HISTORIC MICHIGAN: Stonehenge & Protar’s Tomb on Beaver Island
Take a trip to Beaver Island...ever been there? Most of us know about it but have never visited. It's an island paradise, no matter what part of the island you partake in.
The north side has the population and most of the activity: many shops & stores, boating, nature preserve, toy museum, lodging, etc.
The farther south you go, the more rustic it gets. The roads get smaller and turn into dirt, some roads lead into a dead end into the woods, and there are plenty of thick, dense forests. So thick, that many hikers get lost in the middle of the island. Best thing to do if you get lost? Just keep walking...you'll hit the shoreline eventually.
There's an impressive amount of unique things to see in the bottom half of the island as well.....
1) PROTAR'S TOMB and PROTAR'S CABIN
Back in 1887, Feodar Protar was forced to land on Beaver Island when a storm pushed his ship into the harbor. When the storm subsided, he explored the island, loved it, and spent every summer there. By 1893, he was a permanent island resident. He found a cabin in the woods that had been built back in 1860 and moved in. He became the island's doctor, practicing without a license. He never left the island.
The cabin & tomb both remain deep in the woods and welcome visitors. The tomb lies just west of the cabin. The tomb can be found on - appropriately - Protar's Tomb Road, and the cabin is on Sloptown Road.
2) BEAVER ISLAND STONEHENGE
On the west side of the island, on Reddings Trail, lies a patch of land with a circle of stones - actually glacial boulders - believed to be some kind of ancient script, sacred native site of the Anishinaabemowin and Anishinaabe people, or astrological figures.
Were these boulders placed by tribe members hundreds of years ago, or left that way by more recent construction workers?
Markings & drawings appear on some of the boulders and a big stone in the center has a burrowed hole in the middle, possibly used to hold some kind of pole...maybe a sacrificial rock?
This stone figuration is called the "Beaver Island Stone Circle" and islanders do not put it on their list of things to do or see when you visit...you have to find the place yourself. It's on Reddings Trail which goes right through the stone circle - so when you visit, you'll have to wander on both sides of the road to see the stones in the woods and in the open. This "stonehenge" was re-discovered in the 1980's and is mostly not-talked-about by islanders.
Below are pictures, most of the northern part of Beaver Island, with some cool old storefronts and shops. It really is one of Michigan's gems that you really should visit sometime this - or any - year.