Peninsula Township Fire Department with Madelyn Ryan at Fire Station 2 | PCL Photo
Peninsula Township Fire Department with Madelyn Ryan at Fire Station 2 | PCL Photo

It’s National Paul Bunyan Day! Paul Bunyan has deep roots in Michigan. While many states came to claim the legend as their own, historians believe the tales were based on the life of Fabian Fournier, a French Canadian who came to work in the logging camps of Michigan after the Civil War.

Fournier’s height – over six feet in a day when the average male stood at five feet – along with his fierce drinking and brawling made him intimidating. He died after a fight in Bay City, a wild town back in the day where lumberjacks went to drink their pay. The trial of his alleged attacker, which ended in acquittal, spread far and wide, and as tales were told around campfires and pot-bellied stoves, a legend was born.

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Legends abound here at Peninsula Community Library, both on our shelves and in the reputation of our programs and friendly staff!

Be sure to sign up now for Summer Reading Club! “Oceans of Possibility” is this year’s theme. July abounds with imagination and rewards for patrons of all ages. Kids’ programs are offered in the Children’s Garden on July Tuesdays at 11 a.m., with visits from a pirate and mermaid! Adults and kids can pick up a log and start reading NOW. Multi-age programs during the month include:

Pirates Ahoy! Our first Tuesday Summer Reading Club story hour is July 5 at 11 a.m.! Kids are invited to dress as a pirate to meet Pirate Captain Barnacle Bob! We will offer craft bags (while they last), pirate accessories and activities in the Children’s Garden!

Patrons of ALL ages are invited to join us Thursday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. outside with storyteller Jenifer Stauss for “Swimming with Dolphins and Swaying with Whales: Science, Stories and Songs from the Deep Blue Sea.” Bring chairs or a blanket. Rain venue is the Community Room.

Michigan Medicine Lecture Series. In collaboration with the University of Michigan, we are proud to sponsor a series of programs with physician experts the world over. We are joined July 25 at 3 p.m. by Dr. Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Paulson is Director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center (MADC) and Co-Director of the University of Michigan Protein Folding Diseases Initiative. While reservations are not required, we are trying to get a feel for space. If you can, please call us to let us know you are coming – (231) 223-7700.

Language Meetup. Have you always wanted to learn Spanish but can’t get started? Have you learned Spanish but found you needed people to practice with to maintain and improve? Do you want to be able to connect with your Spanish speaking neighbors? Are you a Spanish speaker and willing to help new speakers practice? Come join a monthly group to socialize and develop or practice your Spanish skills. Meetings are the third Saturday of the month for 90 minutes. The first meeting will be Saturday, July 16, at 10:30 a.m. at the library. RSVP to Leslie at [email protected] so that we can plan for space, beverages and snacks.

Chapter Champs! Kids grades 3-5 are invited to join us Saturday, August 13 at 10 a.m. at the Lighthouse Beach for a fun book discussion and crafts. The book, “The Secret Lake” by Karen Inglis, is available now. Pick one up and let us know your children are participating! The book is your child’s to keep!

Covid Testing Kits. The State of Michigan has sent more Covid-19 at-home testing kits. You are free to help yourself – up to five per household – from the supply in the foyer. If you believe you are ill, please send someone else to pick up a kit or remain in your car and call us curbside when you arrive. We will leave the kits near your car for you to pick up when we walk away. Help us to keep everyone healthy!

Bicycle Repair Station. Be sure to check out our new bicycle repair station by the bike rack! It was made possible through a generous grant by the Cherry Capital Cycling Club and includes a pump and tools for emergency repairs. I am told that the tools are great for wheelchair repair, as well!

From THE FRIENDS OF PENINSULA COMMUNITY LIBRARY:

Annual Book Sale. This year, our Friends of PCL book sale will open on Friday, August 12, and run through Saturday, August 20, during regular library hours. We want to thank the community for all their generous book donations. Proceeds from the Friends’ activities support PCL programs and, therefore, go back to the community.

Book Donations. In order to prepare for the sale, our focus will turn to book sorting. The last day to drop off book donations is Monday, July 18, from 4 – 6 p.m.

How did the real story of Fabian Fournier evolve into legends of Paul Bunyan? The life of Fournier, who was known as Saginaw Joe, became intertwined after his death with another French Canadian named Bon Jean. Tales quickly spread to every logging camp across the country, and stories were exaggerated and invented.

In 1910, James MacGillivray, a reporter for The Detroit News, published a popular series called “The Logging Tall Tales.” Later, several logging companies developed pamphlets promoting Paul. The tales exploded from there. Statues, a J.L. Hudson’s Department Store Thanksgiving Parade figure and festivals evolved, assuring forever that a legend lives on!

Paul Bunyan Tales | Forest History Society Photo
Paul Bunyan Tales | Forest History Society Photo

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Vicki Shurly is director of the Peninsula Community Library, 2893 Island View Road on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan. Call the library at (231) 223-7700 or email Vicki at [email protected].

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