On This Date
Ten Years Ago: With the assistance of the Beaver Island
Volunteer Fire Department, the house-numbering project got underway,
according to the June, 1993 Beacon.
The Dockside Center project listed three goals:
- finish cleaning up the contamination, and find a bank loan
to pay for the job;
- purchase, rehab, and find a tenant for the building; and
- solicit input to create a plan for the Community Center's
purposes, activities, and programs.
The goal, which was not met, was to open the new Center 100 years
after initial construction, in 1996.
Chuck Hooker announced the beginning of a study of the possible
impact of generating renewable energy on Beaver Island, sponsored
by the U. S. Department of Energy and conducted by students with
energy majors from MSU, U-Wisconsin, and the Jordan Energy Institute.
It began with a workshop designed to help gauge energy needs,
options, and costs. The Beaver Island Energy Project began in
1991, and this study promised to help make its goal of increasing
energy efficiency and developing an energy self-reliance more
Antje Price pointed out that this was the centennial of the arrival
on Beaver Island of Feodor Protar, and was to be celebrated during
Dave Gladish provided this warning in his Beacon Lite:
Watch out for watching TV news,
It feeds on greed for stark disaster.
It's addictiver than booze
And maybe hooks you faster.
The forty-second bite, the poll,
The violence we're talking heady!
The government out to control
The stuff. Or do they already?
Twenty Years Ago: The June, 1983 Beacon, which
was printed in green, contained Part I of a history of the Civic
Association, which was formed in 1954 to a) make Beaver Island
a better place to live, and b) make Beaver Island an attractive
vacation spot. Its first major project was to raise funds to buy
land and build the Medical Center. Next it took up the project
of creating the Island's first newspaper in almost a hundred years,
the Beaver Beacon. The first issue went to 538 people. It played
a role in getting the harbor dredged, a necessary project which,
naturally, had its detractors; some claimed this was why the perch
disappeared. It distributed brochures about the Island, and formed
a committee that became the Game Club. It sponsored the annual
Hunter's Dinner in the fall, as well as the Fourth of July events.
It instigated a spring clean-up of the harbor area, which it expanded
into the countryside. It installed direction signs around the
Island, and started a winter sports program for kids. One year
it planted trees along the edge of the streets which did
okay until the streets were widened and paved.
A Charter party was held for the Sweet Adelines, which wowed
the audience with its sensational barbershop harmonies. The second
annual 'Summer Serenade Dinner Dance' was announced for the coming
August 27th, with music at a sit-down dinner provided by Rich
Scripps and Richie Gillespie.
The graduating class of eight included current residents KK Belfy,
Darrell Butler, and Robert Cole.
The Beacon carried an obituary for Catherin Connaghan, 91, who
passed away that May. Born Catherine Malloy, she married Hugh
Connaghan and they lived in the little white house next to Tim
McDonough. She left 57 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.
It was noted that the first two TV sets had arrived here in 1955,
brought by Stanley Burns (for Pat Bonner) and Edgar O'Donnell
(for Father Giles.)
Thirty Years Ago: The summer of 1973 was very promising;
all the Island's accommodations were filled for Memorial Day.
The morel crop was unexpectedly bounteous, with a few apt hunters
coming back with full bushel baskets. Bernie Whitcomb, who lived
with her husband on High Island for three summers to study its
wildlife, reported on a hunt spearheaded by Bea and Sheldon Parker.
They drove to the center of the Island, where Bea and Sheldon
quickly spotted several clumps but Bernie couldn't spot
any. Sheldon wandered off from morel to morel, and was soon out
of sight. Bea and Bernie went back to the Parkers' jeep to move
it a little forward, but morels were growing in the road and they
kept driving further to pick just one cluster more. Finally they
stopped, and Sheldon stepped out of the woods with a full basket.
They all got in and started driving. Wind-blown trees blocked
the trail, so every so often Sheldon had to climb out and fire
up his chain saw; each time, Bea would go hunting for more mushrooms
to try catching up to her husband. They started home at 8:00,
but had a flat tire which Bea changed. A card party at
Bill and Betty Welke's had been arranged, and when they didn't
show up, Bill went looking for them from the air.
The Castaway Restaurant opened in the Lakesports building, filling
the niche vacated by the closing of the Killarney Inn. Archie
LaFreniere opened a gift shop where Powers' Ace Hardware now stands.
Russel Green, a crew member for 14 years as purser and assistant
skipper, was named Captain of the Beaver Islander.
Phil Gregg's history of the Beaver, on the run during WW I, was
illustrated by a drawing done by Dan Gillespie. Daniel Malloy's
1873 song Lost on Lake Michigan, was printed in full after being
found by John Gannon in Escanaba and sent to Dick LaFreniere;
it tells of seven Beaver Islanders who drowned while people helplessly
watched the sinking ship from shore.
Several passings were noted: Dr. Russell Palmer, who had been
our doctor until retiring in 1955; Bill Welke Sr, who had been
coming to the Island since 1936; and 40-year Island resident Owen
Chapman, who rode a little white motorbike with his dog in its
basket. Also Mary (Gallagher) Sterling, born in 1885, who had
married one of the train men for the Beaver Island Lumber Company
and was preceded in death by 12 (of 17) children. And Ethel (Hamrock)
Driggett, who lived at the Stone House Farm on Paid een Og's Road
but moved to Charlevoix in 1915.
Forty Years Ago: With the temperature holding in the 80s
for 1963's Decoration Day, 12 boats pulled into the harbor and
tents popped up like mushrooms at the campground.
Mushrooms were reported to be ample, and the smelt run was a
very modest success. Two fish tugs from Naubinway set gill nets
around Garden and Hog and pulled into St. James to offer their
catch for sale.
The Beaver Island Lodge hosted its first golf tournament.
The school had two graduates, Carol Ann O'Donnell and Evelyn Palmer.
Phil Gregg had an interesting story to tell: On the evening
of May 31st, three boats left Harbor Springs for Beaver Island.
Twelve miles out, one began to fall behind unnoticed by the other
two. When the two leaders reached the 2-mile buoy, they finally
discovered they were alone. They waited there for 40 minutes and
then sped in to notify the Coast Guard.
The sea was quite choppy, and the third boat had opened
a seam, letting in enough water to stall the engine. The lone
occupant fired off all his flares, to no avail. Without the engine
he had no means of pumping out the rising water. After donning
a life preserver, the operator decided to put himself in a frame
of mind where he would not care what happened. This was accomplished
by consuming all the bottled spirits he had aboard a sufficient
quantity to do a very thorough job.
The Coast Guard crew came upon him some time later, sitting
in his soggy boat and singing his troubles away. He was towed
safely to the dock. Needless to say, this is not the recommended
procedure to follow in such a case.
The Real Beacon:
Search the Beaver Beacon Web Site & Archive: