All posts by ThumbWind

Author of a fun loving and event blog covering topics of the Upper Thumb of Michigan , the wind energy capital of the Great Lakes. Offering great trove of information on Wind Energy, Cheeseburger in Caseville, Saginaw Bay, Sailing,

Port Crescent – A Ghost Town in the Thumb


Port Cresent State Park Beach South

Port Crescent State Park is one of the largest state parks in southern Michigan.  Located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb” along three miles of sandy shoreline of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, the park offers excellent fishing, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, and hunting opportunities.  However a little known aspect of this park is that it sits on the location of a ghost town.

What’s In a Name – Pinnebog Confusion

Walter Hume established a trading post and hotel near the mouth of the Pinnebog River in 1844. From these humble beginnings the area took the name of Pinnebog, taking its name from the river of which it was located. However, a post office established some five miles upstream also took its name from the river. To avoid confusion the  town changed its name to Port Crescent for the crescent-shaped harbor along which it was built.


Port-Crescent-Village-Plat-Map-1870s


Port Crescent – Industrial Powerhouse

Port Crescent had two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a cooperage which manufactured barrels for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory,  two brewerys, several stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a depot and telegraph office, and a roller rink. Pinnebog employed hundreds of area residents.

By 1870 a 1,300 foot well struck brine.  This started a salt blockhouse operation where they extracted brine by evaporating the water to produce 65,000 barrels of salt annually. Port Crescent used the “slash” or leftover limbs, bark ans sawdust for fuel to boil the salt water. At one time a this 17 block village boasted of a population of more than 500

Port Crescent prospered as a lumber town from about 1864 to 1881. One sawmill became so busy salvaging thousands of trees felled in one of the infamous fires experienced by the Midwest in 1871 that it added a 120-foot brick chimney to help power the plant. In 1881, another fire swept through the Thumb region, destroying the area’s timber resources.


Port Crescent Grist Mill
Port Crescent Grist Mill


The Town of Port Crescent Declines

When the timber in the Pinnebog River basin was gone, the town began to decline.  The lumber mills closed, as did the firewood-fueled salt plants. Workers dismantled some of the buildings and an 800-foot dock, moving them north to Oscoda, Michigan. Some Port Crescent residents moved their houses to nearby towns. By 1894, all of the buildings in Port Crescent were gone, leaving few traces of the town behind. Nathaniel Bennett Haskell, who owned the sawmill and salt plant on the west side of the river, began to export white sand which was used in the manufacture of glass. This continued until 1936.


Port Crescent State Park

Port Cresent State Park River Bank

After  World War II, the  demand for public use areas along shoreline property stimulated interest for an additional state park in the Thumb. Twenty years later, the Michigan Department of Conservation acquired possession of 124 acres of fine woodland at this place for a new state park. Port Crescent State Park was officially established on September 6, 1959.

Today little remains of the former town. Foundations can be seen, in the Organization Area, where a structure stood. The lower 10 feet the old sawmill chimney is a prominent part of the park entrance.


Like this topic?

Please share it with your favorite Social Media.


ThumbWind-Follow-Us-On-Twitter

Advertisements

Trihalomethane Found in Caseville’s Water System


Updated April 2, 9:15 am.

Online reports from WNEM and other news outlets have reported that recent tests of Caseville, Michigan’s water supply showed excessive levels of Trihalomethine. Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water. Trihalomethanes forced the first water safety regulations to be issued after passage of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.

Chemical Byproduct in Water System Seen in 2016 Testing

Caseville said they are seeing 2017 average test results at of Trihalomethine at 88 parts per billion.  Caseville’s 2016 Water Report showed measurements of Trihalomethine ranging from 40 to 100 parts per billion.  Four tests were conducted in 2016 with an overall average at 74 parts per billion. The safe standard is 80 parts per billion.

We spoke with Troy Hartz, Superintendent of the Caseville Water Plant. Caseville’s water supply comes from Saginaw Bay. He noted that the measurements in August have the highest level of Trihalomethine due to the warmer water from the lake. Hartz noted that the Michigan DEQ informed him that there are other Michigan water systems who draw surface water from lakes who are also experiencing the high Trihalomthine measurements during August testing. 

Steps Being Taken 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been brought in to the Caseville Water Plant to determine the best way to address the problem and comply with the water safety standard. Hartz indicated that adjustments may be made of the amount of chlorine applied at Caseville’s pumping station to address the concern.  

Caseville has not asked residents to seek other water sources but have asked residents with heath concerns to consult with their doctor.

Long term exposure to high levels Trihalomethanes can lead to kidney or liver damage and an increased risk for cancer.


ThumbWind-Follow-Us-On-Twitter

Attract Hummingbirds and Orioles to Your Cottage


We were at the market in Caseville about a week ago and someone brought up the topic of when the hummingbirds will show up. I’ll admit that in the Upper Thumb there is a big nectar feeder culture. We look forward to seeing these migratory visitors show up each spring as a sign of warmer days ahead. 

 The robins make their way here about mid-March to feast on insects and worms emerging from the frozen earth. The next anticipated migratory birds to swoop in on the scene is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Baltimore Oriole. After spending, the winter in Mexico, Cuba and Central America theses migratory birds make their way to the Great Lakes by mid April.

With a little persistence, you can attract hummingbirds and orioles to your cottage within a few weeks and enjoy this colorful resident for the entire summer season.


oriole-feeder

For Orioles Set up Colorful Feeders Early

  • Orange is the New Black – Orioles are attracted to bright vibrant orange. We found that having an orange or bright red feeder draws the birds in for the feast. Set the sliced orange halves in a shallow bit of water to discourage ants. Replace the oranges daily. If you see mold, clean out the feeder. Mold can be harmful to the birds.
  • Set Up Feeders Early in the Season – We think orioles have a great memory and hummingbirds are demanding. One early spring we noted that the hummingbirds were buzzing us until the feeder was placed. Placing your feeders out early will catch the early arrivals and may turn those passing through to seasonal residents.
  • Keep Oriole Feeders Out in the Open – We have seen the most active oriole feeder posted in the middle of the yard. Orioles will fly in, take a sip or two of the sweet nectar then fly off to a nearby perch to finish up, preen and do it again.

    Ruby-throated-HummingBird

If You See an Oriole Nest, Switch to Bugs

  • Mealworms – If you are lucky enough to see one of the small sack like nests in your yard change up the diet to mealworms. In the spring, the birds crave the sweet from fruit nectar after their long migratory flight north. Once breeding and nesting season starts they will begin to seek out insects. Mealworms are a great high-protein food that will build them up for their fall flight south.
  • Leave Oriole Nests in Place – The bird won’t reuse the nest but the will reused the material. Orioles will set their nests out on slender green twigs to discourage predators. We found nests in small trees about six feet off the ground. Experts suggest offering lengths of twine or horsehair. Sadly we have seen small spreads of plastic wrap incorporated in a nest.

    Baltimore-Oriole

Create a Bird Spa

  • Water  – Orioles are attracted to shallow moving water. Pick a shallow basin and add a small pump or bubbler to keep the water moving. Change the bath when you see crud or droppings 
  • Place Oriole Feeders Away from You – Orioles are typically shy. They do not like a lot of traffic from humans or animals. Try to locate your feeder in an open area where it can be seen from the air and treetops. Placement in a high branch or on top of a pole is ideal. We have place one feeder on a tree outside our kitchen window with great success. 
  • Multiple Hummingbird Feeders – If your successful drawing in the small birds, consider placing several nectar feeds in close proximity. 

    Ruby-throated_hummingbird_on_feeder

Hummingbird Food Tips

  • Offer Clear Sugar Solution – We use the same recipe for both orioles and hummingbirds. Add one cup Big Chief granulated sugar to four cups of boiling water. Stir and let cool. Refrigerate unused portion. Never use food coloring. Or Orioles, some experts recommend diluting the sugar water to eight parts water to 1 part sugar.
  • Grape Jelly is OK – A favorite alternative to sugar solution is a small amount of grape jelly. A couple of tablespoons in an secure dish is like ringing the dinner bell. You may see some aggressive behavior by the orioles as they vie for feeding rights. Hummingbirds will also visit a jelly station.  Experts suggest mixing a ¼ cup of water into the jelly.
  • Clean Feeder Means Healthy Birds – If you see black mold form in and around your feeder take it in and wash it out. This advice is especially true for hummingbird feeders. The sweet nectar will draw in ants and other critters.

ThumbWind-Follow-Us-On-Twitter

Facebook Freezes App Developers Working in Messenger


Author Note. Last year we created the area’s first ChatBot for getting information on Michigan’s Thumb. It’s been used 100’s of times and development continues. Overnight we were informed that Facebook is placing a “pause” on any new Bot development. Its uncertain if ThumbBot will be affected. For the record ThumbBot does not collect any user data other then your username. 

Yesterday, Ime Archibong, VP Platform Partnerships and the head of Facebook’s Messenger platform made an announcement yesterday that will affect the Bot developer community.

Facebook is putting a pause on approval reviews on those applications under development that utilize Messenger and link to Pages. Facebook is undergoing an investigation of all applications installed prior to 2014. At that time, Facebook placed restrictions on applications access to Facebook user data. The social network is looking for applications that have access and misuse personally identifiable information. (PII) collected from users on the platform.

Privacy Concerns With the World’s Largest Social Network

The application pause is likely due to the fallout to a story that ran on in the New Zealand Times Herald which told of a developer discovering that phone calls and texts made with his Android phone was being collected by Facebook.

This latest news is on top of reports last week of Facebook user data collected by the UK firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US Presidential election. During the election, the Trump campaign allegedly used a Cambridge Analytica Facebook App to collect the personal data of 50 million users. Over this past weekend, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took out ads in newspapers in the U.S. and UK to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Facebook faces potential fines up to $40,000 per user for personal data accessed without their permission.

Facebook also outlined that other changes will be made to the Messenger platform to protect user data. One new change is that users are informed if an application they are using is found to have misused their personal data. Developers and applications will have to agree to stronger Terms and Conditions along with tougher encouragement for users to manage their data.

Bot Development on Facebook Messenger Affected

Bot development platform Chatfuel informed their users overnight about this development. Chatfuel posted a notice to its base of users indicating, “Facebook is asking developers to temporarily disable the ability for their apps to connect new bots to pages.” It noted that all Messenger Bots currently connected to a Page will not be affected.

Next Steps for Messenger Uncertain

Facebook has not offered a timetable as to when investigation will conclude and pause lifted.

The official notice from Facebook is below.
https://messenger.fb.com/newsroom/messenger-platform-changes-in-development/