Good Harbor is located on the northern edge of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Lake Michigan end of County Road 651. Today only evidence of the vanished village are the pilings of what was once a 500' dock that could load 4 schooners at a time. The Good Harbor page from the Lakeshore explains that logging in the area began in 1863 to supply cordwood fuel for steamers, leading to the founding of a village in the 1870s.
Shortly after 1880 (Henry) Schomberg bought out Schwartz's interest and built a big sawmill which had a capacity of 30,000 feet in a 10-hour day.
...The Schomberg Lumber Company ran a hotel, two stores which became a shopping center for the local farmers, and a saloon. The township line between Centerville and Cleveland townships ran down the middle of Main Street in Good Harbor. Centerville did not allow saloons, so Good Harbor's saloon was built on the Cleveland township side of the street ... At the height of the lumber business, the mill worked day and night during the winter and during the day in the summer. As many as 75 teams of horses were used hauling logs to the mill, lumber to the dock, and supplies to the camps. The lumber company owned some of the teams and the rest were owned by local farmers and rented to the lumber company. At its peak, the mill cut 8,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.
The schooners were loaded by farmers who were called to work at the dock when the ships arrived. Good Harbor had no protection from storms with a northwest wind, so ships had to leave the dock and sail to the Manitou Islands for protection when a storm would come up. Sometimes storms would come up too fast and the ships were driven aground.
Last weekend, Leelanau resident Leda Olmsted came across a rare phenomenon on the Lake Michigan shore at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. From a feature in the Grand Rapids Press:
Sleeping Bear Park Ranger Amie Lipscomb said no weird weather is required to create the ice boulders. The rounded ice forms the same way the rounded and smooth stones that wash up on the beach form. Chunks of ice break off from the large sheets that form over Lake Michigan. Waves tumble and pummel the ice, rounding and smoothing edges, Lipscomb said. The waves then wash the boulders up on shore.
Recent high winds have whipped up strong waves along Lake Michigan.
"Along the shoreline, lots of different ice formations form because of the waves crashing along the beach," Lipscomb said.
2012 was the warmest year on record according to NOAA, the nation's climate monitoring service. The Midwest was also in the grip of a severe drought. Those two factors have led to the lowest water levels in history for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which is considered one body of water hydrologically. The impact of the low lake levels on those who live on the Great Lakes is heavy.
Leland Harbor is the heart of a northern Michigan town. The small town is quiet in the winter, but the population jumps ten-fold in the summer when tourists flock to the harbor, beaches and quaint shops. That tourist economy is now in jeopardy because of the dramatic drop in Lake Michigan's water level.
Harbor master Russel Dzuba said the lake is down more than two feet from its average, and that drop is threatening to close the harbor.
“The economic impact this harbor has on the community is strong. And when things are slow, the guy at the grocery store, the guy at the restaurant comes down and asks me what's going on. They want to know,” said Dzuba. “So, it’s an economic punch that we hate to think what happens if we cant keep that channel open.”
As of December 18, Lake Michigan water levels virtually matched a record low set back in 1964.
Andy Knott, executive director of The Watershed Center in Greilickville, says the level was computed at 576.14 feet above sea level, just .02 higher than the 48-year-old mark, bringing with it all sorts of ecological and economic problems.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers measures Great Lakes water levels daily. Mackinaw City is the closest reporting station to Traverse City.
“The water level of Lake Superior is 1 inch lower than its level of one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 17 inches lower than its level from last year,” the Corps says in a December 14 report. “Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 21, 24 and 14 inches, respectively, than their levels of a year ago.”
And the Corps says levels will fall over the next month in all Great Lakes.
Wikipedia says that the Francisco Morazan was a 1,442 GRT cargo ship that was built in 1922 as Arcadia by Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, for German owners. She was sold in 1924 and renamed Elbing She was seized by the Allies in the River Elbe, Germany in May 1945, passed to the United Kingdom's Ministry of War Transport and renamed Empire Congress. In 1946, she was allocated to the Norwegian Government and renamed Brunes.
Brunes was sold into merchant service in 1947 and renamed Skuld In 1948, another sale saw her renamed Ringas. In 1958, she was sold to Liberia and renamed Los Mayas and then Francisco Morazan (for Francisco Morazán) the following year. She served until 29 November 1960 when she ran aground in Lake Michigan and was declared a total loss.
This free photo walk starts at the Glen Haven Cannery Boathouse is open to anyone with a camera who loves to take pictures and enjoys meeting fellow photo enthusiasts. They had over 50 people last year from all over the Great Lakes region last year, so sign up fast right here to make sure you are on the list!!
The Inland Seas Education Association invites you to attend the free Great Lakes Seminar on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm at the Inland Seas Education Center in Suttons Bay.
The guest this month is Mark Breederland of Michigan Sea Grant. Mark will provide an update on the potential for invasion of Asian Carp in our Great Lakes. His talk will also highlight the findings of recent detection work, discuss different views regarding the ability of Asian Carp to become established in the Great Lakes and their tributaries and review state and federal actions to mitigate future threats of introduction.
This event is free and open to the public. For information call 231-271-3077 or visit schoolship.org.
While we're on the subject, here's some of what Michigan Sea Grant has to say about Asian Carp: (more...)