Loggers honor area’s heritage

Sports VIEW


 

 

The online snipping and jabs about the newly named Lapeer Loggers, proud members of the All-American Hockey League, have a lot of people talking and rolling their eyes. Logging in Lapeer? Really? I don’t think so, many have said.

Wrong Kimosabe. Dismount from your high horse of misinformation and listen up for a minute.

Lapeer and the Thumb area actually have rich logging histories. Scoff all you want; history doesn’t lie. Ready to be educated?

First, let’s go back and check out the name Lapeer. Historical documents point at a French adaptation of la Pierre, which translate to “the stone”, referring to the rocky bottom of the south branch of the Flint River. Others, say it was named la Pere, or “the father” for a more holy connection. Still others claim it was the name of a former hometown that came with the settlers. Either way, the name Lapeer doesn’t matter as much as the Loggers part of the team’s name.

By the end of the 1830s European settlers were running a major logging and milling region in the Greater Lapeer region. One such operation was located on Fish Lake, just northeast of the City of Lapeer. Fish Lake Road came soon after that and runs north/south from town beyond M-90 and beyond. One document I looked up online stated that although the buildings from the Fish Lake operation are long gone, if you carefully inspect the lake bed and surrounding shores, you’ll find a deep bed of wood chips, especially on the north shore. Because the layer of wood chips is so deep, it added that the area is still plant-free. Today, Fish Lake is many anglers’ favorite fishing hole.

Otter Lake also was listed multiple times in my search as another hotbed of logging and milling. Further west the Huckleberry Rail Road was said to have been built to haul logs and lumber to the Flint Area, not to serve as the home station for Thomas the Tank Engine. Otter Lake at one time was home to three sawmills and today, on Oregon Road in Lapeer County are the Nelson Brothers sawmill and Davis Brothers sawmill that are annually on display at the annual heritage harvest days. Impressed? There’s more.

The first settler to Lapeer was said to be Alvin Hart, who landed in the area in 1831. Twelve years later, he became a state senator representing Lapeer and five surrounding counties, and the Upper Peninsula. Want to talk about logging in the U.P.? Uh, yeah, didn’t think so.

Anyway, call him Paul Bunyan as you roll your eyes, snicker as you point out the Blutto resemblance from the Popeye comics as you pass by the posters and signage, or nickname him Louie the Lumberjack in honor of Louie’s Sports Tavern at the Polar

Palace. Just do it nicely and remember, that whoever started the first online vote of Loggers knew what he or she was talking about. Love it or hate it, the moniker is accurate and likely is here to stay.

And, let’s face it, folks. The Lapeer Area Hockey Association youth teams who go by Lightning and Storm had already taken all the storm-related names. This is also why teams should never have online naming contests. Okay, now you can go back to your iTune of the moment. But, if you really want to expand your horizons, go out and buy yourself a red and black plaid shirt to support the new pro hockey team in town. Or, run out to Fish Lake and pick yourself up a few wood chips for your time capsule. Who knows, maybe you can even become the new mascot…just don’t bring the Macarena back, please!

Sparty on

What a sweet play that was, right? For those who missed the end of the MSU vs. Notre Dame football game that went into overtime. The boys in green and white pulled out the trickeration, as the Fat Guy likes to call it. Punter Aaron Bates, a former high school quarterback, was holding the ball for first-year kicker Dan Conroy, who was staring down a 49-yard field goal attempt, when he stood up and fired to a wide-open Charlie Gant for the winner. Apparently, I was a little too overzealous and woke up several of my sleeping family members, forgetting that Cinderella’s coach was about to turn back into a pumpkin. My bad.

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