On This Date
Ten Years Ago The Beacon reported about the progress in
formulating a new Master Plan, a project funded by grants of $2,500
from each township and $10,000 from the Frey Foundation. The work
was also facilitated by the cooperation of MSU's Landscape Architecture
program, which contributed the help of 35 students and a professor.
The preliminary goals were similar to those guiding today's re-enactment:
a) To maintain and enhance the existing quality of life;
b) To protect and conserve the Island's natural endowment;
c) To provide sustainable, well-managed growth; and
d) To improve and sustain a user-friendly infrastructure.
Dennis Clarkson announced that an agreement with the DNR had
been reached on the Dockside Market, and a public meeting was
scheduled to gather input about exactly what to do with the building.
A new non-profit entity will be formed to take title and manage
Dana Gillespie and Eric Hodgson exchanged wedding vows.
A party was marooned on Garden Island when they ran out of gas.
The Wildlife Club had a pancake dinner, earning $270. It brought
wildlife biologist Doug Whitcomb here to direct the rye and clover
planting, and announced that 30,000 walleye fry will be sent by
the DNR to our rearing pond for six to seven weeks and then transferred
to the inland lakes.
The School addition forced the Tennis Court committee to move
the proposed location to its present site, land donated by Bob
and Julie Neff and Wes Webb.
St. James Township accepted the proposed BITA by-laws. A grant
to purchase the Gull Harbor land seemed likely to succeed. The
Rescue Boat was deemed unnecessary and was to be raffled off.
Odawa potter Frank Etawageshik spent a week at the School as
artist-in-residence teaching the traditional historic styles used
for almost two millennia, until the late 1700s. This program was
funded by a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts
Dave Gladish's Beacon Lite started its run with three poems, including
She was frail as a porcelain dish
Just a word from him was her wish
But when she looked at him he
Pitched her anatomy
She decked him as cold as a fish.
Twenty Years Ago A new business placed an ad in the Beacon:
Carolyn Esch's Country Ceramics announced that her
classes would start in early June.
A letter from Jesse Cole (who lived at Nomad) was received: "My
father Garrett seemed to be a very intelligent fellow in most
ways, but I guess was subject to a drinking habit, yet was kind.
My father had a 40' boat called the Mamie M. It leaked so
bad when in the water, you had to pump constantly to keep it afloat.
So my father started out from Nomad (a 12 mile trip to Str. James)
with us nine kids. The leak was so bad that the water gained on
me, and I started to cry. My brave brother Ray grabbed the pump
and kept the boat afloat. When we arrived my father got a quart
of moonshine that cost only a dollar, and started drinking it
straight. He grabbed my mother's new hat and threw it into the
water at McCann's Dock (20' deep) where we were tied up. Brave
Ray swam out to get it (it was straw, with imitation flowers),
while all the time my father was cursing. Getting a bottle of
shine, getting drunk, and cursing this was his greatest
pleasure. He had a personality that everyone liked, yet he was
a powerful man but subject to his habits.
It seems he was a natural genius at figures, but a poor
manager of money. Or was it just the times? He owned 640 acres
of property on Beaver Island. My mother Julia was a sort of angel
on this earth, and now I say she's an angel in heaven.
At 78, I work on the Election Board here, getting our good
mayor reelected for his 5th term. Reading and playing the organ
and piano are my hobbies. And just taking it easy which
seems to have been my policy all through life.
Note: as a boy, Jesse Cole was hit on the head by a log, and
they thought he would die. He lost the ability to speak for several
months. When it finally came back, he resumed the sentence he'd
been saying when struck, and had no awareness or memory of the
intervening time and made a considerable success of himself in
his later life.
Thirty Years Ago The Beacon opened by reporting on Game
Club news: the smelt run was light and short; the suckers were
plentiful; the nests built for ducks and geese at Greene's Lake
have gone unfilled; and the morels were just beginning, although
there was already a good showing of beefsteak mushrooms.
Bernie Miller, one of eight graduating seniors from the Beaver
Island School (along with Hugh Cole, Steve Connaghan, Rocky DeVogel,
Rich Gillespie, Mike Martin, Jeff McGlocklin, and Mark Welke,
told a story about her parents, George and Martha: Everyone
knows about Martha's escapade in the cranberry bog. Well, this
was a little different, she began. George bought a
brand-new Chevy Blazer, so he and Mom decided to drive around
the Island and see what kind of treasures could be found on the
beach. Everything went well until they turned west at Cheyenne
Point and drove out onto the gravel lake edge. Things were fine
until they decided they'd gone far enough and tried to turn around.
This was a 4wd, right? Well, even with traction to all
tires, there are limitations, and after ten minutes George was
ready to admit he'd found one. After directing some well-chosen
words at the freshly-lowered car, they started to walk. Dad was
quite grumpy because he anticipated having to walk to town.
After awhile Mom heard a whirring and looked up to see the
Coast Guard helicopter hovering above them. Waving her arms failed
to communicate anything, so she wrote HELP in the sand with her
heel. The heli came down, and the Coast Guard who jumped out and
ran over offered to help but would not go so far as to
use his bird to pull Dad's new car out of the soft sand. Instead
he suggested he call Dick at the store, to ask for help.
Why not just take us there? Mom asked. After checking with
his commander, his answer was encouraging: Can do. So those people
who saw them dropped off at Dick's store by their personal Coast
Guard chauffeur should know: it was an emergency, not just standard
In honor of McDonough's Market celebrating its 40th anniversary,
Phil Gregg supplied a little history about the establishment.
In 1903 it came into existence as part of the infrastructure the
Beaver Island Lumber Company anticipated needing for its operation.
They ran it while they were here, and then sold it to John Grill,
who ran it until 1933. At that point it was sold to Lloyd and
Eva, who passed it on to Skip and Bud. At one time it featured
a wood stove and cracker barrel, and was the perfect picture of
how things used to be.
Forty Years Ago The Civic Association, the precursor to
the Chamber of Commerce, took advantage of the unseasonably low
water to promote a Harbor Clean-up. With trucks, trailers, and
many willing hands the community pulled together to remove 22
loads of debris in one day. Besides the tires and logs and an
old engine, the spot where Wojan's sawmill was located (on top
of the hill behind the ferry dock) was given special attention.
Vernon Fitzpatrick, the DNR officer, staged a one-man tree-planting
program as well. Summer plans included the removal of the old
schoolhouse, which stood directly behind the new one.
The Game Club conducted a 76-acre controlled burn near Hannigan
Road to improve the deer and grouse range. The land was plowed,
and clover planted in the furrows. During the previous fall 3500
legal-size brook trout were planted in Fox Lake, and small wet
flies were recommended to interested anglers. Fishermen were asked
not to use minnows as bait to reduce the possibility of them escaping
and creating a rival species. It was noted that Walt Wojan shot
another stray cat.
The fire truck roared out of town early one morning, but was too
late to save the Boyle Farm, which burned to the ground.
Music for a tribute to the departing Joe Dillingham was provided
by Vera Wojan on the piano and Joe M'Fro on the harmonica. Afterwards
the deputy, Karl Keubler, served as caller for a square dance.
Wilbur Martin, Jude and Charlotte's father and Charlie's brother,
passed away, as did Peter Nielsen (91), who had worked as a fisherman
while living on Garden Island.
When Sister Ida resigned her post as a teacher at the school,
her students decided to hold a celebration in the guise of This
is Your Life! Excerpts of her convent life, recollections
of the many pranks played on her or attempted, and her considerable
successes in stimulating those placed in her tutelage, were all
given sufficient emphasis.
Among those to make the honor roll were Pam Martin, Evelyn Palmer,
and Sue Nestle.
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