January 3, 2018
It’s that wintery time of year again, when curling up with a good book about the Thumb seems like the thing to do. Here’s another batch of Michigan-themed works, focused on the Thumb.
Michigan on Fire by Betty Sodders (author), Don Weeks (editor) 1997. Causing more damage than the more-famous Great Chicago fire, those wildfires raging through Michigan from side to side, in that smoky year of 1871, as well as a repeat performance in 1881, are given a detailed telling in this book. The tolls of the flames in human life (200+ dead), home destruction (20,000+ structures) and acreage torched (more than a million acres) have yet to be seen again, some 150 years later. The scholarly, scientific work details many forest fires of note in Michigan from the hellish 1871 season through 1974.There is focus on how the American Red Cross began its mission in Michigan because of those 1871 fires, fire-fighting equipment through the years and particularly intense burns such as the Thumb Fires of 1881, the 1908 Metz fire and the AuSable-Oscoda Fire of 1911.
Michigan Place Names by Walter Romig. Here’s a treasure chest full of information on how different places have been named in the Wolverine State. Arranged alphabetically, the book details the mundane naming of geographic features and the sometimes devious self-promotions of settlers seeking to gain fame by immortalizing their name in a place.
The Michigan Gardener’s Companion : An Insider’s Guide to Gardening in the Great Lakes State by Rita C. Henehan. As Michigan abounds in a great variety of soils (perhaps 400+ currently) and boasts a northern growing season and climate, this book seeks to assist the gardener in maximizing the yield from whatever type of soil they are growing with and increasing the number of days to successfully grow in our weather. The author resides in White Pigeon, where she holds the position of Master Gardener. She is a frequent writer of articles concerning Michigan gardening.
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