Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fumee Lake Natural Area

With spring FINALLY starting to arrive, everyone will be wanting to get outside and stretch their legs.  The Fumee Lake Natural Area has a number of unique features.  Fumee Lake and Little Fumee Lake provide a total of five miles of undeveloped shoreline. In addition to numerous wetlands, 507 acres of surface water holds a fishery deemed "very remarkable and unique" by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The area has historically been home to a number of  rare or threatened species including the Bald Eagle, Common Loon, and seventeen species of orchids.  Three plants on Michigan's Threatened Species list are found here: Walking Fern, Purple Cliff-brake and Marsh Grass of Parnassus.

The Fumee Lake Natural Area is used by educators to teach students about ecology. A number of non-motorized recreational opportunities await its visitors. Hiking, biking, bird watching, and nature photography in the spring, summer, and fall; Cross country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter months. Everyone is welcome to enjoy this four-season natural area. 
The Fumee Lake Commission invites the public to participate in their annual guided Spring Nature Walk at the Fumee Lake Natural Area.  This walk is for wildflower enthusiasts, bird watchers and nature lovers of all ages.
Wildflowers, birds, wildlife and some history of the area will be woven into this year’s walk. Your guide will be Phyllis Carlson of Quinnesec.  She will point out many of the wildflowers and orchids that can be found at Fumee, plus teach you some of the folklore surrounding them.  She will tell you about the Loons and Eagles that nest at Fumee, identify frog calls and point out other wildlife that happens to come by. Birdwatchers will want to keep an eye out for other birds, including warblers, which live and breed in the natural area.  Photographers will find a variety of subjects to capture.
The date of the walk is Sat. May 25, 8am. Meet at the East parking lot off the Upper Pine Creek Rd (off US2 between Quinnesec and Norway).  The walk will be approximately 1 1/2miles and 2-3hrs. Participants should dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bird and/or wildflower field guides are suggested. Birdwatchers should bring binoculars and photographers are encouraged to bring their cameras.  There is no charge to participate and a County park sticker in not required.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The History of the City of Kingsford

Several years ago we printed a full sized magazine with information on the area. Roger Scott, the former Treasurer for the City of Kingsford submitted this brief history of the forming of the City of Kingsford for that publication. Here is a copy of that letter..hope Mr. Scott is enjoying his retirement!

The History of the City of Kingsford

Kingsford's early history was a quiet one. In 1920, the population was a mere 40 residents, as there were no settled communities, no stores or businesses.

Then came a man named Ford.

Henry Ford had been eyeing the reserves of iron and timber in the Upper Peninsula since 1912. He contacted Edward G. Kingsford to express interest in acquiring raw materials for his factories. Kingsford, the husband of Ford's cousin, Minnie Flaherty, was a real estate agent and owned a Ford dealership in the area.

The Ford Motor Company had plans to locate a sawmill and parts plant in the Upper Peninsula to manufacture the wooden components for Ford automobiles. E. G. Kingsford facilitated the purchase of 313,447 acres of land for Ford and in 1920 construction began, employing more than 3,000 in the first year. On December 29, 1923, the charter for the newly formed Village of Kingsford was approved. By 1925, employment supporting the Ford Motor Company expansion to Dickinson County peaked at 7,500 workers.

Henry Ford's influence in Kingsford was vast and enduring. Ford sought affordable, modern housing for his employees and constructed over 100 homes in what is now known as the Ford Addition. Many other landmarks bear his name such as the Ford Airport, Ford Dam, Ford Clubhouse, Ford Hospital, Ford Park and Ford Commissary.

 Henry Ford's world class facility in Kingsford was the jewel of his empire during that era. The production of the "Woody" station wagon bodies and the conversion to glider production during World War II highlighted Ford's accomplishments in Kingsford. To make use of the waste wood generated by the sawmill, a chemical plant was constructed and in operation by 1924. The chemical plant reclaimed, from every ton of scrap wood, a variety of saleable byproducts. The 610 pounds of charcoal reclaimed per ton was manufactured into briquettes and sold, known as Ford Charcoal Briquettes.

The village flourished through the war years and on August 7, 1947, a city charter was approved. Henry Ford II eventually closed the sawmill and parts plant in 1951 and sold the chemical operation to a group of local business interests that formed an enterprise known as the Kingsford Chemical Company. The charcoal briquette plant  continued and renamed their product Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes, which has become a household name. The plant continued operation in Kingsford until 1961, and was then relocated to Louisville, Kentucky.