LEARNING ABOUT LAMPISTS
Local resident Kurt Fosburg is one of only three certified Lampists in the nation. In January 2017 he gave a great educational, informative and fascinating presentation on the History of the Fresnel Lens. Those who attended had the highest accolades for Fosburg’s presentation – in the words of one participant “one of the best programs I have ever seen.”
The first thing we learned was the definition of a “Lampist:" an old-world term for a technician specializing in the set-up, repair, and preservation of classical Fresnel lighthouse lenses. Kurt, trained as an old world apprentice by the nation's leading lampist, followed this with a short lecture on the lens named after its French creator, Augustin Fresnel. Using a combination of the index of refraction of glass and the physics of light transmission, Fresnel created a mathematical formula to bend and focus the visible energy from a source of illumination into a concentrated beam of light to aid the Mariner at sea. The result was a beautiful combination of bronze framework and precision ground glass.
With increased U.S. shipping in the mid-1800s, the nation began purchasing the French Fresnel lenses for use in their lighthouses. Over time the classical Fresnel lens became obsolete, but instead of destroying these functional works of art the government began the process of removing the lenses from lighthouses and transferring them to local historical societies and maritime museums for public display.
Traveling the country, Kurt delicately removing these priceless artifacts and restores them to their original luster for display. He also manufactures missing components and associated clockworks mechanism, historically accurate reproduction of platforms, lamps, and other display items directly related to the Fresnel lens. Mr. Fosburg has gone on to create his own unique company to further his interests and career. As the youngest of the now retiring group of American lampists and the only one manufacturing replacement components, his talents, skills and passion for the subject shines bright. Some examples of Kurt's work are Stannard Rock near Marquette, Pointe aux Barques on Lake Huron, and Gibbs Hill on Bermuda.
If you would like to know more about NCLL, the programs or becoming a member contact the office or better yet, attend a program and experience for yourself. You can download booklet or registration forms or contact the NCLL office to request a paper copy.
Sally Olsen, NCLL Liaison; Photo and text provided by Kurt Fosburg
LEARNING TO TANGO
On December 18th, a Mining Journal article covered an NCLL Learning to Tango class, including a photo of the Soderbergs who "try out a few steps." Dancing to good health
NCLL, with Fred Huffman from North Country Tours as guide, loaded up a Checker bus and headed for Pictured Rocks Lakeshore and Grand Marais to take in the fall colors and some history as well as socialize with fellow NCLLers. It was a full day of seeing mother nature’s creations, learning about the history of Grand Marais and exploring this picturesque village.
The Chippewa Indians lived at Grand Marais for many years before the Europeans arrived. In 1829, Grand Marais was in its peak population of 2000-3000 due to lumber camps, mills and the commercial fishing industry. It had a hospital, lawyers, bankers, an opera house, livery stables, a cigar maker and more. A daily train ran from Seney and connected with other lines leading all across the nation. In 1911 the lumber companies and railroads closed and residents packed their bags and caught the train out. By 1915 there were only about 200 people left. In the mid-1920s highways opened and the motoring tourists discovered the village and tourism is now the primary industry.
Historical Society President Pat Munger welcomed and acquainted us with the village and was our tour guide for the Lighthouse Keeper’s Museum and the Pickle Barrel House Museum. The Pickel Barrel Museum was built for Wm. Donahey, creator of the Chicago Tribune cartoon story The Teenie Weenies. Donahey spent 10 summers in the cottage with his wife, Mary, herself a noted author of children’s books. The Teenie Weenies debuted in The Tribune in 1914 and continued until his death in 1970. The cartoon story featured miniature people who lived in a world of life-sized objects. This led to a contract with Reid, Murdoch and Company which packaged food products such as Monarch-brand pickles as well as other food products. Teenie Weenie books were translated into several languages and sold worldwide.
Sable Falls, Miner’s Castle, Munising Falls are always a thrill to see and remind us of how fortunate we are to live in this great place call the Upper Peninsula.
By Sally Olsen, NCLL Liaison; Photos contributed by Eric Rehorst and Lawrence Ellerbruch.
NCLL participants recently took a road/field trip to thriving area of Bark River. While it was a bit of a rocky start it turned out to be a great day. Our first stop was the Ten Mile Forge and Gift Shop which is nestled in a beautiful setting. George is a world renown blacksmith whose specialty is making knives out of Damascus steel, hand carved scrimshaw handles and sheaths. The demonstration was impressive and we quickly learned he is a true artist, a wealth of knowledge as well as a good story teller. We were “shaking our heads” in awe trying to process it all. Maureen’s unique Irish/Celtic Gift shop is small but full of not only George’s handiwork but local jewelry, artwork, pottery, etc. Learn more at http://www.Exploringthenorth.com/tenmile/forge.html
We then headed for the Home Base Restaurant and Bar for a tasty lunch including Theresa’s home-made rhubarb/strawberry pie and rhubarb torte and I managed to get the recipe for it. Stop in when in that area. On to the Northern Sun Winery owned and operated by Dave and Sue Anthony, where the 4000 vines that make up over 5.2 acres of the farm are used to make their special blends such as the “Rhubarb,” the “Marquette” and the “Brianna.” They have found just the right grape varieties that grow in the local soil and climate and have already won international wine awards for their LaCrescent wine. We toured the vineyard, saw where and how the grapes were processed, and of course had an opportunity to taste and purchase wine. Susie’s enthusiasm is infectious and the staff is truly a part of the winery. They also host a summer concert series which would be great to attend. Check them out at http://www.northernsunwinery.com/
By Sally Olsen, NCLL Liaison
A few photos from the past