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The “Straits” of Yesteryear!

January 7, 2015

 

2008-From Lake Huron-Freighter

Straits of Mackinac

 The “Straits of Mackinac“, as shown in the above photo I shot in 2008,  is a narrow waterway separating Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas and connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Prior to the completion of the Mackinac Bridge spanning the 5 mile width, the only way vehicles and people could travel between the two peninsulas was by car ferry.  One such ferry was called “Vacationland” which is shown in the below 1953 photograph courtesy of my grandparents’ personal photo album.  My grandfather was probably the photographer.

1953 Vactionland Ferry  (2)

Straits of Mackinac car ferry “Vacationland” in 1953

My maternal Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfathers were lumberman in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.  Some of those ancestors moved to the Munising area, while others moved to the Grand Haven area.  But most of the family settled in Cheboygan, 15 miles southeast of the Straits, in the northern Lower Peninsula.  Eventually, the lure of the big city became too much for my grandfather, who was apparently known as somewhat of a hellion while growing up in Cheboygan.  He moved to Detroit in the late 1920’s where he met and married my maternal grandmother and raised his children, one of whom is my mother.  However, Cheboygan was still in his blood, so every summer he traveled north with his family for a two week vacation.

During those annual summer visits in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the family would load up the car and head even further north to Munising in the Upper Peninsula to visit more family and see the sites.  Since there was no bridge to cross to get to the U.P. at that time, the family had no other choice but to board one of the car ferries.  My mom has said the lines of cars were often miles long with vacationing travelers waiting to explore the U.P. and they would have to sit and wait hours just to make the trip across the Straits.  This was no doubt the highlight of the trip for the kids……the parents, probably not so much.

Below are a few more family photographs depicting “The Straits of Yesteryear”!  Enjoy!

1946 Ferry 2-1

The car ferry dock in Mackinaw City in 1946

Patiently waiting for the car ferry (in the background) to travel to the Upper Peninsula

Patiently waiting for the car ferry (in the background) to travel to the Upper Peninsula

Car ferry navigating the Straits of Mackinac in 1946

Car ferry navigating the Straits of Mackinac in 1946

St. Ignace Car Ferry Dock in 1953

St. Ignace Car Ferry Dock in 1953

#Michigan #PureMichigan #StraitsOfMackinac #CarFerry #Vacationland

 

 

From → 6. Detours

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