Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mackinaw Bridge 50th Anniversary

For more photo's and info go to

I have had a great love for this bridge since I was a little boy in the third grade. My father drove truck for one of the construction companies that built I-75 from Saginaw to the Soo. We spent the summer from Grayling to St.Ignace, and in the fall moved to Rudyard for the school year. We made many trips over the Bridge taxiing service men from the Kinchilo AFB in Kinross. When we moved to Rudyard the townsfolk came out to help set-up our mobile home with a kind of barn raising type atmosphere. The merchants of town brought out groceries and other gifts and the churches set out a feast. The only request was that "No Serviceman Walked" and if possible to give them a ride as far as possible toward their destination. I remember many Sundays after church, transporting servicemen across the bridge and picking up another load and driving them up to the Air Base, and picking up more for the ride back to Rudyard. Once we had so many guys in and on the car you could hardly see the old '57 Ford underneath. So how could I possibly miss out on the celebration and parade that had a second childhood love, the Budweiser Clydesdale's. My fist up close and personal view of them was at a parade in Waukeegan , Illinois when we lived there when I was about 5 or 6. They don't look quite as BIG now but they are still very beautiful and impressive animals.
We left home on Friday morning without any reservations and no definite plans, other than trying to find a motel close enough to the bridge to see the parade on Saturday and the fireworks Saturday night. We found a nice motel right in the middle of the parade route in St. Ignace and didn't even have to leave the parking lot to watch the festivities. The parade also included a 50 convertible car show. One for each year the bridge has been open. Many politicians and dignitaries rode in these cars, including "Bridgette" a woman who was born on the day the bridge opened, and the new Ms. Michigan and many of the older ones. I think the oldest was from 1958. They also had a float with some of the original bridge builders.
That night we saw the fireworks across the straights in Mackinaw City, but from our vantage point on the lake shore, couldn't see many from our side.
All in all we had a great trip and brought back many souvenirs and memories


A Changed Woman said...

Go Dad!! It'll be nice to read your stories on here. Maybe you'll encourage me to write in mine more! :)

farm mom said...

I agree with sis, it's nice to read what you have to say. Looking forward to reading more! (How long before mom's bloggin' too?!)

GreyWolf said...

Mom's blog will never happen! She doesn't remember anything exciting:)

Nerita said...

Good words.