A Shady Corner on Mackinac 3/26/17

Hi Friends!

The island has been relatively quiet this week except for one bit of news which really lit up the “Mackinac Island Dockporters Association” Facebook page a couple of days ago.  Long-time friend Josh Carley posted this photo of State Park maintenance workers trimming limbs off the beautiful old elm tree that has stood for decades at the corner of Marquette Park across from Doud’s Market.

I still don’t have any definite news on whether the tree was being taken down completely, or whether it was just a trim of dead limbs, but since that photo appeared there have been dozens and dozens of comments lamenting the loss of the tree (if, indeed, it is being removed completely) or the potential loss at some time in the future.

Because it’s a slow news week, I’m just going to put my two cents worth in.

I love that tree.  It’s been there ever since I first set foot on the island in 2000 and for many decades before.  That little oasis of shade, stone wall, and benches is the perfect place to people watch, chat with friends (and strangers), eat a quick lunch from the Doud’s deli, or rest for a moment after traipsing around the downtown area all morning. It’s a much sought-after spot to watch parades or wait on a private carriage tour to begin.  I’ve sat on that stone wall with many island friends over the years – Jill, Frankie, Joe Plaza, Snapper, Chief Duck, Richard Pasco, Candy Smith . . . the list goes on and is made more poignant in knowing that Joe and Snapper are no longer with us.  I’ve eaten ice cream there, sat with Bear and Maddie at my feet waiting on Ted to come out of Doud’s, and met more than one blog reader – either on purpose (“let’s meet under the tree on the corner of Marquette Park”) or as a total surprise when I’d be walking by and someone would yell, “Bree!”

I. Love. That. Tree..


Just as we all thought it was practically the end of the world when the beautiful old trees that lined Cadotte leading up to Grand Hotel had to be removed – life did go on.  Young trees were planted to replace them, and now – even though they have only been there a few years, they are already beautifully blazing a path in the Fall.

The way it was when we first starting coming to Mackinac. This is from October, 2005. (Photo: Mike Forrester)

And now. (Photo – Mackinac Revealed)

If and when the Marquette Park corner tree comes down, I will miss it as much as everyone else.  But . . . trees get old and become diseased.  They have a life expectancy and, although Mackinac trees probably live well past that life expectancy because they are so well cared for, eventually the end comes.  Or – because of age and disease and the danger of heavy limbs falling on people or horses or buildings – sometimes they must go before they succumb on their own.

When the tree is gone, I have no doubt in my mind it will be replaced by something beautiful . . . another tree maybe – young and healthy and full of life and potential and promise.  I trust the city fathers and mothers to do what is best.

And as for all of us who have spent so much time whiling away the hours in the shade of that old elm, we will mourn her passing.  But after we’ve mourned, let’s celebrate the gift she gave us by living out her life on that corner.  Let’s celebrate the memories we created under her leafy branches and picture in our minds the show she put on every fall when her leaves were the most brilliant of any tree on the island.  She’s a grand old tree.  And in our memories she always will be.

God bless.

The corner before the tree. Somewhere between 1902 and 1905. (Photo found by Roger Priebe)




10 thoughts on “A Shady Corner on Mackinac 3/26/17

  1. One difference I did notice between the old and the new photos is that the electrical wires seem to have been put underground! At least, they don’t show in the newer photo, and how nice that is! So, sometimes change can be good, even if it’s messy before it gets to good. I’ll keep telling myself that, OK? I hope the tree last a lot longer, though.

  2. Under that tree is where I met you!! We always sit there and rest and “watch traffic” and people. Have sat there many times. The shade is always nice too. Will miss it if it is gone. Keep us updated on it. 🌳🍃

  3. I had the same thoughts as Hilde! We all age and sometimes have diseases that cannot be cured. We lost a lot of trees here in our community last year due to disease. We knew they had to be taken down – it’s just so sad that it takes the new ones so long to grow.

  4. Hmmmm……..well hopefully it was just a good trimming. We lost and lose a lot of live oaks in south Texas due to oak wilt. But like you said we replant and they rise again.

    • Jason, when we lived in Austin back in the 1960’s, a new McDonalds was built on Oltorf east of South Congress Avenue. There were a lot of Live Oakes in that area and the construction company just went in and bulldozed all but one. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was just plain stupid. Those trees had taken hundreds of years to grow to the size they were. I still get a little upset when I think how shortsighted they were.

  5. That wonderful elm tree was in full glory during the early 80’s when I worked on the island, as were the trees on Cadotte Ave. I was SO bummed to learn the Cadotte trees were being replaced, but like you say, the replacements are already progressing nicely! I assume the same will be true if/when that beloved tree in Marquette Park is removed. Unless it is completely diseased, do good by harvesting the wood for fund raising of some sort! 🙂

  6. I will miss that tree if it truly is coming down. I still miss the canopy of tree branches on the way up to the Grand. Although, it is a fact we all have our time here. Hoping we all have the opportunity to sit under it this Summer! I have no doubt we will appreciate it far more. ♡♡

  7. Brenda,

    I have a picture of my mother that was taken August 8, 1955 on her 48th birthday. She was sitting on a bench that was there on that corner. I don’t remember if the tree was there. I wanted to post that picture, but I’ve searched my computer (I thought I had scanned it) and a lot of my pictures and I can’t find it. Anyway, I’m hoping the tree was only being trimmed. From what Steve Fridley commented on Facebook about the other trees on the street, that’s what happened. Let us know if you find out differently.

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