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Marigolds, lighthouse keepers and perseverance – the rest of the story

Marigolds, lighthouse keepers and perseverance – the rest of the story

Several weeks ago, Friends of the Apostle Islands ran a story featurng the Edgar Guest poem connecting lighthouses, the age of automation and the end of an era for caretaker families who brought life, meaning, human touch, and memories to the stoic buildings that dot our shores.The poem ends with the line, “And will ever that automatic thing plant marigolds in early spring?” And the story noted my tradition of planting marigolds on my deck each spring, as homage to those families.Well, I have a new family to introduce to you. Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? From under the canopy...

Marigolds: A simple tribute to a different era in the Apostle Islands

Marigolds: A simple tribute to a different era in the Apostle Islands

If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to sit on the deck at photographer Mark Weller’s home, you may notice a small planting of marigolds. Flowers on a deck are nothing unusual and you may not give the potted flowers a second thought. But look again. These flowers have more than beautiful blossoms: they have a story.“I am a lighthouse man,” Mark Weller says. “Over the past decade, I and a team of talented photographers have traveled to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to photograph the Milky Way behind some of the park’s famous lighthouses. We sell the images to support the...

Senator Tammy Baldwin tours Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Senator Tammy Baldwin tours Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Big things happening on Sand Island. Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore toured several projects on the island with Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin on Thursday, September 2nd. The tour, led by Park Superintendent Lynne Dominy, including seeing dock work at East Bay, the accessible boardwalk project and more. The 2-mile-long boardwalk will connect the dock and accessible campsites, picnic areas, water sources and privies at East Bay with the Sand Island Light. The project is about halfway completed. It will be a major step forward in making the islands accessible to all. Friends...

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Gardening is an important part of the history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Early lighthouse keepers planted fruit trees, vegetables and grains to provide nourishment for the body; they also planted flower gardens to nourish the soul. On Michigan Island, Elizabeth Lane raised three children where her husband, Ed, was keeper from 1902 until he retired in 1938. She also cultivated some amazing gardens. Of Elizabeth, Coast Guard Chief Walter Parker said,“How she used to love to get up to that island and get at that garden of hers. That whole station was one mass of...

Lakeshore Logbook – Dave Chesky

Lakeshore Logbook – Dave Chesky

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 20th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Dave Chesky worked as a Seasonal Park Ranger GS-5, during the 1978 and 1979 seasons. What is the coolest thing you did in Apostle...

History Mystery: Francis Jacker marooned on Oak Island!

History Mystery: Francis Jacker marooned on Oak Island!

Francis Jacker was keeper at Raspberry Island Lighthouse from 1885 through 1892. Jacker was born in Germany in 1840 and studied for three years at the Munich Academy of Arts.  He immigrated to America in 1859 and moved to northern Michigan in 1862 to reunite with his brother who was a missionary among the Indians.  In 1863 Jacker married an Ojibwe girl, named Ikwesens (Little Girl), or Catherine, as she was christened.  Her father, Wabos, was one of the great chiefs of the Ojibwe nation.  They built a home near Portage Entry, Michigan and started a family. Francis Jacker at his farm near...

History Mystery: How Gert Wellisch saved Sand Island Lighthouse

History Mystery: How Gert Wellisch saved Sand Island Lighthouse

Gert Wellisch (1896-1966) spent her childhood summers in the Apostle Islands. In 1910 her father Robert Wellisch, a well-to-do manufacturer from St. Paul, joined with three other businessmen to build an imposing, Adirondack-style lodge on the west shore of Sand Island.   The West Bay Club The main room in the West Bay Club Gert by the wood pile at the West Bay Club in 1916 Gert grew up to be a St. Paul schoolteacher, and her small cadre of female city friends became a regular fixture of the Sand Island summer community during the World War I era. Their island adventures, exploring forests,...

History Mystery: Emmanuel Luick photos document life of the Sand Island community and beyond

History Mystery: Emmanuel Luick photos document life of the Sand Island community and beyond

  Emmanuel Luick served as the head lighthouse keeper at the Sand Island Lighthouse from 1892 through 1920 when it was the first Apostle Islands lighthouse to become automated.  Sand Island Lighthouse Along with his duties in tending the light, Luick also documented life at the light station in his log book.  For a while he allowed his first wife, Ella, to assume this duty. Ella Luick was 16 when she married 27-year-old Luick in 1895.  She took over the light keeper's log, treating it like a diary, recording her boredom and dissatisfaction. Then in May 1905, Ella Luick jotted down that...

Lakeshore Logbook – Elise Lennon

Lakeshore Logbook – Elise Lennon

Elise Lennon As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 14th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Elise Lennon grew up in Bayfield as Elise Weber.  She worked at the information desk at the Bayfield Visitor Center when...

Lakeshore Logbook – Jeff Rennicke

Lakeshore Logbook – Jeff Rennicke

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. Jeff Rennicke This is the eighth in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Jeff Rennicke worked as an interpretive ranger in 2004 and as a volunteer lighthouse keeper.  He played an important...