Questions, Anyone?

Plaza Palooza

  • ?Q. Several readers ask, “Is the location of Alpena’s proposed Plaza definitely planned for the downtown parking area at Third and River Streets, or will the public have more input concerning the various other options that have been suggested?” ?

A. The location is not definitely settled, but there are many reasons that the proposed location is most favorable to economic growth. Lesslee Dort, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority said the DDA is always open to comments and encourages folks to get involved in the process.

“The idea of a plaza came about as a way to provide economic growth in our area. This space isn’t a park, but is a dynamic space with room for programs, outdoor dining, family activities or quiet relaxation,” she said. “It’s especially important that the space be very close to businesses which can take advantage of the visitors using the plaza.

“Experienced planners working with the DDA state that the plaza can be a key to Alpena’s economic growth. Walkable, active, dense city centers attract people, young and old. Also, the borders of a plaza must be buildable.

“It’s important to look at the proposed plaza plans as a way to help our community evolve and attract businesses that will be enjoyed by all age groups, from young people to families to retirees.”

  • ?1903 Presque Isle plat map ??

Q. Reader Suelyn Bartz, in looking at a 1903 Plat Map of Presque Isle County, noticed Huron Park and Beach View, small communities on Lake Huron. Huron Park even had a “Grand Boulevard” leading to a “Hotel Site.” She had never heard of these two places and asks, “Did they ever exist? What is their history?”

A. These two communities are located, on the plat map, in what is now Thompson’s Harbor State Park, in Krakow Township, according to local history buff John Porter. But information about these two communities seems to be “lost in time.”

  • However, historical information about the general area has been forwarded by Blake Gingrich, unit supervisor of several parks for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. Following is an excerpt from Posen’s 100th Anniversary Book:

“Krakow Township was settled on or about 1870. Farming and lumbering were the main businesses, in this area. Thompson’s harbor was the main shipping port by 1900. Smaller vessels would stop at almost every place that had a depth of water that permitted them to dock. Among the boats that plied the lakes and were well known to the smaller ports were the Thompson Line vessels. The small, protected bay is assumed to be the principal stop for these boats. ?

“There was a small town built near the Harbor, which included a hotel and plans for a summer resort, Beechville. In 1908, there was a great fire that burned out at Thompson’s Harbor [and] was responsible for several deaths. This extensive natural disaster is still remembered by the community, and its 100th anniversary was celebrated in October 2008. ??”As the lumbering era ended, the harbor was abandoned. Today, there are still slabs laying at the bottom of the harbor.” ??

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