Lowell Greene and his wife Faye are two of my most loyal readers. Lowell comments on my posts regularly, and quite a while ago he asked me to check on something for him.
Lowell and Faye live in Michigan, and he worked on Mackinac Island 55 years ago. Health concerns prevent Lowell from visiting Mackinac as he’d like, but he has shared some great memories of the Island with me.
“In 1955 I hitch hiked from my home in Cheboygan to Mackinaw City and took the ferry to Mackinac Island. I walked down one side of Main Street and about half way up the other before finding a job. I worked at two different restaurants that summer, before my 16th birthday on October 6. I first worked at Phil Corby’s “Coffee Cup.” Then I worked at “The Carriage Lantern.” While I was on the Island that summer, I roomed at Ella Chambers’ house. The next 2 summers I roomed at her house and worked at her “Arch Rock Curio Shop” – a little way to the right of Arch Rock. I’ve climbed up under Arch Rock from the road below (they’ve taken all the fun out of that now with a stairway), and I actually walked across Arch Rock, something I recommend to no one – but I was a teenager then. Another memory was the day a friend and I took a small fishing boat out to Round Island. We beached the boat on the sand and walked over to the lighthouse. Finding it unlocked, we explored it thoroughly before pushing off to return to Mackinac. As we were returning, a huge freighter passed us so close I thought I could reach out and touch it. I don’t know if I was scared or just in awe of that huge ship.”
Because Lowell worked at Arch Rock, he remembered a brass tablet near there dedicated to John Nicolet, the first white man to set foot in Michigan and the old Northwest territory. He wondered if the tablet was still there and gave me an approximate vicinity to look in – “I think that tablet is just a little way into the trees to the left of Arch Rock, as you’re looking toward the water.”
I’ve been meaning to go out and look for the tablet for a couple of months now, and just never seemed to find the time. On Sunday I awoke with Lowell’s tablet on my mind, and Ted and I made plans to ride over after lunch, which we did.
It was a wonderful day for a bike ride. The weather forecast had called for storms all day, but as so often happens, no storms arrived, and by early afternoon the skies were blue, and the temperature was perfect in the mid-70’s. I’m always the “follower” on bike rides, so Ted chooses how we’re going to get to wherever we’re going. He loves mixing paved roads, wooded trails , and a few I like to call “nonexistent pathways”, but we nevertheless always manage to arrive at our destination.
So you can get your bearings - you can see a splash of red through the trees on the right side of this photo. That is someone walking out to the viewing platform at Arch Rock. As Lowell said, the tablet is to the left of the Arch.
The steps to the top of the hill where the tablet was placed.
At the top of the steps, you walk out on a platform that rests on the top of the hill, and there it is - just as Lowell said it would be!
I got Ted to take my pic with the tablet just to prove I'd really been there!
Standing behind the tablet - looking east.
Another view from the platform. I can never get over how BIG the great lakes are!
Tranquil Bluff Trail begins at the top of the platform and runs almost all the way to British Landing. It's one of the most difficult bike trails on the Island.
Lowell, I’m sorry it took me so long to check on this for you, but I figured if I did it too soon, you’d stop writing me all those great memories you have of the Island. You and Faye have a great day canning those green beans, and God bless.