On This Date
Ten Years Ago The Beacon of August, 1993, opened
with a story of the procurement of the Bradley lifeboat, which
has hung in the Marine Museum ever since. The Carl D. Bradley
went down in 1958 southwest of Gull Islandthe largest ship
to sink in the Great Lakes until the Edmund Fitzgeraldwith
a loss of all but two of the 35 on board. The lifeboat, known
as Carl D Bradley No. 1, was one of the few things salvaged. It
wound up as the property of the Great Lakes Historical Society,
but they sold it at auction to buyer unknown.
At a meeting of the Great Lakes Ferry Boat Association Bill McDonough
was chatting with Captain Duggan of the Put-in Bay Ferry Company.
He mentioned that he'd picked up the Bradley lifeboat. Without
hesitating, Bill replied, Well you'll just have to pick
up something else, because that belongs on Beaver Island.
Bill negotiated its acquisition, arranged to have it towed here
on Vince Olach's trailer, and donated it to the BIHS. They in
turn asked Phil Gregg to restore it, which he finished this past
Pam O'Brien, the Chamber's Office Manager, reported that through
August projections were that 810 phone calls had come in, and
843 visitors stopped by.
The Township minutes reported that a new assistant manager was
hired at the Transfer Station: Charles Schmidt.
The Beacon published the results of a survey about Island
attitudes conducted by a local high school student. To the question
of what Beaver Island needs, these answers were given (arranged
in order of priority): better road maintenance; better access
to state lands; more recreational facilities; tighter environmental
standards; a community center; more walking trails; more rental
housing; and more cultural activities. Condos and more tourist-oriented
business brought up the rear with 14% of the votes being positive;
more shopping, a Seniors' Center, and a one-hour ferry were next
with 18%. Questions that received a high percentage of affirmative
answers were as follows: Is it important to become more economically
self sufficient and less dependent on tourism? Is the Beaver Island
Energy Project good for the Island? Is alcohol a problem here?
Should there be stricter standards for loggers? Should the townships
acquire more lakefront property? Should we restrict ATVs? Is litter
a problem? and, Should the two townships combine? The percentage
of yes replies in this list ran from 83% to 70%; receiving
only 10% affirmation was: Do we need more law enforcement on the
Island? Should we encourage more hunting? received a 20% yes vote.
The student who conducted the survey? Jeff Cashman.
Twenty Years Ago The August '83 Beacon carried
the story of the loss of a long-time landmark: the burning of
the O'Donnell home at Barney's Lake. Although it stood empty for
years and was in bad shape, with holes in the roof and floors,
many people took a chance by climbing the rickety stairs to the
second floor for the splendid view. By the time the Fire Department
arrived it was too late to save the house, but at least the wind
was such that the adjacent grove of lilacs was preserved. The
fire seemed to start on the second floor, leading to suspicions
of carelessness or arson. Francis LaFreniere remembered going
there when she was young to make horse radish.
The Beacon announced that the Island was back on the cable,
thanks to difficult work being done by divers, who found the fault
and fixed it.
What might have been the first jet to land at the Township Airport
arrived on July 9th, a Cessna Citation turbojet. The four men
who climbed out stayed the night and did some fishing.
The Game Club said that the DNR, relying on data from its local
officer, had agreed to issue 180 doe permits half to Islanders
according to President Karl Heller. Opposition to a doe
hunt was predicted, with a petition drive expected to try to stop
A reminiscence of Peter Johnson was printed: during a snowstorm
in January of 1962 he came to town in a one horse sleigh, along
with a young lady and her dog. The snow was so deep that vehicles
could not move, prompting his strategy. Old-timers marveled, and
tried to guess how long it had been since they'd seen anyone tying
up a horse in front of the Shamrock.
The Island welcomed its first set of twins in forty years: Tim
and Denise McDonough's Bradley and Drew.
Thirty Years Ago The Beacon opened with a glowing
review of a presentation of the Neil Simon play, Plaza Suite,
directed by Jack Webster and Diane Hetherington. Among the actors
were Trudy Works, Walker Hill, Phyllis Townsend, and Ray Denny.
Part of the gate was donated to the Medical Center.
Hugh Cole joined the Coast Guard and Jeff McGlocklin the Air
Grand Rapids' Beaver Island Club announced its 8th annual party
would be held in October. Requests for information were directed
to Brian Gallagher.
Mary Greene, 76, and Philip O'Brien, 69, passed away. Mary Boyle
was born in St. James in 1897, and married Anthony Greene in 1920.
She lived almost all of her life on Beaver Island. Philip was
the middle child of July 'Big Phil' Gallagher and Edward O'Brien.
He was born and lived in Chicago, but never forgot his Island
The Beacon contained a reminiscence from Elizabeth Green
Gallagher, John Andy's mother, who had just turned 91. The Island's
oldest resident has lived her entire life here after having been
born on a farm in Peaine. My parents raised sheep like they
did in Donegal, she recalled. My mother would card
the wool, and we'd spin it and knit mittens and gloves, which
we'd trade to the schooner captains who docked. Sometimes we'd
barter for a barrel of lard, molasses, or sugar. She would
trade knitted things they would then sell in Chicago.
As a girl she worked to help supply the packet freighters with
fuel. My father cut steamer wood and hauled it to the docks.
Sometimes he'd get some cash. A lot of people would bury any extra
money they'd happen to get. Not all was found and dug up.
In her life she witnessed the transition from steam, sail, and
horse-and-buggy to the moon-walk age. I've seen it all,
she said. Believe me, things are better nowadays.
Forty Years Ago The Beacon reported that several
of the boats in the Chicago to Mackinac race had come here afterwards
and stayed for three or four days. The Yacht Dock had been full
to capacity for four weeks, with over 300 boats checking in.
Belying the report above, Emma Belfy delivered twins: Mark and
The fishing at Garden Island was producing maximum catches. One
party was so anxious to get over there that when launching his
boat at the DNR dock he backed up too far and had to have Jewell
Gillespie winch him out of the lake. And then, in his haste, he
dropped an oar on his favorite rod, breaking it. Yet he still
caught his limit.
The pike fishing at Lake Geneserath was equally good, but one
fisherman made a sad discovery when putting his sixth fish on
the stringer: a pike already caught had chewed through the stringer
and the first five had escaped. He was so disgusted that he threw
the last one after them.
Because of the clear water, diver Al Doebler had a banner season
locating wrecks in French, Iron Ore, and Sand Bay.
The St. James Mission was nearing completion across from the
St. James Cemetery, near the site of "the first protestant
church on Beaver Island many years ago."
Father Wren announced at Mass that the lowest bid for building
the rectory next to the church had come from Walter Wojan.
Seven Island girls who became nuns returned at the same time:
Marie Gatliff, Lorraine Gibson, Lenore and Alex Gallagher, and
Mary Clare, Brigetta, and Isabel Malloy.
The sea-going goat was captured and retu
ned. The notorious animal apparently wandered onto the Beaver
Islander in Charlevoix, and wasn't noticed until the ferry was
underway. It survived the crews innuendos about fresh kebab
and was shipped back to its owner, Albin Dunance, who had been
searching all over for it, COD.
The Beacon closed by noting the traffic problem around
the boat dock when the ferry came in. It editorialized that it
would be nice if people parked at some distance and walked to
the dock to help relieve the congestion. The more things change,
the more they remain the same.
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