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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter Wednesday Postcard Promenade #3: Up the West Coast of Michigan


It's that time of the week again, Wednesday, and time for more of my old postcards. Today we begin down in southwest Michigan, in St. Joseph, and will tour north along the Lake Michigan shore. Hey, you guys! Turn those cars around and head north!


Doesn't this simple trail of a road down by Douglas, Michigan, look inviting? The next two views are of long-ago Saugatuck:



Then it's on to Grand Haven, where I would swear there was an Atlantic City-style boardwalk and carnival rides in the Sixties, even saltwater taffy. Did I dream that visit to the shore with my sister and our respective boyfriends? This Grand Haven scene obviously predates whatever experience I had or didn't have there.


Ludington comes next. Doesn't this reminder make you want to jump in the car and drive to Ludington--or, if you're over in Wisconsin, drive your car onto the ferry to ride across the Lake?


And now we come to Sleeping Bear! The dune climb is still part of the National Lakeshore, but there are no more dunesmobiles, either the original or these later models.





(The ominous shadow over the dunes is not that of a UFO but only me with my camera, looming over the postcard.)

Between Glen Arbor and Leland, in the not-so-distant old days, at the intersection of M-22 and one of the roads back around Little Traverse Lake, you used to be able to take a stroll through Lund's Scenic Gardens, where scenes from the New Testament were displayed as life-size paintings. In the latter days of this attraction, when admission was free to any wanderer, coming upon one of these scenes in the tangled jungle of woods and weeds was particularly eerie.


Finally, here's Fishtown--


Fishtown in Leland. Who doesn't recognize Fishtown? Most of the shacks are still there, housing summer retail businesses. Carlson's Fisheries still sells fresh and smoked fish and smoked fish sausage. They go out themselves and catch the fish.

Where shall we go next week? To a big Michigan city? Which one? Detroit? Grand Rapids? Lansing? Or to the U.P.? Mackinac Island? The Keewanaw? Or to a few little inland towns here in the lower peninsula? I'm open to suggestions.

16 comments:

Mr G said...

These postcards are grrreat!!!

P. J. Grath said...

Is that Mr. G or Tony the Tiger talkin'? I thought it was a comment on last week's Kellog Co. postcard.

flandrumhill said...

The image of Fishtown looks a lot like the Crick in nearby Eastern Passage. I think I've seen a similar photo on a Nova Scotia postcard.

Part of the charm of these old postcards is that they were paintings not photographs.

Gerry said...

Old postcards are so much fun, and I agree--these are grrreat!!!

P. J. Grath said...

Amy-Lynn, the Grand Haven card is probably the oldest one but probably a hand-tinted photograph. Douglas and Saugatuck cards are "linens," which are not particularly valuable, but I like them a lot. Lunds and Sleeping Bear are most recent color photographs on glossy stock. But paintings? Hmmm.

Gerry, glad you liked them, too. If someone doesn't put in a vote, I may go for Detroit next week.

Dawn said...

I remember parking in the lot at the base of a huge sand dune when I was a kid, looked just like the postcard of the two people walking down the road toward the dunes....I bet that was where we were...I was maybe 9 or 10. Always wondered where that was. It was so much fun climbing the dunes...then running back down..or as we really liked to do..somersault down..

Thanks for the memory!!

P. J. Grath said...

Did the Climb as a teenager...later when my son was little...most recently with grandsons. Might not do it again!

Dawn, did you know that these dunes can be seen from outer space?

Dawn said...

Didn't know that...but makes sense!

flandrumhill said...

Pamela, the top four ones looked like watercolor paintings to me. It might be time to give my glasses a good cleaning! Anyhow, they are lovely images.

P. J. Grath said...

Amy-Lynn (and everyone else), for some beautiful art postcards, check out this post of Gerry Sell's:
http://torchlakeviews.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/time-and-again/

Loreen Niewenhuis said...

I love old postcards, and this tour of West Michigan was delightful.

Did you know that the first successful airplane flight over Lake Michigan was from St. Joseph to Chicago? St. Joe used to have a major amusement park and dance pavilion that drew people from hundreds of miles away.

So nice to go back in time like this.

P. J. Grath said...

Loreen, I did not know about the St. Joseph-Chicago flight. Thanks for sharing that piece of history. How long ago was the amusement park operating on the beach at St. Joe? I wonder if that’s the place we visited and not Grand Haven. We were not there during the season, and very little was going on, but the taffy stand was open and selling, and we peeked through the boards at the carousel animals. I would love to find a postcard of this place I so vaguely recall and find out where exactly it was.

Loreen Niewenhuis said...

The amusement park in St. Joseph had its 'golden age' from 1900-1930 and finally closed in 1972.

I have a book about it that I'll bring with me next month. You can see if any of the photos jog your memory.

P. J. Grath said...

If it didn't close until 1972, it's a definite possibility. The visit we may have made there would have been around 1965. Can't be precise about the year and am not sure of the town, but it was somewhere in that stretch of Lake Michigan shore, and there was a taffy stand and a carousel boarded up for the winter and a cold wind blowing off the Lake.

Loreen Niewenhuis said...

I know there was a carousel in St. Joe. They just built a new one in the last few years on Silver Beach there. Here's a post I did on the developments in St. Joe: http://laketrek.blogspot.com/2010/06/silver-beach-reborn.html

P. J. Grath said...

After reading your Lake Trek post, Loreen, and talking to David about classes he took from WMU out to the lakeshore, I'm more and more convinced that the taffy stand and carousel must have been at St. Joseph, and I'm even more eager for your visit to Northport in only 12 days. You can sign copies of A 1000-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH,, and I can look at the St. Joe picture book you'll bring with you.