Monday, March 14, 2022

Arch Rock, 1908

This card, from October 1908, reads "Mackinac Island is certainly a beautiful place - Weather fine but smoke from forest fires unpleasant. M+A"

After reading it, I got curious about the mentioned fire. Turns out there was a huge forest fire in Presque Isle County on October 15, 1908. The Metz Fire burned over 200,000 acres and completely destroyed the Village of Metz, leaving about 40 people dead and over 700 homeless. (Metz is marked in red below.)

It sounds like an awful, awful day. Of the 16 killed on the train, three women and nine children were burned to ash in a steel car, while a man who sought safety in the train's water tank was boiled to death, literally. A number of people who jumped survived, but just barely. The silver lining however is that due to the tragic loss of life from the fire, Michigan began working to create forest fire prevention and control programs so something like the Metz Fire would never happen again.

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