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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

History Column Dave Petersen I don't usually run pictures of a winter time scene during the summer but I thought that this series of photographs taken by Herman Olson about 1910 in Ludington were worth sharing today and not waiting until November. Herman Olson was a lifesaver who worked in the Ludington Lifesaving station, his great granddaughter Marcia Olson Easley offered to share one of their family albums with our readers. Ole Olson was the first of this family to come to Mason County and he was nick named "Strawberry" Ole as it is rumored that he introduced Mason County to growing strawberries. Ole for some reason did not want his sons to work for the carferries which they honored, but they did work for the lifesaving station. Work which could be both hard and dangerous. Herman Olson did not place the same restrictions on either of his sons, Lowell and Donald and both of them worked for the carferries at different times, Lowell as a coal passer and Donald in the Galley as a waiter. If you have photographs to share with our readers please contact me at 757-3240, e-mail to davep@blackcreekpress.com, or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News, P.O. Box 340, Ludington, MI, 49431 Pic1 This is a great view of a carferry coming down the channel at Ludington. If you look at the stern of the ferry you will note that there is no seagate. This dates the picture to 1910 or before as seagates were added to the carferries after the sinking of the PM 18 on September 10, 1910. Pic2 Usually when we see pictures of the breakwall you can't see the detail of the cribs. These cribs were build over on the Buttersville Peninsula and floated over, sunk and filled with stone and sand as a part of the Million Dollar Harbor Improvement project. Here you can clearly see the cribs and the planks that were placed over them to allow pedestrian traffic and access for fishermen. Pic3 We see many pictures of the exterior of the old lifesaving station and to find one of the interior is a rare treat indeed. The crew is seen here sitting down for a meal. They were always ready, always prepared to head out on a distress call. Pic4 The fellow standing in this photo is Herman Leonard Olson. When cameras became available to the masses after 1908 people simply loved them and loved to clown around and take comical photographs. It was just a few short years before that photography was limited to the professionals and the process did not allow for spontenaity. Herman stayed in his job there until enlisting to fight in WWI. Pic5 This picture is rich in eye catching elements of long past landmarks. Taken from the Lifesaving Station looking east you can see part of the Giles Tractor Factory, to the left just out of sight is Culver Park, several carferries are in port as well as one of the PM Black boats at the freight shed. To the right you can see part of Finn Town, home of Ludington's fishing fleet. The Watch Case, St Simon's Church, and the Freight elevator are all landmarks that have vanished.

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