MICHIGAN: First I'd like to dispel a common practice for how to say Mackinac. The "ac" on the end of Mackinac is pronounced "aw" Mac-in-aw. The island was named by the natives that lived in the area.
They thought the upper peninsula looked like a turtle so they called it Mitchimakinak which meant "Big turtle". When the French came they used a version of the pronunciation and called it Michilimackinac, however the end was pronounced "aw" by the French. When the British came they heard it pronounced MichilimackinAW. They shortened the name and spelled it how it sounded, Mackinaw. So you will see spellings both ways but regardless of how it is spelled it is always pronounced with the "aw".
Amazingly, the bridge was envisioned in 1880. In the 19th century the need for Michigan's resources like minerals and timber increased making the area an important transport interchange. The upper and lower peninsulas were separated by water and only accessible by boats and ferries. 1881 saw three railroads reach the straits of Michigan along with a railroad car ferry (a ship designed to carry railway vehicles with one level having railroad tracks).
Mackinac Bridge backers got their encouragement with the dedication of the Brooklyn Bridge in
1883. A year later, a store owner out of St. Ignace reprinted an artist's conception of the famous New York structure in his advertising and put a caption on it "Proposed bridge across the Straits of Mackinac."
The first meeting of the board of directors of the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island on July 1, 1888. Cornelius Vanderbilt II (click here and here to read my posts on the Vanderbilts) said: "We now have the largest, well-equipped hotel of its kind in the world for a short season business. Now what we need is a bridge across the Straits." (According to the minutes of the meeting.)
There were some crazy ideas thrown out to connect the two peninsulas. One being a floating tunnel
that was suggested by the 1920 highway commissioner. But despite the decades that passed since the first thoughts of a great bridge to cross the span of the water, in June of 1950 the Mackinac Bridge Authority was appointed. May 7th of 1954 construction started and on November 1st 1957 the bridge saw its first cars. The Mackinac bridge is a five-mile long suspension bridge, and the longest in the western hemisphere.
There are some fantastic facts about the bridge. You can check them out here.
Debbie Lynne Costello is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. She attended Heritage University, where she studied Journalism and worked in the editing department.
She has a short story coming out in Guideposts 2014, Christmas Cup of Cheer. She has completed five full length novels set in Charleston and Savannah areas in the late 19th century along with one Medieval, and is now seeking homes for them.
She and her husband have four children and two grandbabies. They live in upstate South Carolina with their family, dogs, cat, Arabian horses, and miniature donkey.
WEBSITE: www.debbielynnecostello.com BLOG: www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com BLOG: www.fictionaddictionfix.blogspot.com
Pictures courtesy of Wiki.