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Michigan Nominates Two Parks to National Register of Historic Places
Frederick Law Olmsted Created One of the Designs

Sites to see on Belle Isle include the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (1904), both a greenhouse and botanical garden. It was built by architect Albert Kahn in 1904. The 85 feet tall dome was originally wood, but was replaced in the early 1950s by an iron and aluminum frame. It is the oldest continually running conservatory in the United States.
Photo: Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

The Michigan Historic Preservation Office has nominated eight properties to the National Register of Historic Places, two of which are parks.

Belle Isle Park is an island park in the Detroit River, between the United States mainland and Canada. French colonialists originally gave it a less engaging name--Île aux Cochons (Pig Island). The island is connected to mainland Detroit by MacArthur Bridge.

The park has a collection of late 19th and early 20th century recreational structures in a designed landscape. Frederick Law Olmsted created a design for the island in the 1880s, although only a few elements of his design were completed. The island features the James Scoot Memorial Fountain; the 1908 Belle Isle Casino; a botanical garden and conservatory; an aquarium; a zoo; the Dossin Great Lakes Museum (maritime history); a Coast Guard station and a municipal golf course. The island also offers a half-mile swimming beach.


Bewabic State Park is near Crystal Falls, Mich., on the shores of Fortune Lake. The park was established in 1923. Many park structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.
Photo: Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

Belle Isle was listed in the national register in 1974. This revised nomination was made to include all features within the 985-acre park, to expand the boundary to include additional facilities, like the Detroit Boat Club, and make a case for listing the park in the register as a nationally significant site.

Bewabic State Park is near Crystal Falls, Mich., on the shore of Fortune Lake. The park was established in 1923 by Iron County Road Commission Manager-Engineer Herbert Larson to conserve a stand of virgin hardwood, and to give public access to the scenic lakefront. In 1966 Michigan purchased the park. Many of the structures in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was of course the public works relief program (1933 to 1942) of Franklyn Roosevelt's New Deal. The park includes two miles of the Iron County Heritage Trail, a 137-site campground within shady woods, picnic areas, tennis courts, two playgrounds and a beach and boat launch for Fortune Lake.

For information on the other nominees made by the Michigan Historic Preservation go to

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October 15, 2019, 5:06 am PDT

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