Northwest Lower Peninsula

Seven Bridges Nature Area

Rugg Pond Dam Natural Area Kalkaska County

We recently visited Seven Bridges Nature Area which is managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. I had heard of Seven Bridges but had never visited and I was excited to walk the trail and see all the bridges. As we started out on the trail, we could see the first bridge and as we approached it you could see what we assume to be the support structure for the original bridge. Two walls made of stones are along the riverbank and look to be helping support the new bridge. We walked down to the river and could see… Read More »

Northern Michigan Gold Rush

Gold Panning Sign

Did you know that there was a gold rush in Northern Michigan in the late 19th century? Gold was left throughout the state waterways when the glaciers moved across the entire state during the last ice age. Small amounts of gold can be found in just about any creek or river in Michigan. According to the US Forest Service, gold has been found in over 100 places in Michigan. Gold has been found in the Manistee, Au Sable, Flat, Little Sable, Rapid, Yellow Dog and other rivers and on countless Great Lakes beaches. Rivers and lakes are not the only… Read More »

Rugg Pond Dam

Rugg Pond Dam Natural Area Kalkaska County

Rugg Pond is a reservoir in Rapid River Township in Kalkaska County. It has a long and interesting history including reports that Ernest Hemingway once spent a night fishing from the Rugg Pond dam powerhouse. He supposedly wrote The Battle while fishing. It was formed by a dam that was originally intended to generate power for surrounding communities. The dam and power plant were built where the two branches of the Rapid River meet northwest of Kalkaska. Kalkaska Light and Power Company Ambrose E. Palmer founded the Kalkaska Light and Power Company 1904. The company was turned over to Kalkaska… Read More »

Northwest Lower Peninsula Hauntings

Traverse City State Hospital Tour

Join Northern Michigan History in our 5 part series as we explore the most haunted places in northern Michigan. The first in our series looks at the Northwest Lower Peninsula. From restaurants, to theatres to asylums, there is not a shortage of ghosts in northwest Michigan. Petoskey Terrace Inn – In Petoskey’s historic Bay View area the 38 room Victorian resort has been the site of two death since it opened in 1911. There are a couple of rumors about who died. Some say it was two workers that had a beam fall on them during the construction. The other… Read More »

The Great Fire of 1871

On October 8, 1871, there were a series of simultaneous forest fires in the Great Lakes region, collectively knows as the Great Fire of 1871. These fires burned the several cities, towns, and villages in Michigan. Holland, Manistee, and Port Huron suffered considerable damage. The Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin was the deadliest forest fire in recorded history, also destroying several towns in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The fire crossed the Menominee River and burned in Menominee County. Later that night the Great Chicago Fire erupted and burned for 2 days. It destroyed roughly 4 square miles killing approximately 300 people. 1871… Read More »

The History of the Inland Waterway

Michigan Watertrail

The Inland Waterway stretches across Cheboygan and Emmet Counties has been a popular recreation area for years. Fishing, paddling watercrafts and motorboats all travel the waterways. The route is a series of 3 rivers and 3 lakes. You can start at north end, the mouth of the Cheboygan River at Lake Huron and follow that to Mullet Lake. During your trip on the Cheboygan River you will encounter the Cheboygan River lock which will raise or lower your boat 15 feet. Mullet Lake will lead you through the Indian River and into Burt Lake. From there you will head down… Read More »

Traverse City State Hospital

Traverse City State Hospital Tour

Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital Established in 1881, Northern Michigan Asylum (Traverse City State Hospital) became the third psychiatric hospital in Michigan. Kalamazoo state Hospital (1859) and Pontiac State Hospital (1873) were becoming overcrowded and a third facility was needed. Perry Hannah, a lumber baron from Traverse City used his political influence to secure Traverse City as the location for the new hospital. Building 50 was the first building built and constructed according to the Kirkbride Plan in Victorian-Italianate style. Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, a physician and early adapter of psychological care believed that a beautiful setting would be a vital… Read More »

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