Stories Along the Sunrise Coast
Legends and Lore
Everybody loves a good ghost story! These stories present the legends and lore of the Sunrise Coast…some past, some present. We’re not sure if they are true, but we dare you to come and see for yourself!
Check back often - we are always adding new stories!
Northern Michigan’s vast supply of white pine along with its network of rivers used to transport lumber to sawmills and ports led to the lumbering era of the 19th century. By 1869, Michigan was producing more lumber than any other state. Much of the housing in the Midwest was built from Michigan timber. This timber boom had a great economic impact on Michigan and also vastly changed the natural environment. Evidence of this era of Michigan history can be visited at sites along the AuSable River as well as in the Mackinac Straits.
For over 12,000 years, people have traveled the Great Lakes. From Native American dugout canoes to wooden sailing craft and steel freighters, thousands of ships have made voyages. Thunder Bay is adjacent to one of the most treacherous stretches of water within the Great Lakes system. Unpredictable weather, murky fog banks, sudden gales, and rocky shoals earned the area the name "Shipwreck Alley." Today, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s shipwrecks capture dramatic moments from centuries that transformed America. Lake Huron's cold, fresh water ensures that the shipwrecks are among the best preserved in the world. Many sites remain virtually unchanged for over 150 years. With masts still standing, deck hardware in place, and the crews' personal possessions often surviving, sites located in deeper waters are true time capsules. Other shipwrecks lay well-preserved but broken up in shallower waters. Readily accessible by kayakers, snorkelers, and divers of all abilities, these sites often provide sanctuary users with their first shipwreck experience.
Native American Stories
Native Americans, the original inhabitants of the Great Lakes region, numbered in the tens of thousands when the first French explorers visited Michigan. The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa had migrated to Michigan from eastern Ontario. Most Native American settlements were along river valleys or near the shoreline of the Great Lakes because strategic trade routes were necessary for survival. The most prominent place to experience Native American history, along with the French era and British eras, is the Straits of Mackinac, but Native American influence can be experienced all along the route from the traditional Pow wow held by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to the exhibits on display in Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.
Stories of the Land
The Sunrise Coast is a natural wonderland of rugged and beautiful Lake Huron shoreline, glacial geology, vast tracts of dense woodland, inland lakes, crystal clear rivers and streams, and wildlife. These stories take you through the glaciation beginning in the Pleistocene era where continental glaciers one-mile thick inched their way across Michigan and scoured out the landscape you see today. Experience the quiet solitude of a northern forest or the bustle of a bird migration route. These stories will take you to sites to experience nature on the Sunrise Coast.
Here you’ll find stories from different eras and that let you delve into the history of the Sunrise Coast. Stories from the French and British eras in the Mackinac Straits to the railroading history evident at the Standish Historic Depot, these stories cover a wide variety of history along the Sunrise Coast.