Friday, December 14, 2012

Wandering Around Belle Isle As Well

It's amazing how long its been since I've actually been down to Belle Isle.  When I picked it for my 12 month subject this year, I thought it would be easy to finish it.  Turns out that wasn't quite the case especially when I was chasing after ships more than other things.  Kind of a shame too because I'm guessing that fall was probably looking pretty nice.  Oh well.

It was a pretty nice night at any rate and that seemed to make for some pretty nice sunlight.
 As I said in the last post, the water was pretty smoothe.

I've taken several pictures of this Bridge in the past but it is the MacArthur Bridge.  It replaces a wooden Bridge that caught fire in 1915.  This particular Bridge was built in 1923 and was originally named the Belle Isle Bridge.  It was named after the General in 1942.

The Bridge spans 2,193 feet over 19 arches.  It is 85 feet wide.  In 1986, the Bridge was restored.

Interesting tidbit, William Scripps flew a plane under the original bridge.  Interesting tidbit number two, there used to be tunnel under Jefferson Avenue.  They were going to use this for a Subway that would go to Belle Isle but that never happened.  When the Bridge was renovated, they filled in the tunnel.
 If I thought the river was calm, the pond in front of the Scott Fountain was even calmer.  I love the story about the Scott fountain and how it was named.  Apparently Mr. Scott was a bit of a jerk and they weren't going to name it after him but he put that in the conditions of getting his money.
 Another angle of the Scott fountain.
 A shot of the Conservatory.  More on that later.
 Another interesting structure on Belle Isle is the Police Station.  When the island was completed it was decided that there would probably need to be a police station but they decided it should fit into the surroundings.  The building itself is of Romanesque Style.

In 1921, the Detroit Police started to equip their patrol cars with radio.  This would give them somewhat of an edge over the rum runners.  However, they were sharing frequencies with commercial broadcasts and would cut over the broadcast.  In 1928, they got their own frequencies.  I believe this may be the first use of police radios.
 This statue is probably one of my favorite military statues.  He looks so low key and almost like a common soldier.
 But still pretty cool looking.  And the light was starting to hit it just about right.
 A shot from the front.
 I was trying for an odd angle shot.
 Not sure if I should have this the way it is here or on it's side.
 One more shot.
 Normally I don't take pictures of the abandoned buildings of Detroit but this time I wanted to.  This used to be the Belle Isle Zoo.  It was established in 1895.  In 1928, the Detroit Zoo was opened in Royal Oak.
 In 1947, the Detroit Zoological Society took over operations of the Zoo, added a few buildings and renamed it the Detroit Children's Zoo.
 In the early 1970's, the Zoo was closed in order to save money.  After the election of King Coleman, the Zoo was re-opened and some other buildings were added.  It was at this time, the architecture was changed to look more African.
 In 2002, in order to fix other financial issues, Kwame Kilpatrick closed what was left of the Belle Isle Zoo.  I've only visited the zoo here once but I seem to recall it was a pretty nice zoo.  It was a little more compact than the main Detroit Zoo though.
 In 2006, the Zoo was taken over again by the main Zoo.  The Belle Isle Nature Zoo was opened.  Part of the display there are some deer that used to roam the island.

With all the other parts of the island that are being fixed up, you would think that the Zoo would be part of those plans.  Sadly, that is not the case.  It's kind of a shame that they let these things get into this level of disrepair because if someone did take over, they'd probably have to demolish it and start again.
 Near the Zoo is a statue of Dante.  He is the person that wrote the Inferno.
 A statue of Friedrich Schiller.  He was German poet, philosopher, historian and playright.  This statue was erected by the German-American citizens of Detroit.
 Looking down the street that cuts through the center of the Island.
 This is the former Lighthouse Depot.  It is now used as a Coast Guard station.  This is where supplies for the Lighthouses in Michigan were kept. 
 A church over in Windsor.
 The Belle Isle Coast Guard Sation.  In 1881, the land was purchased from the city of Detroit for $1.00.  Belle Isle lighthouse was constructed and first shone in 1882.  In 1942, the current station was completed and at the time was the most modern on the Great Lakes.  I believe the station is currently in the process of being renovated.
Leaving Belle Isle after the Aquarium.

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