Our first stop was at the Maritime Museum...
As the Great Lakes area began to prosper, the Manitou Passage - a narrow, deep-water channel - became a major shipping lane. Many ships docked at Glen Haven to pick up lumber and fuel wood. Fog, storms and shoals caused more than 80 wrecks in the Sleeping Bear area. Most of the ships ran aground. As a result a number of lighthouses and life saving stations were built along these shores by the early 1900's.
One of the more obscure pieces of life saving equipment was the faking box. Inside the box was a frame with three to four dozen 10" - 12" long wooden pins arranged on the periphery. The shot line (which was tied to a projectile that was fired to the wreck) was wound around the pins in an overlaid zig-zag pattern. At the scene of the wreck the frame (with the rope wound on the pins) was turned upside down, and the rope was carefully pushed off the pins. This arrangement allowed the shot line to travel without becoming tangled.
Migrating sand dunes were threatening to bury the station at Sleeping Bear Point, at its original location. In 1931 horses were used to relocate the buildings 1 1/2 miles to this site near Glen Haven village.
Crew's quarters were spartan. The Life-Saving Service was like a military organization - regulations, duties and sometimes even architecture were standard from station to station around the Great Lakes. Though modified during construction, the design of the dwelling was based on a prototype station at Marquette, Michigan.
In 1915 the U.S. Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service merged to form the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Manby mortar, a predecessor of the Lyle gun, fired a projectile that carried a small rope to the wrecked vessel. In one famous case, the Manby mortar helped save 201 lives from Ayrshire in January 1850.
The seven-man station crew shared this bedroom. Each man had an iron bed and a small closet in which he kept his uniforms and gear. This room is equipped with furnishings identical to those in use in the 1910s.
Glen Haven is a restored port village on the shore of Lake Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula within the now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Attractions include the Lake Michigan beach, a restored General Store and Blacksmith Shop. The unincorporated community is located in Glen Arbor Township.
Commercial fishing often continued when Lake Michigan was covered with ice. From the Anishinaabek, local fishermen learned how to set gill nets between holes cut in the ice. This practice allowed them to extend their fishing season.
Fish sleds, piled high with gill nets and other gear, were pulled and pushed along the ice to the fishing site. They returned to shore loaded with the day's catch.
This wood sled was found on the shore of North Manitou Island in the late 1920s ...
Fish boxes were used to transport nets to the fishing grounds and came back to shore full of fish. Many were designed so that, when empty, they could be stacked. The filled boxes, heavy with nets or fish, were moved around on dollies.
This bronze bell was likely once mounted on a navigation buoy. Navigation buoys mark rocks, shallow water, or other hazards to boats in a waterway. As the buoy rocked with the waves, the bell rang. Bell buoys (and fog horns) are especially useful when a layer of fog lies over the water or at night. Sometimes fog limits visibility to only 10-15 feet. During those conditions the sound of a bell buoy can be a boater's only means of finding their way safely.
These boats were used for everything but heavy weather rescues. From the 1920s to the early 1960s they were assigned to off-shore stations. Utility boats transported crews and supplies, ;maintained aids to navigation, and performed many other routine tasks. In addition to a crew of two, she could carry eight passengers.
Arrah, is the Gallic word for friend. She was lovingly used and maintained by two friends from the time she left the Coast Guard ca. 1964 until she was donated to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 2004.
A converted U.S.C.G. Beebe-McClellan surfboat
Retired and converted surfboat boats were a common site on the Manitou Passage. Rugged and seaworthy, they made good fishing and freight boats.
The Nautilus was converted to a sloop for recreational use and fitted out with an engine, deck, and cabin. Her owners sailed her for many years on Lake Huron.
Everybody wants to climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes...You will find pure, wind-blown sand to climb, then run or roll down the dunes to the picnic area for a break and some refreshments and then head up the dune again. Climbing the dunes is great exercise and there is a beautiful view of Glen Lake from the top. With the parking lot and picnic area at the base of the dune, you can stop climbing when you get tired and let gravity bring you back down. This is a great playground for kids of all ages.
The Dune Center is the visitor center at the Dune Climb. It contains a park store and modern restrooms are nearby. A large picnic area is also available at the foot of the dunes.
Despite this warning sign, hundreds of folks were walking down the very steep dunes...and it was hot out too...
We relaxed upstairs enjoying the view again. Here are a couple of more pictures of the inside of their home...the spiral staircase goes up 3 levels...
Tomorrow we are heading back north to check out a couple of more areas before we cross back into Canada.