger and follow Debbie on Facebook at Cha Bella Photography.
More Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures.