Thomas Edison Depot Museum and Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

7/3/13 Wednesday at St Clair, MI (St Clair-TT)

TV issues: this morning the satellite said “Complete Signal Loss”. When John tried the local antenna in several directions, he only got a couple Canadian stations. Finally, John powered off the satellite, then powered it back on, then it got the stations! Life is ok again. I worked on the blog while he enjoyed the last 15 minutes of “Good Morning America” and “Live! With Kelly and Michael”.

We had enough time and energy, then, to wash (with 50/50 vinegar and water) the driver’s side of Miss Zanzibar, which still suffered from hard water deposits deposited while at Monaco RV Service center.

After lunch we took off for Port Huron and the Thomas Edison Depot Museum. It’s housed in the former Fort Gratiot (GRAH shee aht) Depot/Station. The Grand Trunk Railway built, not only the Fort Gratiot Station, but also the world’s first international underwater railway tunnel under the St. Clair River from Port Huron, MI to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

IMG_0440 Edison’s family first came to New Jersey from Holland. His grandfather supported the British when Americans were rebelling against them, so he took his family to Nova Scotia. Then his son, Samuel (Edison’s dad) joined the Canadian rebellion against the British, so fled to Ontario, then Port Huron, soon moving on to Detroit, Peru (Ohio), then Milan (Ohio), where Thomas Edison was born. When he was 7, the family moved back to Port Huron.

IMG_0447 IMG_0448 At first, Thomas ‘Al’ Edison worked in this building as a “newsbutcher”, pedaling newspapers and snacks to passengers, from 1859 to 1863. Later, the conductor let him experiment with his chemicals and print his little newspaper in part of one of the cars. He later hung out at the telegraph office, finally getting to learn the Morse Code and eventually becoming a telegrapher there. He even cobbled together a neighborhood telegraph system, getting news that his father appreciated, so he let Edison stay up late to get it.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0459 IMG_0460IMG_0458IMG_0455 IMG_0457Among Edison’s inventions are the Electric Pen (used for first mimeographs), phonograph (despite severe difficulties with hearing), an incandescent lamp and a system to deliver electricity to the bulbs, and a motion picture camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0465 IMG_0473 Next we visited the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and the nearby homes for Lighthouse Keepers who worked there from 1829 to 1940. This lighthouse is the oldest in the State of Michigan and the second oldest in all the Great Lakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0477 Just a reminder, Michigan (looks like a mitten + the UP (Upper Peninsula) above the mitten) touches 4 of the Great Lakes: Lake Superior (far left), Lake Michigan (lower left), Lake Huron (upper right) and Lake Erie (lower right). Lake Ontario is on the far right, in Canada and New York. We are currently on the East side of the “thumb”, right next to Canada.

 

IMG_0437We could cross (at Port Huron) over the Blue Water Bridge to Canada, but since we plan to cross the border at Niagara Falls, John wanted to wait for Canada until then.

 

 

 

IMG_0478 IMG_0480 Lake Huron, as seen at our left, then at our right (Blue Water Bridge to Canada in the distance).

On our way home, we stopped at Kroger for gas. Sheesh, they really raised their prices for the July 4th holiday. Got home by 3:30 pm, spending the hot time relaxing under a shady tree, watching our new neighbor arrive and set up next door.

Grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob for supper. Time to post this blog from the car (now less glare than in the morning).

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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2 Responses to Thomas Edison Depot Museum and Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

  1. Judy says:

    On my brief personal “meet Michigan” trips, I try to immerse myself as I do in a foreign country: no US news, books set locally, and so on. It’s refreshing (and I learn a lot). I remember driving on the outside of the thumb, picking up a Canadian radio station, and hearing a report on how to make paper from moose droppings. The report was tongue in cheek, but still a pretty foreign experience. I did feel refreshed.

    • tjelser says:

      Great idea! John still would insist on the news, but we do get the local news. I wouldn’t have known how serious Detroit is about filing Bankruptcy without seeing their local news. I love the idea of reading books set in the area, but I’m not into buying them and don’t see how I could get such specialize books otherwise.

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