‘The Mighty Mac: An Icon in Michigan’ next Essence of Emmet program on April 27, 2016
Free public event takes place Wednesday, April 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.at the Fairgrounds in Petoskey
The story of one of Michigan’s most recognized and beloved landmarks, the Mackinac Bridge, will be the topic of the Essence of Emmet historical collaborative’s Spring 2016 program.
The program will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at the Community Building at the Emmet County Fairgrounds, 1129 Charlevoix Ave (U.S. 31), Petoskey (use the Eppler Road entrance). It is free and open to the public; reservations are not required and refreshments will be served during an intermission.
On this evening, several speakers will offer insights and background on the Mighty Mac, which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The program will begin with Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney and his presentation on how the bridge was built, including photos and anecdotes about this engineering marvel.
Bob Sweeney, Executive Secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority
The bridge opened in 1957 and has served as a driver of economic development and tourism in Northern Michigan for the last nearly 60 years. The bridge has a foundation in three counties: Emmet, Cheboygan and Mackinac in the UP. As Executive Secretary of the MBA since August 2002, Sweeney oversees all operations of the bridge, its maintenance and staff.
During an intermission, guests can enjoy refreshments and watch a video of Emmet County staff climbing the south tower of the bridge with Sweeney.
After intermission, a seldom-told but intriguing angle on the bridge’s history will be presented. Attorney Patrick McGow, with the Miller Canfield legal firm in Detroit, will share how sharp lawyering skills allowed for the bridge’s financing to go through at the last minute. Because no suspension bridge of this length had ever been built anywhere in the world, coupled with challenging construction conditions, negotiating the financing of the bonds came down to the wire and nearly failed.
McGow is a bond attorney, advising cities, counties, townships, villages and authorities on a broad range of infrastructure financing and related legal matters.
Patrick McGow, atop the Mackinac Bridge’s south tower.
At the end of the program, the public may have the opportunity to hear from several people who worked on the bridge’s construction, during a Q & A session.
The Essence of Emmet group works to promote the rich history of Northwest Michigan. Members of the Essence of Emmet include Emmet County, the Emmet County Historical Commission, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Harbor Springs Area Historical Society, Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Little Traverse Historical Society, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinaw Area Historical Society and Pellston Historical Society. Information can be found online at www.emmetcounty.org about the group and its projects.
The Essence group has published three of four parts of an historical magazine series exploring the history of Emmet County and its people. The construction of the bridge is featured prominently in Part 3, which covers the timeframe of 1918 through 1960.
To receive complimentary copies of the first three of four installments of the Essence of Emmet history magazine, contact Beth Anne Eckerle at (231) 348-1704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Part 4 will be published in January 2017.
For more information about the group or the April 27 program, contact Eckerle. The second program of the year will take place in the Fall, on Sept. 28, 2016, also at the Fairgrounds.
Students and senior groups interested in our history are encouraged to attend the historical programs.