Allured Amazed & Awestruck: My Favorite Island!

Article excerpt

Great Lakes Island Guru

For my 1955 senior year high school term paper topic I selected Isle Royale. to do a grade-saving excellent project, I convinced my dad to let me drive the twelve pre-freeway miles to the stately Detroit Main Library There I found a treasure of materials to produce a creditable research paper, but my mind was also opened to the fact that Michigan is much more than a "mitten" or two peninsulas.

Since then I have been disappointed when illustrations representing Michigan omit Isle Royale and other major islands. For the 1980 "Year of the Coast" studies I was an interpreter for a project to record the entire state shoreline from the air by 35mm color slide photos. Characteristically, most of Michigan's multitude of island shorelines were left out of the study.

In 1994, I experienced the unforgettable sights and sounds of Isle Royale's wilderness, coming face-to-face with trail-blocking moose and then calmly pondering the ancients who dug copper pits. In total contrast, I was stunned by an impeccably coiffeured lady striding in clacking heels towards a ranger, demanding, "Where's civilization here?"

Using county atlases, I have identified by name, 348 of the state's Great Lakes islands (32 over one square mile and including Lake St. Clair). Of the total, 24 are duplicate names. The most common being Gull and Round (8 each); Long (5); Green, Middle and Moon (4 each); and Hog, Sugar and Sand (3 each). Clothing provides curious names (Boot, Hat and Shoe). Of those with people's names, four are female (Grace, Susan, Marion and Little Ellen's); several are recognizable first names, but also could be last names (Ross, Howard and Arnold, etc). Eight carry historically prominent names (Cass, Captain, Kidd, Dickinson, Marquette, LaSalle, Macomb, Meade and Washington). Native Americans are also honored with names, while about two dozen are French. Food (Chicken, Garlic, Raspberry, Whiskey, etc.) and fauna (Bat, Heron, Crow, etc.) also are well represented.

I hope my trusting teachers of a half-century ago can now rest easy knowing that the required senior term paper on one island opened an interest in all of Michigan's alluring islands.

Richard A. Santer, PhD

Big Rapids

RICH SANTER'S LIST OF Great Lakes Islands


* Manitou, * Isle Royale. W. TO E. SOUTH SIDE: Little Siskiwit, Siskiwit, Redfin, Paul, Castle, (1) Long, Stone House, Menagerie, Shiverette, Outer, Inner, Channel, Wright, Malone, Ross, Hat, Schooner, Middle, Cemetery, West Caribou, East Caribou, Rabbit, Mott, Outer Hill, Inner Hill, Mad, Star, Davidson, Heron, Tookers, Tallman, Shaw, Lone Tree, Smithwick, Raspberry, Bat, Minong, Flag, Smith, North Government, South Government, Gale, Newman, Edwards, (2) Long, Third, Boys, Merritt, Passge. E. TO W. NORTH SIDE: Pete, Battleship, Steamboat, Diamond, Net, (1) Green, Dean, Captain Kidd, Cork, Johnson, Belle, Burnt, Clay, Homer, Amygdaloid, Round, Hawk, Kamloops, (2) Green, Arch, Wilson, Taylor, Thompson, Johns, Beaver, Salt, Grace, Booth, Barnum, Washington, Bottle




Middle, Partridge, Larus, Little Partridge, Garlic, Granite, Huron Islands (Lighthouse, McIntrye, Gull and three unnamed)

DELTA (12)

* St. Medio, * Summer, * Little Summer, Poverty, Gull, Little Gull, Gravelly, Rocky, (1) Round. (2) Round, St. Vitals, Snake


* South Manitou. * North Manitou. * South Fox, * North Fox, Bellow/Gull




* Beaver, * High, * Garden, * Hog, Gull, Trout, Whiskey, Squaw, Pismire Grape, Horseshoe, Shoe, Hal, Tims


Charity, Little Charity, Gull

BAY (3)

Gull, Channel, Shelter


* Grand, Lost, Wood, Williams, Au Train


Guard, Indian, Turtle


Albany, Saddlebag, * Drummond, Frying Pan, Crab, Arnold, Surgeon, Fisher, Bird, Garden, Bellevue, Long, Espanore, Gravel, Canoe, Meade, Shelter, * Lime, * Burnt, * Harbor, Twin, Round, Bass Reef, Love, Edward, Hart, Little Lime, Sweets, Squaw, Pipe, Pipe Twins, Little Cass, Cass, Macomb, Andrews, Big Trout, Maple, Butterfield, Bow, Little Trout, Surveyors, Arrow, Adelaide, Fairbank, Cove, Young, Picnic, Willoughby, Sam, Wreck, Boulnger, Gull, Saltonstall, Mare, Long, Standerson, Twin Sisters, Spence, Norris, Claw, Harris, Wilson, Cedar, Cherry, Propeller, Rogg, Howard, Bald, Little Rogg, Quarry, LaPointe, Bay, Fire, Grape, Ashman, Round, Iroquois, Rose, Tahquamsnon, James, Jim, Rutland, Peck, * Neebish, * Sugar, Pilot, Pine, Steamboat, (1) Sand, (2) Sand, the Moon Group, Rains, Hen, Chicken, Duck, Advance, Rock, Gem, Cook, Hog, No. …