Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Down Memory Lane visiting MCCourtie Park in Somerset Center Michigan

When I was in Girl Scouts, 50 + years ago, we visited this overgrown estate in Somerset Center, Michigan, not far from where I grew up.

I have thought about it off and on over the years because I remembered these amazing cement bridges. I was probably only 10 when we went there, maybe younger, but I still remember that visit.

We were just in Michigan and I wanted to go see if you could see any of them from the road, or even if they still existed.

Much to my surprise and delight the estate has been made into a park and the bridges restored!

The bridges are made from cement to resemble wood, bark and rope.

The estate belonged to WHL McCourtie, who owned the Trinity Portland Cement Company in Cement City. He called his estate Aiden Lair.

t may contain the country's largest collection of el trabeio rustico, the Mexican folk tradition of sculpting cement. 

McCourtie hired iternerent Mexican workers George Cardoso and Ralph Corona to build 17 bridges on his property. They formed the bridges with steel rods then covered them with cement and sculptued them to resemble wood and rope.

Cement chimneys were created to look like tree trunks rise out of an underground rathskeller built into the side of a hill where McCourtie (known as Herb to his friends) played poker with the likes of Henry Ford.

The Park is located in Somerset Center just off Highway 127, US 12, now designated as a Heritage Trail.
It's amazing what things can make an impression to a young child.
Next in the series - Midway, KY and the Old Frankfort Pike

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