Tag Archives: Bad Axe

Hollywood Found Michigan’s Thumb


This Must Be the Place is a 2011 drama film directed by Paolo Sorrentino, written by Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello and released in the U.S. in 2012.It stars Sean Penn and Frances McDormand. The film deals with a middle-aged wealthy rock star who becomes bored in his retirement and takes on the quest of finding his father’s tormentor, a Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the United States.


This Must Be The Place

The film was an Italian-majority production with co-producers in France and Ireland. Principal photography began in August 2010. Filming took place in Ireland and Italy, as well as the Thumb area of  Michigan, New Mexico and New York. The film was in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.


This Must Be The Place


In September 2012 the production moved to Michigan where filming took place in Bad Axe, Ubly, Kinde and Sterling Heights. Some of what are thought to be shots from the Thumb area have been captured here from the YouTube Trailers. Anyone know where exactly these shots are from?


ThisMustBeThePlace2 ThisMustBeThePlace3

Material quoted from various web sources.

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Huron’s Drive-In Theaters


It’s widely recognized that the first drive in was Hollingshead’s drive-in opened in New Jersey June 6, 1933. It offered viewing for up to 400 vehicles and a 40 by 50 foot screen. The owner advertised his drive-in theater with the slogan, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.” The facility only operated three years, but during that time the concept caught on in other states.

Blue Sky Drive In Caseville Michigan


The drive-in’s peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rural areas, with some 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States. Huron County is recorded in having two drive-in’s, the Blue Sky between Caseville and Pinnebog and the M-53 near Bad Axe.


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The Blue Sky operated from 1950 – 1977. Surrounded by farmland it offered summer nighttime movies for 300. Faced with decline in attendance the drive in showed “blue films” in the 1970’s. Remains of this theater were evident until about 2010 when land owners removed the last of the speaker stands and cement footings.


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M-53 opened in 1953 and ran until 1988. Located just west of town, its 400 spaces drew folks from all over the county.

Today there are no drive-ins in the Upper Thumb. The nearest one is the Hi-Way Drive In in Sandusky. The Hi-Way is considered the oldest continuous running drive-in in Michigan.

Wind Saved the Family Farm


“The more than $100 billion that companies have invested in wind power in low-income counties—where about 70 percent of wind farms are located—has helped double assessed land values in some of the poorest parts of rural America.”

In a recent report by Bloomberg Businessweek it noted that “Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago.”

For some farmers, turbines spin off six-figure incomes that have allowed them to retire from farming altogether. However, this windfall his highly dependent wind conditions,  location, local zoning, setback requirements and a bit of luck. In Huron County Michigan, turbine projects and placement has pitted neighbor vs. neighbor and nasty exchanges in the township halls have ensued. While each lease is confidential, Bloomberg noted that landowners who sign lease agreements with wind companies typically get between $7,000 and $10,000 per turbine each year.


“Before, I raised corn and soybeans and cattle. Now I don’t. I’m a wind farmer.”


In an analysis of the article by Tina Casey she noted, “The full impact of new wind turbines on local communities is a bit more mixed than the article represents, but it does underscore how the wind industry is playing a critical role rural economic development — without the high risks and impacts of fossil fuel extraction.”

Sources

Wind Turbines To The Rescue, Family Farm Edition

Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers


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Bad Axe Almost Lost Its Name


By 1900 place names in the Thumb had reached a high degree of stability and permanence. Unsuccessful efforts to change the name of Bad Axe were made prior to 1900 and again in 1907 and in 1909.

A score of new names were suggested, including Hubbard, Axworthy, Huronia, Huron and Huron City. In 1907 William Lyon Phelps, a well-known professor of Yale University, supported the proposal to change the name. The Detroit Free Press defended the name, saying in an editorial, “Publicity is being given to a movement at Bad Axe to change the name of the town. Euphony is desirable … in geographical nomenclature, but characteristic, distinctive qualities are also desirable. With our Wayne’s and our Newport’s and Marshalls … we can’t spare our Bad Axe just yet from the Michigan map … If an effort to substitute something commonplace and hackneyed and stale for Bad Axe should be successful, who knows but some might want to change the name of Kalamazoo or of Ypsilanti.”*

In 1909 the state legislature changed the name of Bad Axe to Huron subject to a referendum of the voters of the city. No election to ratify the change in name was ever held because the Common Council of the city took the position that it was definitely known how the vote would result, and this being true, an election costing about one hundred dollars would be a needless expense. As far as the writer knows, the only place that changed its name after 1900 was Poverty Nook, which was renamed Hemans in 1914 for the Michigan historian, Lawton T. Hemans.

How did Bad Axe, the only town in the world with this name, get its appellation? In the spring of 1861 George Willis Pack and Rudolph Papst were laying out a road from Bay City to Sand Beach. At a place where a road ran north and south they found a broken, rusty axe embedded in a tree. They called the intersection Bad Axe Corners, which was later shortened to Bad Axe.

*Detroit, Free Press, May 25, 1907.

Excerpt from A HISTORY OF MICHIGAN’S THUMB by Gerard Schultz 1964. P 70


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