Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Central Route from Michigan Roadside Naturalist

The Michigan Roadside Naturalist
by J. Alan Holman and Margaret B. Holman
University of Michigan Press

This guide offers seven routes through Michigan. One route goes through Kalamazoo and two others are nearby. This post looks at the a section of their Central Route, near Kalamazoo. The complete route ends in Mackinaw City

The Central Route

Indiana Border to Lansing (I-69 to US 27)

Somewhat varied topography: low moraines, outwash plains, flat glacial lake plains. Second-growth forest & numerous small lakes.

1. Late Woodland Earthworks
Three miles north of the border and 7 miles west, "another horseshoe-shaped earthen enclosure was built about one thousand years ago." "This earthwork was on a low bluff overlooking water. A palisade of wood topped this earthwork in the upper reaches of the St. Joseph River."

2. Hunting Camp
A site on the Grand River south of Lansing seems to have been used as a winter hunting camp, as many of the stone artifacts were projectile points, and 89 percent of the abundant animal bones were from deer and other mammals." Late Woodland peoples.

3. Wetlands
"Lansing was built in a basically flat area supporting lots of marshes, bogs, and boggy ponds." Habitats for: salamanders, wood frogs, green frogs, Blanding's turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles. Remains of extinct Ice Age mammoths, mastodonts, and giant beavers were found near small bog ponds.

4. Nineteenth-Century Settlement
"A centennial farm (occupied by the same family for over one hundred years) near Lansing gave Michigan State University archeologists an opportunity to study the material record of settlement in this area."

5. Plank Roads
"An indication of the difficulties of transportation during the early years of Michigan's statehood came to light when road construction workers in East Lansing unearthed portions of a plank road that had been covered by several episodes of paving. Plank roads were popular in the middle of the nineteenth century. These roads were made of local lumber and were operated by private companies." Grand River Avenue, E. Lansing.

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