MICHIGAN TRAVEL TIPS
THE HOLOGLOBE PRESS
(The 49th Edition)
Victor Edward Swanson,
RULES OF USE
The reports and stories contained on this Web page have been put together with information taken from "The Victor Swanson Fabulous Files of Places to See in Michigan and Wisconsin" and with information obtained from operators and staffers of tourist attractions and from press releases, Web sites, and other sources. The reports and stories are provided as a public service by Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press. Almost all persons and entities, such as staffers of radio stations, may freely use the materials; neither AAA Michigan nor any employee of AAA Michigan may use, distribute, download, transmit, copy, or duplicate any of the material presented on this page in any way or through any means.
- - - Travel Thoughts for Everyone - - -
Around 1970, I was a student at Cherry Hill High School, Inkster (in Wayne County), Michigan. On one Saturday, one of the teachers--a math teacher, I believe--escorted some students, one of whom was me, to a shale quarry in Ohio (some place just south of the Michigan/Ohio border). At the quarry, we searched for trilobite fossils. We used rock hammers to split apart layers of shale to, we hoped, find fossils. We did find trilobite fossils, and I yet have all the fossils that I found some thirty-five years ago. I wonder if people still go to the quarry to search for fossils. I would bet that no one is allowed in that quarry--wherever it is--because people who might own the property where the quarry is are worried other people who might visit to quarry might get hurt--probably because of their own foolishness--and sue the owners of the property. I will say that, since around 1970, the country has really changed with respect to people filing lawsuits to gain money for having been hurt (which may have been their fault). If the quarry is no longer open to people who want to search for trilobite fossils because the owners of the property where the quarry is are worried about being sued, that is too bad, especially for children who might learn about themselves on a search for trilobite fossils.
On Thursday, April 24, 2008, I visited the first quarry that I have been able to visit since the day when I hunted trilobite fossils in Ohio, and that quarry that I visited was at Rogers City (in Presque Isle County, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan). The place is informally referred to as "Calcite," and the reason that the quarry is called "Calcite" is calcite is mined there. It was around 1910 that Michigan Limestone and Chemical Plant began to mine calcite at "Calcite," and, today, the quarry is directly owned by Carmeuse Lime and Stone, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (which is a unit of the Carmeuse Group, which is located in Belgium). By the way, the word "calcite" has been used for other purposes by people in the general Rogers City area over the years--for example, the name was used for a Great Lakes freighter that was used to haul calcite from the quarry to other ports along the Great Lakes, and the "pilot house" (which is also known as the "wheel house") of that long-gone freighter is on display on the property where Forty Mile Point Lighthouse exists, which is a few miles north of Rogers City. It seems, since Carmeuse Lime and Stone does not want any lawsuits based on injuries received while touring the quarry, I was only able to see the quarry as one of about thirty persons who were taken on a bus tour of the quarry. The tour--which was a free tour--began at the public library at Rogers City (the public library was involved in setting up the tour). Of course, we arrived at the quarry at the main entrance. There, on display is some old-time equipment, and, there, we were greeted by an employee of the mine company who acted as our tour guide. While riding slowly into the quarry, we were able to view all about. One building that we saw was what was called the "primary crusher," which is where rough crushing of stone is done. Not long thereafter, the guide pointed out the "mill," which is a building in which rough material is ground down to one of six general sizes (calcite is used by different companies in the country for different purposes, and the companies wish to have calcite product provided to them in certain sizes or, at least, in one of the sizes that the quarry company makes it available in, and calcite is used in some way for the production of many products, two of which are steel and fertilizer). There were a number of mounds of crushed material at Calcite, and running back and forth between the dig area for the day and the crushing area were giant and expensive dump trucks (a wheel alone could cost about $18,000). Another building that was pointed out to us was the old power generation plant--the no-longer-used building once supplied electric power to the quarry and to the Rogers City area. We learned about how blasting is done to loosen rock, and we learned less explosives are used than were, for instance, thirty years ago, when people living some twenty-miles away could feel the ground move when an explosion was set off. At at least one point on the trip, we were down about sixty-feet below lake level (the level of Lake Huron). Part of the "hole" was filled with water. Incidentally, this "hole" is the biggest single calcite-mining hole in the world. We happened to be at the quarry when a larger freighter was being loaded, and we learned how it can take about eight hours to load a freighter.
During the trip in the Calcite Quarry, we were allowed to ask questions about the mining operation, and what questions were asked and what answers were given I will leave unsaid so that I do not give away "stuff" that you could learn on a tour. Tours are not regularly given. A person who wants to have a tour or set up a tour for a group must contact the operators of the quarry, and I do recommend a person's seeing the quarry to learn something and feel what it is like to be in a calcite quarry (which is also known as a limestone quarry).
By the way, a person who ends up in the Rogers City area, such as on a vacation, should watch for news in the local newspaper that notes that a tour is being planned on an upcoming day (I originally learned about the tour that I was on through information that had been printed in the local newspaper, which happens to be the Presque Isle County Advance).
"Calcite" is a commercial production center, and it is one of a few of the production centers or factories in Michigan that can be toured, and one true factory that can be toured is the Rouge Truck Plant, which is in Dearborn (of Wayne County in the Lower Peninsula) and is used to produce "Ford"-brand vehicles. From the roughly late 1920s to the mid-1950s, a vehicle generically known as the "Packard" was produced at a plant in Detroit, and, on Monday, April 14 , 2008, I heard some news about the former Packard plant from a man named Tyler Lenling, who is the "Vice-President, Senior Industrial Hygienist," for a company called TEK Environmental & Consulting Services, Inc., of Pinckney, Michigan. On that day, his company was about to do "abatement" work on a house--work that was going to involve, for example, removing all the lathe-and-plaster walls within the first floor of the house--and he and I got on the subject of the old Packard plant, and he said that it was a mess and was very likely to be torn down. A day later, there happened to be an article about the plant in the Detroit Free Press and more recently, on April 18, 2008, the Detroit Free Press had another article about the plant, and, in general, the articles noted that people are hoping to make the plant a museum someday . Whether or not the plant will become a museum has yet to be determined.
I must note that at 411 Piquette Avenue in Detroit is a place known as the "Model T Automotive Complex" or the "Ford Piquette Plant." This place is where "Model T" cars (of Ford Motor Company) were produced in the early 1900s. Today, this place is a museum that can be seen on a few days each month from May through October, and the place does have some Model T cars on display, and the one way is which to learn more about the place is to call 1-313-872-8759.
I end this edition of Michigan Travel Tips with information or a warning to people in Michigan who have a steam-heat boiler system in their houses, and many such houses do exist in Michigan. A person who has such a heating system should see to it that the house water system is set up so that, when the person plans to go on vacation or trips during the cold months, the person can shut down all the water in the house, except the water to the boiler so that the boiler can always be running. Since February 2008, my hours normally spent doing writing work has been mostly taken up with having to help repair flooding damage to a house that was not designed so that the water could be turned off to everything except the boiler (I put in new valves in the water supply system of the house to make the house better). Enjoy your traveling in Michigan for the remainder of the spring and for this summer, and get that plumbing work done, if you have to.
Your travel tips of Michigan in this edition of Michigan Travel Tips are:
Calcite Quarry, Rogers City, Presque Isle County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Model T Automotive Complex or the Ford Piquette Plant, Detroit, Wayne County, the Lower Peninsula.
- - - Public Service Copy for Broadcasters (four pieces) - - -
Since the early 1920s, at least, the styles of cars have
changed a lot, and over the years to come, the styles should
continue to change--but it is unknown by how much, if much.
In the early 1900s, Ford Motor Company made the "Model T"-type
vehicle very popular in the country, and it was at the Ford Piquette
Plant in Detroit where some Model T-type vehicles were made.
Today, Ford Motor Company operates a truck plant in Dearborn
known as the Rouge Truck Plant, and, for example, the plant has
been used to make the popular "F-150"-type pickup trucks. Today,
the Rouge Plant can be toured, and a person can see vehicles being
made there. The Ford Piquette Plant is no longer a place where
vehicles are made, but it can be toured--for instance, it has Model
T-type vehicles on display. If you want to learn more about cars,
see the Ford Piquette Plant and the Rouge Plant, and enjoy your safe
traveling in Michigan.
In Michigan, people who like to look for stones or rocks might
search for Petoskey stones, and one region to find such stones is
the northwestern region of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. People
who go to the northeastern might look for limestone, which is easy to
find, especially if they go to the Calcite Quarry at Rogers City. The
Calcite Quarry is one attraction at Rogers City, though often it can only
be seen from the lookout spots that have been set up. From time to
time, real tours are given of the Calcite Quarry. Sometimes, the owners
of the quarry set up tours, and, sometimes, the owners will give tours,
such as to groups, through special arrangements or appointments. If you
wish to see something different--maybe as part of a family reunion set
up in the Rogers City area--see if you can set up a tour of the Calcite
Quarry. And if you travel with a group, make sure everyone is buckled
up to enjoy your safe traveling.
Since the early 1900s, Rogers City, which is in the Lower
Peninsula of Michigan, has been a place where calcite is mined,
and calcite is still mined at Rogers City. In the 1800s and early
1900s, people mined copper and iron in some places of the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan. I bet you might be unaware slate was once
mind at Arvon, which is a place near L'Anse in the Upper Peninsula.
By the way, L'Anse is in Baraga County. It was from about 1870
to 1892, that slate was mined at the Arvon Quarry. When a person
goes to the site of the slate mining operation, the person can see
evidence of the mining operation, such as the evidence of buildings.
What was the mining pit is no longer an open pit, like the Calcite
Quarry at Rogers City--the pit at Arvon is a small lake. The site of
the former slate quarry is along Arvon Road and about fifteen miles
form L'Anse. On a trip to Arvon, watch out for deer ahead and enjoy
your safe traveling.
While taking a trip by car or van or whatever in Michigan, a
person can easily drive by something that the person would do
well to see, if only to give the person a rest break. In Mackinaw
County of the Upper Peninsula, there is a special bridge along
US-2--it is the "Cut River Bridge." When a person drives over the
bridge, the person can see a bit of the bridge, but if the person does
not stop to see the bridge, the person will miss out on the chance
of seeing the Cut River Bridge Nature Trail, which is near the bridge.
The trail leads to places where a person can take pictures of the
bridge from underneath, and the trail also leads to Cut River and a
beach along Lake Michigan. In essence, the trail is through the Cut
River Gorge, which is about 147-feet below the famous 1948 bridge.
Remember: If you find yourself approaching the Cut River, plan to
stop and see the Cut River Bridge Nature Trail, and enjoy your safe
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The Hologlobe Press
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Ferndale, Michigan 48220-0551
The United States of America
copyright c. 2008
File date: 10 May 2008
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