Questions, Anyone?

Alpena Savings Bank mural ??

Q. Reader Dottye Carnahan remembers the large mural that was in the former Alpena Savings Bank. She would like information about the mural and the artist. ?

A. Special Collections at the Alpena County Library has an article from the Sept. 10, 1947, Alpena News that gives a lot of information. With a headline of “Mural Depicts Saga of Alpena Lumbering Era,” the 10 panels were set together to make a continuous historical picture. ??

The article notes that the artist is Barbara Wilson, daughter of Mrs. Stanley (Myssel) Wilson and sister of Philena Wilson Ferguson. The news article continues “Miss (Barbara)Wilson is the granddaughter of the late D.D. Hanover, one of the founders of the Bank It seems fitting that this mural should be set in the Savings bank which was founded by pioneer Alpena citizens. It is the logical successor of the first bank in Alpena, the National bank, which it absorbed.”

The news article has many descriptions of the mural, such as the following:

  • … typical of scenes familiar to everyone.
  • So exact are the paintings and coloring that one can almost see the strands of the rope which ties the tug to the dock.
  • The replicas of the felled trees, the loads of logs driven by the man with the traditional red shirt; the cook house and bunk house in the background. ?
  • Swans ??

Q. A reader, noting the nesting swans in the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary, asks if both parent swans sit on the nest, and how long it takes for the cygnets to hatch. ?

A. Both parents share in sitting on the eggs. The following information is from the Kalamazoo and Sarett Nature Centers (1994) “The Birds of Michigan.”

  • “Mute swans set up territories 4-10 acres in size which they strongly defend, ejecting other waterfowl and even people. Adults are generally paired for life, but remating has been recorded for individuals who have lost their mates. The nest site is selected in either March or early April and is an elevated clump of vegetation, one built by the swans or an existing mound such as a muskrat house. The female may lay up to eight eggs, but clutches of five are most typical. Both sexes, which are identical in appearance, share incubation, and the eggs hatch in 36- 38 days. The cygnets take most of the summer to grow, reaching the flight stage in anywhere from 115 to 155 days … The Michigan birds are thought to originate from a single pair released in East Jordan, Charlevoix County in 1919 … The Mute Swan is now a common breeding species and permanent resident in scattered locations throughout Michigan. Individuals remain within the state year-round, but in the winter they withdraw to locations where open water and food are available.” ??

Shakespeare sayings

Q. Where does the phrase “love is blind” come from? ?

A. Garrison Keillor quotes The Oxford English Dictionary as crediting William Shakespeare “with coining 3,000 new words and contributing more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual. His idioms have woven themselves so snugly into daily conversations that we aren’t even aware of them most of the time, phrases such as “a fool’s paradise,” “a sorry sight,” “dead as a doornail,” “Greek to me,” “come what may,” “eaten out of house and home,” forever and a day,” “heart’s content,” “slept a wink,” “love is blind,””night owl,” “wild goose chase,” and “into thin air.”

Please send questions and comments to or to “Questions, Anyone?” The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707. ????