OLD PRESQUE ISLE LIGHT
NEW PRESQUE ISLE LIGHT
40 MILE POINT LIGHTHOUSE
Did You Know? 01
Produced by the Presque Isle County
The “Castles” of Presque
No, there aren’t really any castles in Presque Isle
County . . .but we do have three lighthouses that have
tall towers, very similar to the towers on castles in
of the lighthouses were built in the 1800’s to guide
ships operating on the Great Lakes. The bright lights
shone from their towers warned ships of shallow water.
With the invention of radar and sophisticated navigation
systems, however, ships no longer have to rely on the
lighthouses. Most of them have been decommissioned, and
many have been turned over to groups that operate them
as tourist attractions.
There are 122
lighthouses in Michigan, and Presque Isle County is
fortunate to have three of them. They are Forty Mile
Point Lighthouse, Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, and New
Presque Isle Lighthouse.
The Old Presque
Isle Lighthouse was built in 1840, and is the oldest
manmade structure in Presque Isle County. It is located
on Lake Huron, about halfway between Rogers City and
Alpena. Its four-foot-thick stone tower has hand-carved
steps and a chain banister to guide you to the top.
The New Presque
Isle Lighthouse was built in 1870, farther out on the
point than the old lighthouse. Its brick tower rises
113 feet from its limestone foundation, making it the
tallest lighthouse on Lake Huron. To get to the top,
you have to climb 130 steps. You can see the tower’s
light from twenty-one miles out on Lake Huron.
The Forty Mile
Point Lighthouse, built in 1896, is northwest of Rogers
City on Lake Huron. Aptly named, it is located 40 miles
southeast of Old Mackinaw Point Light and 40 miles
northwest of Thunder Bay Island Light. The lighthouse
has a brick duplex residence attached to its
52-foot-high tower. The lighthouse keeper and his
family lived on one side, while the assistant keeper and
his family occupied the other side.
During the summer
season, all three of the lighthouses in Presque Isle
County are open to the public.
Did You Know? 02
This photo shows the passenger and freight steamboat
Marine City at a dock in Rogers City. It was the
first steamboat to regularly call at Rogers City, and it
brought many of the earliest settlers to the area. The
Marine City was propelled by “sidewheel” paddle
wheels. You can clearly see the decorative covering
over the sidewheel. The big wooden arch strengthened
the hull, and kept it from bending too much. Most
passengers stayed in cabins on the upper deck. The
lower deck was used mainly to carry freight. The boat’s
wheelhouse at the bow was in the “birdcage,” or Gothic
Early settlers traveled to and from Presque Isle County
mainly on the “blue highways.” The “blue highways” were the
lakes and rivers that make up the Great Lakes’ system. They
were the same “highways” the Indians had used for hundreds of
In 1870, when the first settlers arrived at Rogers City,
there were about 2,500 ships operating on the Great Lakes.
About 1,900 were sailboats, mainly schooners, while the other
600 were steam-powered. The number of sailboats had peaked in
the1860s, and their numbers were shrinking each year. At the
same time, the use of steam-powered boats was increasing each
Sailboats depended on the wind. If there wasn’t any wind,
the sailboats couldn’t make any progress. The steamboats could
operate whether there was wind or not, so they were much more
Most settlers traveled on passenger and freight steamers like
the Marine City. The wood-hulled Marine City had
been built in Marine City, Michigan, in 1866. It was 192 feet
long and 28 feet wide. It had two decks of cabins for
passengers, and all sorts of freight could be carried on the
lower decks. On a typical trip up the lakes, the Marine City
might have carried several cows, crates of chickens, bales
of hay, bags of corn, crates of merchandise, kegs of salt and
gunpowder, and all sorts of lumbering tools and farm
implements. Virtually everything needed to sustain life in the
north woods came on the boats.
The Marine City traveled between Cleveland, Detroit,
and Mackinac Island, with stops at many communities located
along Lake Huron’s shore. Like many of the early steamboats, it
was propelled by paddlewheels located in the middle of the
The sailboats carried mainly freight, lumber, and bulk
cargoes, like stone, coal, iron ore, and grains. Many were also
used as barges, towed along behind steamers or steam-powered
tugs. It was common for a steamer to tow four or five such
Most of the lumber shipped out of Presque Isle County was
loaded aboard wood-hulled boats called “steam barges,” or
“lumber hookers.” Lumber was loaded in their cargo holds, and
stacked high on their decks. One of the steam barges, the C.
H. Starke, operated out of Rogers City for many years.
When the Michigan Limestone plant at Rogers City began
shipping limestone in 1912, most of it was carried in giant,
steel-hulled lake freighters like the Calcite. The
420-foot-long Calcite was built for Michigan Limestone.
It was the first boat in the company’s fleet of self-unloading
While most of the passenger and freight business around the
Great Lakes was eventually taken over by railroads, trucks,
automobiles, and airplanes, giant steel freighters still carry
limestone from Rogers City to ports around the Great Lakes.
Some of today’s freighters are more than 1,000 feet long —
longer than three football fields laid end-to-end! They steam
up and down the lakes on the same “blue highways” used for
hundreds of years by Indians in birch-bark canoes.
Did You Know? 03
In 1910, the Michigan Limestone and Chemical
Company was established. The company began
building a limestone quarry and processing plant
at the village of Crawford’s Quarry, just south
of Rogers City. At the same time, the company
contracted with the Detroit Shipbuilding Company
to build a large steel freighter. The freighter
would be used to haul stone from the plant at
Rogers City to ports around the Great Lakes.
Production of limestone began at the
company’s Calcite Plant in the summer of 1912.
The second ship to load at the plant was the
company’s brand new Steamer Calcite. The
Calcite was the first of seven
“self-unloading” ships that would eventually be
built for the Bradley Transportation fleet,
which was owned by Michigan Limestone. In the
1950s and 1960s, four ships from U.S. Steel’s
Pittsburgh Steamship fleet were also transferred
to the Bradley fleet. Before they began hauling
limestone from the plant at Rogers City, the
four were converted to self-unloaders.
These self-unloading ships were unique. A
self-unloader has a conveyor system that carries
limestone from the cargo hold to an “unloading
boom” on the deck. A conveyor belt on the long,
steel boom then carries the cargo to the end of
the boom. This boom can be raised and turned so
it extends over the side of the ship, where the
cargo falls into a pile on the dock. With this
system, a self-unloading ship can unload just
about anywhere. Ships that aren’t self-unloaders
can only go to ports that have equipment, such
as big cranes, that can dig cargo out of a
ship’s cargo hold. Many small ports around the
lakes don’t have that kind of equipment. So if
they want a load of stone or coal, it has to be
delivered by a self-unloading ship.
When the Steamer Calcite and other
early Bradley boats were built, there were very
few self-unloading ships. Today, however,
almost all the ships on the Great Lakes are
Most of the sailors who worked on the Bradley
boats were from Rogers City or other communities
in Presque Isle County. Some of these sailors
were lost at sea. Two of the Bradley ships were
victims of shipwrecks. The Steamer Carl D.
Bradley sank during a Lake Michigan storm in
the fall of 1958. Thirty-three crew members
died in the sinking. In 1965, the Steamer
Cedarville sank in the Straits of Mackinac
after it collided with another ship. Ten
Cedarville crewmen were lost as a result of
Of the ships built for the Bradley fleet,
only the John G. Munson is still in service.
Three of the converted ships are still in
operation, but are owned by other companies.
Photo Above - The brand new steamer
Calcite loading for the first time at the
Michigan Limestone dock at Rogers City on
Wednesday, June 26, 1912. Many Rogers City
residents were on hand to watch the giant ship
load. In order to demonstrate how a
self-unloading vessel could unload its cargo,
the Calcite’s boom was swung out over the
water and part of her cargo was discharged. The
Calcite was retired during the 1961
season, after 48 years of service with the
Bradley Transportation fleet. During that time,
she had carried 4,605 cargoes. When the ship
was cut up for scrap, her pilothouse was removed
and returned to Rogers City.
It can be seen today on the grounds of the Forty
MilePoint Lighthouse, north of Rogers City.
SINKING OF THE CARL D. BRADLEY
Did You Know? 04
Sinking of the
Carl D. Bradley
One of the
most tragic events in Rogers City’s history was
the sinking of the Steamer Carl D. Bradley.
The Bradley was a limestone freighter
whose home port was Rogers City. On November
18, 1958, the Bradley got caught in a
severe storm on northern Lake Michigan, with
twenty-five to thirty-foot waves, and wind gusts
around seventy-five miles an hour.
At 5:30 p.m. a loud “thud” was heard aboard
the ship. First Mate Elmer Fleming, in the
ship’s pilothouse, spun around and noticed the
stern of the ship sagging badly. It was
instantly obvious to Fleming that the Bradley
was breaking in half.
As mountainous waves and high winds tore at
the ship, Fleming grabbed the radio microphone
and broadcast a “Mayday” message to the Coast
Guard and ships in the area: “Mayday!” Fleming
yelled. “This is the Carl D. Bradley.
Our position is twelve miles southwest of
Gull Island. The ship is breaking up in heavy
seas. We’re going to sink. We’re going down!”
The Bradley sank quickly. Fleming and
three other crewmen made it to a life raft, but
only Fleming and Frank Mays, a deck watchman,
survived. With search and rescue efforts
hampered by the savage storm, the two clung to
the raft for more than fourteen hours before
being rescued by the Coast Guard Cutter
Thirty-three men perished in the sinking.
The bodies of eighteen Bradley crewmen
were pulled from the frigid waters of Lake
Michigan. Fifteen other crewmen were never
found. Most of the men on the Bradley
were from Rogers City, or other communities in
Presque Isle County. Over fifty children were
left fatherless in the aftermath of the sinking.
No one knows exactly what caused the ship to
sink, although many theories exist. Today the
wrecked hull of the Bradley lies 360 feet
deep in Lake Michigan.
Below - A painting of the Steamer
Carl D. Bradley battling a storm on Lake
Michigan on November 18, 1958. The painting by
Ken Friedrich, a former Bradley crewmember,
depicts the boat breaking in half. Only 2 of
the ship’s 35 crewmembers survived the sinking.
CCC Camps in Presque Isle
Did You Know? 05
Americans were without work when Franklin Delano
Roosevelt took office in 1933, during the Great
Depression. To make work for unemployed young
men, Roosevelt started the “Emergency
Conservation Work Program,” better known today
as the Civilian Conservation Corps.
eligible for the program a person had to be a
veteran, or a young man between the ages of 18
and 25 whose family was on welfare. The men had
to sign up for enrollments of 6 months to 24
months. The first “CCC Camps,” as they were
called, opened in the spring of 1933, and by
July 275,000 men had joined. Between 1933 and
when the program ended in 1942, almost three
million men participated.
The men lived in camps that were set up by
the Army. They lived in tents, and ate meals in
mess halls, just like soldiers did. The CCC men
mainly worked on conservation projects for the
Department of Agriculture and Department of the
Interior. Enrollees were paid $30 a month, and
each man was expected to send at least $15 to
quota for Presque Isle County was 22 men, but
more than 100 applications were received. Very
few of the men met the qualifications for the
were set up in Presque Isle County in 1933.
Both camps were made up of men who had served in
the Spanish-American War or World War I. Camp
Hawks was located at Lake May, south of Hawks.
Camp Black Lake was located at Ocqueoc Lake.
Men at both camps were involved in building
roads and bridges, planting trees on thousands
of acres of barren land, planting
hatchery-raised fish in lakes in rivers,
fighting forest fires, installing telephone
lines, erecting fire towers, and constructing
buildings, water systems, fences, trails,
benches, and tables at Onaway and Hoeft state
parks. Some men from the Black Lake camp also
helped build a runway at the Onaway airport.
By the early
1940s, the country’s economy had improved
significantly, and it became difficult to enroll
men in the program and many camps were shut
down. The CCC program itself ended shortly
after the United States entered World War II in
December of 1941.
than sixty years have passed since the CCC camps
ended, the Black Lake Camp is still in
existence. It is now owned by Presque Isle
County and operates as the Ocqueoc Outdoor
Center. It is one of the few surviving CCC
camps in the nation.
* The first
men from Presque Isle County to join the CCC
were: Watson Labiak, Earl Lowe, Shirley
Hartwick, Ernest Wright, George Duncan, Albert
Dunbar, Loren Dinsmore, Jr., Angus Morgan,
Eldred McLean, Norman King, Jack McClary, Clyde
Davis, Donald Frazier, Vern Smith, Chester
McQuaid, Vern Dickerson, Edwin Ducap, Melvin
Lozen, Edmund Ferko, Adolph Filipiak, Edward
Smith, Glen Storrs, Max Kaminski, Reuben
Bruning, and Albert Stricker. Some of the men
may be the grandfathers, or great-grandfathers,
of your students.
provided by Gerald Micketti.
Photo Below -
One of the buildings at the CCC camp at Black
Lake. Today, the camp is known as the Ocqueoc
Outdoor Center. Many of the buildings built at
the camp in the 1930s are still in use.
Did You Know? 06
Before the first settlers arrived at what
would become Rogers City, there was a settlement
called Crawford’s Quarry, located where the
Calcite Plant is today. In 1864, Francis
Crawford purchased property along the shore and
moved his wife and three sons to the area. He
planned to cut wood to supply steamboats
traveling up and down Lake Huron.
On his property, Crawford found a large hill
of limestone that he thought could be used as
building stone. He cut and polished some of it,
but when he sent samples to buyers, they found
it was too porous and soft for building
purposes. Despite that, the little community
that grew up around Crawford’s dock came to be
known as Crawford’s Quarry.
When the settlement of the village of Rogers
started around 1870, an intense rivalry quickly
developed between Rogers and Crawford’s Quarry.
The village of Rogers built a courthouse on land
donated by William E. Rogers, namesake of the
little community. Crawford’s Quarry, like
Rogers, wanted to be the county seat, and there
was much quarreling between the two communities.
In 1874, Leonard Crawford was elected
supervisor, and the county offices were moved
from Rogers to Crawford’s Quarry. Residents of
Crawford’s Quarry authorized $1,000 to build a
courthouse there. It was an octagon-shaped
building heated by a wood stove that was
purchased for $50. On November 5 1874, the
County Board of Commissioners met in the new
courthouse at Crawford’s Quarry and voted to get
rid of the courthouse in Rogers. Residents of
Rogers refused to allow their courthouse to be
In an 1875 election, the village of Rogers
was established as the county seat. Following
that election, the courthouse at Crawford’s
Quarry was permanently closed, and the stove was
moved to the courthouse in Rogers City.
Rogers continued to grow, while Crawford’s
Quarry, once a community of 225 people and
numerous businesses, saw its population
dwindle. In 1910, the newly-formed Michigan
Limestone and Chemical Company purchased all the
property around Crawford’s Quarry. Crawford’s
Quarry was finally going to become a limestone
quarry. Some residents stayed on at Crawford’s
Quarry into the 1920s, but they were eventually
forced out by the expansion of Michigan
Limestone’s Calcite Plant. Today, there are few
signs that the community ever existed.
Most of this information is from Nina
Ferdelman’s Virgin Forests to Modern Homes,
published in 1947.
Presque Isle County Assassin
Did You Know? 07
The Presque Isle
County Man Who Assassinated President McKinley
stood in line with other visitors to the
Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in
order to shake hands with the President of the
United States. But, when his turn came, instead
of shaking hands he squeezed the trigger of his
.32 caliber pistol and fired two bullets into
President William McKinley. He was immediately
knocked down and beaten by soldiers, police, and
angry citizens. In fact, the man was almost
killed on the spot.
The man was Leon
Czolgosz, pronounced “Chōl-gŭsh.” Prior to
September 6, 1901, nobody had ever heard of Leon
Czolgosz; after that date he became infamous.
President McKinley died on September 13, 1901,
and Czolgosz was eventually tried and found
guilty of his murder.
incident of American history is mentioned not
only because Czolgosz was the assassin of
President William McKinley, but because Czolgosz
had once lived in Presque Isle County. In fact,
at the time of the assassination, members of his
family were still living in the area.
Czolgosz was born in Detroit in 1873, a few
months after his parents emigrated from the
Prussian province of Posen, Poland. Seven years
later the family moved north, living six months
in Rogers City and five years in Posen. The
family then moved to Alpena. After five years
in Alpena, the family moved to Natrona,
Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and lived there
for two years before moving to Cleveland. An
uncle, Joseph Czolgosz, lived on a farm six
miles north of Posen, and was known as an
industrious and prosperous farmer. Another
uncle, John Czolgosz, lived in Posen, and Leon’s
brother Frank lived in Metz Township.
Czolgosz’s trial was probably the shortest on
record, at least as far as presidential
assassins go. His trial commenced September 23,
1901, and Czolgosz was found guilty after only
two days. He was executed in the electric chair
on October 29th. Afterwards his clothes and
effects were burned. As Czolgosz was being
buried, sulfuric acid was poured into his coffin
to hasten disintegration of the body.
from the Presque Isle County Advance,
September 12, 1901, and the Detroit
News-Tribune, September 8, 1901.