On Roads Less Traveled By

How did they move a large frame church building in the 19th century at a time before wide-load rigs and hydraulic jacks?  Through historic photographs and careful research Amy Barritt examines this question in her piece, When Horsepower Was Literal: Moving Buildings in the 1890s.  Although the entire building is no longer present, remnant pieces and design features still remain in the Episcopal Church at the corner of Boardman and Washington Streets.

A wonderful description of another 19th century activity, day trips by horse-and-buggy, exists in Martha E. Cram Bates’ account of an August journey she made along Old Mission Peninsula, To Traverse Point and Return.  Far from being a “day trip”, she began her adventure at 5:00 P.M. and returned well after midnight, telling us about a glorious sunset, the passing farms, the crashing Bay, and the moonlit ride home.  The tale provides a contrast to our harried trips out to see the Old Mission lighthouse, all done in the space of an afternoon within the cabins of air-conditioned automobiles.

Annie Spence visits a public beach in Elk Rapids with her infant son, reflecting upon Nature, parenthood, and an unspoiled place close to her home in her essay, The Tonic of Wildness.  If you listen carefully, you can hear the voice of Henry David Thoreau in the crash of the surf.

One plant she might have trampled on is the humble horsetail or snake grass.  Its tough jointed stems and deep roots may frustrate those who wish a bare sandy beach, but it has its virtues–as Richard Fidler tells us in the Nature category.

Mud Turtle Jack is not about a reptile, but about Valerie Himick’s discovery of a box of poems written by her grandfather many years ago.  She was astounded by the work of a man she scarcely knew, a man who expressed his love for the Great Lakes—especially the area around Frankfort–in a lifetime of writing poetry.  We include a generous selection of his poems along with commentary by his granddaughter.  Readers may elect to read the entire piece by clicking at the end of the article, which may be found in the Celebrating the People section.

Finally, another mystery photo confronts us, this one a mosaic in front of a downtown business on Front Street in Traverse City.  Can you name the business that now occupies the place?  Can you tell anything about the business that existed there a hundred years ago?  Email us if you can, share what you wish on social media—and keep sending us photos and articles for the Grand Traverse Journal!


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