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Local Lore

For many Downriver Detroit locals, and thousands of former residents, visitors and other misfits from all corners of the globe, there are a ton of interesting stories about the history of this area and its fine folks… boy are there some stories. My upfront apology to those who are about to read the below anecdote and will have absolutely no idea what any of it means. Just trust when I say, there are many locals who will clearly understand and appreciate the humorous pseudo-history lesson. Well, there should at least be a few of you that will get a grin out of it! Happy reading.  


We’ve come a long way from the prohibition days when some locals were ‘under suspicion’ for bootlegging liquor from Canada, and for the subsequent use of underground tunnels in the area for conducting such mischief. And we’re a long way from the good old ‘river rats’ battling it out in punt-boat races and skeet shooting in the early Pte Mouillee days, and the late night (all night) smelt run expeditions in the same timeframe. Personally, I’m kind of partial to the legend of these two cool-handed dudes from the ‘island of horses’ located in the ‘Venice of Michigan’. I It’s been said that one of them left painted ‘Foote’ prints as a path for the other to follow, so he could craft rectangular blocks of wood into world-class pieces of art… simply by removing everything that didn’t resemble a duck!  


Then, a new era brought the bikini contests and bar-b-q boats in the ‘bay’ that were totally internationally sanctioned, so-to speak! Both countries were represented in full force (the force of 6% abv CN beer; a big deal back then) with music blasting from the Detroit rock stations’ cruisers (also the ‘stage’ for the bikini contests). This behavior easily led to some wild gen-x boys actually swimming from Canada back home to Michigan at night, alone, for God only knows what reason. Did it really happen? Without a doubt. For others there were long, slow cruises home from the legendary charmer in its heyday, ‘Duffy’s. This also could have been the same place where there may have been a number of underage stealth trips to the Beer Store when you thought nobody was watching?! But I could be mistaken.


In more recent years, there have been the rumors of an elusive and rarely witnessed ‘Brown Fox’ on a small private island located somewhere in the watershed. Supposedly, there is a camouflaged and well-hidden ‘Duck Factory’ near the island that has been constantly terrorized by this sly fox… for obvious reasons of course. This where the tale gets even more fuzzy and unclear, but it has been rumored that late one foggy evening a rogue ‘Aluminum Armada’ beached themselves on the island, rather violently I might add, in order to protect and save the island, the factory and the fox. As it turned out, the Armada was just simply unable to effectively navigate their way back to their respective ports and they decided it was easier to literally crash on the beach for the night instead! And the saga continues to this day.


Things change over time. Somehow even the names of places seem to change, evolve or reverse back to the original name you had once called it. Celeron vs Tallway; Island Drive vs Horse Island; Hidden vs Lost; Dunbar vs Stony; Boblo vs Holy Cow! And I certainly could go on and on. Through the many years of spring walleye runs, to the arrival of the divers from the north in late fall, these waters definitely have it all.


Honestly folks, whether or not there has been any actual ‘Fowl Play’ committed on this delightful watershed we call home, the ‘Bottom Line’ is… who cares and who’s judging?! And so shall the traditions continue.


In the end, we sure have been surrounded by good people, good times and good lives around this place. Don’t forget that change is the only constant, and that we should all be grateful for the memories we’ve been fortunate enough to create, and for the ones yet to be created.

The only thing left to say to the ‘extended downriver family’ is…

don’t go changin’!

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