Today author (and Frankfort Rotarian) Jon Hawley talked about his new book, Guardians of the Manitou Passage:  A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners 1840-1915.
After writing his 2008 book about Pt. Betsie, followed by a 2014 book about Betsie Bay, Jon thought it appropriate to trace the navigational history of a third area to the north:  the Manitou Passage.  He explained how shipping in the area--always dangerous--rapidly expanded after the 1825 opening of the Erie Canal.  The federal government's first response in the 1850's was the installation of coastal lights.  This was followed in the 1870's by a new federal agency--the US Life-Saving Service, a distinct agency of the US Treasury Department.  Responsibility for the agency was assigned to Sumner Kimball, who ended up being the man in charge for almost 50 years.
Jon read passages from two of the numerous shipping disasters described in his book.  The first involved the sinking of the Canadian steamer Columbia in 1881.  Of the 23 perons aboard the steamer, 15 or 16 were drowned.  The second occurred in November of 1892, when the schooner Annie Vought was driven aground on South Manitou Island.  Seven men and one woman were rescued by the lifesavers from the North Manitou station.