GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 145

From the Archives
Archives Reveal Fascinating Trivia
Weird Weather Not
Unusual in Grosse
Pointe’s History
The archives at the Grosse Pointe Historical Society are
filled with intriguing information about our community.
Below is an excerpt from the “Guide to Grosse Pointe,”
written in the 1930s, that details the some unusual
weather the Pointes had in the 18th and 19th centuries.
We invite you to visit our Web site,
You never know what you’ll discover!
Climatic Idiosyncrasies and Phenomens
Stories have been told about the great rivalry which once
existed between the east and the west wind. How the east
wind, being victorious prevailed for seven years until the
waters of the rivers and lakes had risen to such a height as
to threaten inundation to the lodger and corn fields of the
tribes living on the banks, when the Great Spirit seeing
the misery of his children and listening to their petitions,
recalled the west wind which reigned for seven years, thus
forcing back the waters into their original channel. Many
today notice the fact relative to the waters of the Detroit
River and Lake St. Clair and we find a memorandum of it
in the journal of Capt. Morris, of her majesty’s Eighteenth
Infantry, who visited Detroit in 1764. That the waters of
these lakes rise for seven years and fall for seven years; in
fact there is a seven years tide. Considerable doubt still
exists as to the cause of the periodic rise and fall. The
floating ice from Lake Huron one spring so blocked up the
channel of the Ste. Claire River that Lake St. Claire and
the Detroit River was almost drained. The water had
receded from the shore of Grosse Pointe nearly four miles
from the shore. The surf had raised several sand ridges. A
similar freak of nature occurred in 1818. In winter the ice
seems to have some effect.
The winter of 1779-80 was the most severe on record.
Horses and cattle died from exposure to the cold and in
the spring hundreds of them were found dead in the
woods. On May 16th, 1780, Colonel DePeyster wrote
Colonel Bolton at Niagra saying; “After the most severe
winter ever remembered, this is the earliest we think pru-
dent to venture a vessel on the lake.” In the spring and
summer of 1788 the rains, the most violent ever known,
washed away the embankment. Early in 1784 an extraor-
dinary frost set in, extending all over this region. The old-
est resident could not remember any such snow as that of
the succeeding winter; in some places it was five or six
feet deep and caused great distress. As late as March 6th,
the snow was four feet deep. In Lake St. Clair, a mile from
the shore, the ice was three feet thick and it did not disap-
pear until May.
The winter of 1811-12 brought an earthquake in place of
storms. Its first manifestations occurred on December
16th, 1811, up to December 21st, shocks were of daily
occurrence, and they were felt at intervals until late in
February. They were especially notibable in the vicinity of
Detroit on January 22 and 23, on the 24th, at seven p.m.
and also on February 7th, 1812.
In 1816, ice formed every month in the year. From the
14th, to the 20th, of April 1821, eight inches of snow fell.
The winter of 1823 was very mild. Flowers blossomed in
the winter out of doors. On May 1st, 1824, there was a
foot of snow on the ground. In 1826 the winter was so
mild that grass is said to have grown a foot in January.
The rise of St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair occurred in
1827. Many farm houses and two church building were
carried off by the flood, while many tracts of shore lands
were submerged.
Perhaps the best remembered and most extraordinary
phenomenon was that which the people of the country
witnessed in 1835. On Christmas Day of that year, an
exceptionally heavy fall of snow covered the ground,
which was followed on the 26th by a mist. The rain ceased
suddenly, the clouds lowered, grew dark, and assumed
such appearances as would lead the spectator to conclude
that this globe was about to collapse. The storm king at
length broke loose, swooped down from the northwest in
black night, uprooting trees, sweeping everything in his
track, and bringing with him such a current of icy air, that
man and beast not then in shelter, were frozen to death.
This storm was so sudden as it was phenomenal. It is well
remembered by the old settlers and forms for them a
mark on the page of time.
It has been said that in 1837, a meteorite fell in Grosse
Pointe and buried itself on the property of J.B. Marsack,
known as private claim No. 239. No official record of veri-
fication has been located. It has also been said that a
meteorite fell on the property of Mrs. Chauvin in the early
fall of 1901, and was visible until 1910. It resembled a
huge piece of dark granite, estimated to weigh one ton or
more; and that the meteorite could be seen on a bright
sun shiny day also could be felt by prodding with a pole a
dozen feet below the surface.
The spot described is now the home of Fred C. Burden,
17020 East Jefferson Avenue between Notre Dame and St.
Clair Roads, City of Grosse Pte. Mr. Burden’s greenhouse
in rear of his home now covers the spot where the mete-
orite is reported to have fallen. No official record of this
meteorite has been found.
The meteor which was seen on November 1st, 1857, was
passing south ward proved to be a most eventful one. Its
journey was accompanied by a sharp rumbling sound like
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