Q. Several groups enjoying picnics at Alpena’s Starlite Beach Pavilion have had discussions about where Starlite Beach ends, and where Mich-e-ke-wis Park begins. Lack of a sign to the pavilion confused them.
A. Starlite Beach Park starts where the sign is on State Avenue, where the city restrooms used to be. It extends from behind the miniature golf course (starting at the motel property line) south to the water treatment plant. The new pavilion, restrooms, and the Rotary playground are in Starlite Beach Park. The pavilion is just north of the water works, which is the dividing line. Mich-e-ke-wis Park is on the south side.
Mich-e-ke-wis Park has beach volleyball courts, a small bike park, swings and slides. Both parks have sandy beaches, picnic tables and grills.
According to Adam Poll, city planning and development director, the former warming shelter at Mich-e-ke-wis is being leased by Performance Locker, a training program, so there will not be any future rentals of that building. However, rental reservations for this year will be honored.
Legends of Thunder Bay
Q. What is the Indian story of how Thunder Bay was named?
A. The story is told in historian Robert Haltiner’s book, “Stories The Red People Have Told … And … More.” At the beginning it starts, “Long, long years ago – long before the white-faced stranger had ever dreamed of this beautiful peninsula…” And the story tells about a beautiful Indian maiden who was the special pride of her father, the Chief, and of her whole tribe. Her name was We-no-ka, “light on bubbling water,” and her hand was sought by many Indian braves. Of these suitors, one (a handsome and manly Huron brave) won her heart. He and We-no-ka were very much in love.
In the story, “One night, as their canoe rocked lightly on the waters, one of the young Ottawa braves, who was a rejected suitor, was watching them with fiercely jealous eyes. He set out in his canoe and stealthily approached the unsuspecting lovers. As he drew near them he quickly bent his bow and sent an arrow whistling through the air at the heart of his hated rival. The slight noise he made, however, attracted the attention of We-no-ka who leaped to her feet in alarm and threw herself in front of her Huron lover – just in time to receive in her own breast the feathered shaft of death. This sudden movement overturned the frail birchen craft and in an instant the Huron brave was trying desperately to save his lover from drowning – not realizing the dreadful calamity that had already overtaken his beloved We?no?ka. It was in vain. They both soon sank beneath the waves. And then a rumble and roar of thunder announced the great displeasure of the Manitou! The assassin, in a frightened frenzy, leaped into the lake – his death shriek floating over the waves like the cry of a lost spirit.
“Then followed peal after peal of thunder – flash after flash of lightning!! And the tribes knew the Great Spirit was mightily offended. Nevermore would they trust themselves on the waters of what, from then on, was known as the Bay of Thunder – or Thunder Bay. From that day on – until the Indians left their old homes – the deep, rolling thunder continued. And when the first white-faced strangers came, no Indian could be induced to launch his canoe on the waters of the bay … For from the break of morning until the fall of night, rumbling of thunder could be heard telling and re-telling, in its deep-toned roll, the tragedy that took place on this once peaceful bay, when We-no-ka – “the light on bubbling water” -was lost to the world forever.”
Please send questions and comments to email@example.com or to “Questions, Anyone?” The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.