Sunday, July 7, 2024

Langley Covered Bridge, 21959 Schweitzer Road, Three Rivers MI

This is Michigan's longest wooden covered bridge still in existence. It was built from white pine in 1887 using Howe-truss construction. When the Sturgis Dam was built in 1910, the bridge had to be raised eight feet.
The bridge and the causeway cross the St. Joseph River. In 1950-51, a new under structure was installed and in 2008-09, the roof was replaced; asphalt was removed and returned to wood planking. Steel underpinnings were replaced in 2023.

The bridge is 282 feet across and consists of three 94 foot spans. There are height (7 feet), weight (3 tons), and width restrictions (one lane). And no trucks are allowed as per the signage ("Your GPS Is Wrong").
Traffic was fairly constant so we didn't have much time to walk onto the bridge. Being a one lane bridge, cars have to take turns crossing and we finally did the same. Langley Bridge doesn't have the charm of say Fallasburg Bridge but it is certainly historic and in a pretty setting.

The Builders, 20745 M-60 East, Cassopolis MI

This eye-catching sculpture complex sits right on M-60 and we did a quick turn around in the car to see what it was. It stands next to K & M Machine Fabricating, whose employees did all the fabricating of this work designed by Kirk Newman.

The tallest steel pieces stand 50 feet high and the bronze figures are life-sized and represent a welder, a machinist, a foreman, and a manager.
The plaque is hard to read but it states that "The Builders" is dedicated to the people of the metal working industry. (The name Earl G. Marhanka is beneath the inscription; Marhanka was the founder of K & M Machine Fabricating, Inc.)
It's a striking and impressive work of art, and very accessible so don't pass it by.


Monday, July 1, 2024

A Christmas Story ~ a 1983 Film

What is now a Christmas classic was filmed in part in Cleveland, Ohio. The house at 3159 W. 11th St was used for exterior shots of the Parker's home, and an entrepreneur has since reconfigured it to match the interior sound stage sets. It's open for tours and there is also a gift shop across the street. If you're a fan of the film, this is a great stop in Cleveland.
The backyard is complete with shed and fence.
Interior photos
You  might wonder why the crate says "His End Up" if you noticed 😊
The crate had to be trimmed while filming in order to get into the house. There you have it.
After we toured the house, we walked across the street to the gift shop.
The movie is based on some of the short stories by Jean Shepherd, published in 1966 as "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash." The stories are somewhat autobiographical but fiction is mixed freely with fact. In 2003, four of the stories used for the movie, plus one story from Shepherd's second book, were published together as "A Christmas Story."

The screenplay for the movie was written by Jean Shepherd, his 4th wife Leigh Brown, and the movie director, Bob Clark. And all three of them had cameos in the movie. Jean and Leigh were the man and woman in the Santa line when Jean directs Ralphie & Randy to the back of the line. Jean is also the adult Ralph narrator. Bob Clark is the Swede who is admiring the leg lamp with the Old Man. There is a bench outside of the gift shop in Clark's honor.
Jean Shepherd grew up in Hammond, Indiana, and the Welcome Center there has a complete map to Shepherd sites. We just took in the Welcome Center, featuring Flick and the flagpole (7770 Corinne Drive).
For a fun read about the movie, pick up this book by Quentin Schultze. You'll find tidbits like the "His Side Up" mentioned earlier, and much more from the author who knew Jean Shepherd.
Movie fans will enjoy visiting both locations ~ we sure did 
(frah-JEE-lay) 😊