Wednesday, December 12, 2018

McCourtie Park, Somerset Township, Michigan (Summer 2017)

Backtracking to August 2017 tonight, when I made another trip to Michigan (and Indiana) for a really fantastic family event, my cousin once removed (that's your cousin's kid, right?) Shea's wedding to lovely Emily, which was held at the Potawatomie Inn in Pokagon State Park, Indiana. I'd never been to Indiana before that I know of and my first impression was really good, but I ended up having kind of a lot of fun stuff going in September and I never got around to sharing pictures.

I was reminded of visiting McCourtie Park in Somerset Township on that trip by this pretty little rustic bridge in the park where we went for the 2018 edition of Escape from Black Friday.  

It looks like branches but it's actually concrete (a variety of "faux bois", making something that's not wood look like wood for an artistic effect) and I found myself wondering if it might be by the same concrete artists who made the amazing structures in McCourtie Park. The story behind that park is that it was the grounds of the estate owned by William H.L. McCourtie, a local who was very successful in the cement business. He wanted to showcase the product that had made him rich on the estate, so he hired two craftsmen from Mexico, George Cardosa and Ralph Carona, to come to Michigan to build 17 concrete bridges across a little stream that runs through the property (plus some little benches here and there, and two chimneys (masquerading as tree trunks) for a rathskeller and garage complex that was also on the property.

Carona and Cardosa must have been incredibly creative guys and very skilled at what they did - when I went through my photos of the park tonight I decided the bridge above probably wasn't by them because although it was nice enough, next to the McCourtie Park bridges, it's pretty darned ho-hum! This bridge was, in fact, what I was picturing when my folks and my aunt Kathy were describing it when we were discussing a visit, but what's really there is SO much more fun. Definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in that part of Michigan. You can read more about it at the Atlas Obscura entry on the park, and here are my photos from last summer - no more writing, click on any photo for a slideshow view. The Scottie at the end was just there with a volunteer who was doing some work there, he was very friendly and too cute to leave out. Enjoy! 


Karen said...

I love that the artistic elements are rustic, perfect for the backdrop of nature's beauty.
I had never been to Indiana either until my son went to college there. Spent a lot of time there over the last 4 years, but always in one place, West Lafayette.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Absolutely astonishing. I never would guess that they weren't wood and rope. Those men were true artists!
Another park to see when I visit Michigan next spring!

bonnie said...

Can you imagine getting to sit in on the design sessions? They must have been so much fun.