HIDDEN MICHIGAN: McCourtie Park
What are ten words & terms that describe McCourtie Park near Somerset center?
2) Al Capone
5) Concrete "wooden" bridges
6) Underground Railroad
7) "The Lady In Blue"
9) Cement ponds
W.H.L. McCourtie was a wealthy oil man who settled in Somerset Center, south of Jackson. He hired Mexican folk artists to sculpt 17 bridges out of concrete - to look like they were made of wood. He had two large birdhouses built, with little chambers inside for the birds to wander around in, like a house with rooms and hallways.....humans cannot see inside these houses.
McCourtie had an underground lodge where he entertained luminaries of the day like Henry Ford and - so says legend - bootleggers and gangsters like Al Capone.
The haunted part comes from "The Lady In Blue" - a female ghost that is sometimes seen wandering around the grounds at night wearing an 1850-ish blue dress. Rumor is she's the spirit of a runaway slave who made use of the tunnels that were part of the Underground Railroad.....found underneath McCourtie's speakeasy, and believed to be long gone.
This is a fascinating story and a very cool place to take the family for picnics and outings (in the daytime, of course...you don't want the Lady In Blue" frightening your family).
McCourtie passed away in 1933 at the age of 61 and left quite a legacy behind. This is one of Michigan's Historical Sites and a place you should check out - if you haven't already.
Atlasobscura.com has an article telling all about McCourtie Park and you can read it and see pictures by CLICKING HERE.
And by the way, about the ghost.....about ten years ago I actually DID hear it one night after 10pm....it was about only three feet in front of me and nothing was visible, even with shining my flashlight all around me. Needless to say, I was OUTTA there...