Today’s Photo of the Day was snapped as I was coming out of town on Peninsula Drive (well, not while I was driving – I DID pull over). It’s little Bassett Island, on the north side of Power Island in West Bay. Although it’s not really an island unto itself, as it’s connected to Power Island by a little strip of land (an “isthmus,” for those of us who remember 7th grade geography).
Even though it’s tiny – only one acre in size, according to the Grand Traverse County website – there once was a two-story dance pavilion on Bassett Island. Around the turn of the “last” century (i.e. early 1900s), steamships used to ferry people out there for dances.
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In the 1970s, Eugene and Sayde Power contributed $250,000 to save both the big island (now known, of course, as Power Island) and little Bassett Island from development. The islands were acquired through the Nature Conservancy, then bestowed as a public park to Grand Traverse County in 1975. They’re now dedicated as quiet nature preserves.
Eugene was born in Traverse City in 1905, earned degrees from the University of Michigan, was a founder of the microfilm industry and helped to develop the Xerox copier. His philanthropic efforts ranged far and wide, including the development and construction of the Power Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Michigan.
As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story. Such history out in the middle of West Grand Traverse Bay. Oh, and you can also camp on Bassett Island, as there are four rustic campsites there. More info here.