Friday, December 30, 2011

Polite Graffiti

Odd bit of graffiti on a downtown Three Rivers building.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Three Rivers Holiday Trees

Merchants downtown have store-thematically decorated trees in their windows, unveiled yesterday and with the community voting for their favorites today. Some are very clever! I especially liked the popcorn decorated tree at the movie theater, the chair-tree at Second Wind Furniture (made out of old chairs!), the art-tree at the Three Rivers Artists Guild's Gallery. And this one, though it takes a bit more explanation-this is a recycled office tree, with ornaments cut from old office computer circuit boards, snowflakes from recycled office paper, and a garland of packing peanuts. Very clever! At Love Your Mother, 39 North Main Street, Three Rivers, a store specializing in earth friendly products and gifts made from recycled stuff.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Last minute shopping

Actually I took this the day before Thanksgiving, a mom doing some last minute shopping in the family station wagon with the little kids in tow. Amish style. If you are a busy mom, imagine taking care of all that - and the horse, too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Veggie Thanksgiving

Instead of Turkey, a nice fat stuffed pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Snowflakes arrive

Spotted downtown this morning - a crane and crew hanging giant lighted snowflakes across the street.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Runnin' on the River

Jet skis on the Portage River in the late fall sunshine. Watch out for those rocks...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Area artists out of town

The Three Rivers area Watercolor Circle traveled to the Elkhart "Midwest Museum of American Art" where the juried regional show ( is currently on display. There we saw the work of the fabulous (fabius) Helen Mac. Pop over to her blog,, to see what else she is up to!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

YAB (yet another bridge)

This is the abandoned railroad bridge from yesterday, taken from the bank of the St. Joseph River.
Still a lot of bridges left -- I may need to come back to this topic!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


This is a bit of the past, forgotten. And strangely beautiful that way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rocky River Rocks

Fun to do this in a kayak. Under the bridge in Scidmore Park.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Looking down the St. Joseph River from the old railroad bridge. I continue to be amazed by the rivers here, the way you can be in the city but feel like you are a hundred years and a thousand miles away from modern life. Just get out on the river!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Horse and Buggy Days

On Labor Day for the Bridge Walk the Woman's club handed out a brochure/passport for the bridges. A comment on it read, "In the early 1900s South Main Street was named Flint Avenue. It was "The Avenue", a lovely shaded street during the hose and buggy days."

Whoah on the nostalgia -- although the trees seem to have been street-widened away, with Amish about the area, the horse and buggy days never left!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hoffman St. Bridge

A view from the water of the Hoffman St. Bridge over the Portage River, with a bit of the old abandoned powerhouse showing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another bridge to nowhere

This is the abandoned railroad bridge that parallels the Broadway Bridge over the St. Joseph River. I wonder where it used to go? Taken the day of the Bridge Walk.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Three Rivers History Mural (6)

The last view of the mural shows in the background more houses, a church and a bit of downtown. This section is quite damaged. Children are shown in the park, enjoying the Popcorn Stand which is now by the petting zoo. The Popcorn Stand for years provided support - and jobs - for developmentally disabled people.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three Rivers History Mural (5)

Past the suffragette and the lighthouse, there's a minister (I think - someone will have to write and tell me who this represents), more houses, and a pleasant scene of a modern-day family in the park.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three Rivers History Mural (4)

More houses are seen in this section of the mural, indicating the arrival of the first development called "Moab" (links to photo of actual monument located on the corner of Constantine and Broadway.) Continuing along we find suffragettes, and next, in the background, Three Rivers' iconic lighthouse. I am not sure about the significance of the baseball team!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three Rivers History Mural (3)

The next section of the mural shows the arrival of the first US emigrants to the area. They came to farm, and building mills was also high on their list when they saw the abundant water power. Families established themselves. The first recorded settler wedding in Three Rivers was in November, 1830; Mary McInterfer was married to David Winchell. The first school was in the log cabin of the McInterfer family. At this early date, power dams for mills were being constructed on local rivers. A mill is shown at the right of this section of mural, along with the proud owner and his family. On the river is seen one of the "arcs" or flatboats used to ship logs down to the mouth of the St. Joseph River, where they could be picked up by seagoing vessels for export. Boats were also constructed that transported flour and grain to Chicago; the shippers' family names were prominent in the history of Three Rivers - Prutzman, Moore, and Millard. Moore & Millard's first boat for shipping to Chicago was named "Kitty Kiddungo", which has to be a good answer to a trivia question!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Three Rivers' history mural (2)

The next section of the mural shows the arrival of the first traders, mostly French, and the establishment in the late 1600s of the first Christian mission and church along the banks of the St. Joseph River in what is now Three Rivers. The mission is marked by a river trail marker on the St. Joseph River.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three Rivers' history mural (1)

The first section of the mural shows a Native American man looking west across the undeveloped river. Although no particular people is represented - the figure is only symbolic - the first French Traders and US settlers found that the Pottawatomi had beaten them to the area by 100 years or more. The Pottawatomi were farmers and traders, driven to the area from their original homeland near Detroit by the Iroquois in disputes over valuable fur hunting areas. Other disputes were recorded from oral histories, including the Great Battle for which there is a marker in the park.

The Pottawatomi are the "fire keepers" of the Anishinabe Three Fires Confederacy. The nearby Pottawatomi town of Nottawasepi, now called Mendon, was as large as many US cities in the west at that time. They were settled farmers and were Christian from the 1600s. Many Pottawatomi tried to hang on to their land through filing lawsuits and other legal and political maneuvers, but most lost their land in the tragic "Indian Removal" period spearheaded by still-controversial president Andrew Jackson. Today, most Pottawatomi live in the west, but a few "bands" (family groups) that refused removal - or escaped and returned - remain. One local group purchased a large tract of land about an hour east of Three Rivers, and remain there. There are many interesting - and bloodcurdling - stories about the collision of the US settler and Pottawatomie cultures, but they are a little hard to find. Local historian Sue Stillman in the 1930s wrote in her history of Three Rivers some of the stories, when it was still fairly close to living memory.

Before the Pottawatomie, other peoples lived here, but the archeology record is sketchy (and much of it was plowed under.) The Miami peoples were known to live here, and before them, peoples of the Mississippian Mound Culture. Along undeveloped stretches of river the "wild rice", a staple grain, that they planted may still be found in large tracts. In more settled areas, the emigrant farmers pulled it out, seeing it as blocking navigation - and not knowing what it was.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bridge mural

The Peeler Street Bridge that spans both a river and the railroad tracks has on its abutment a very long mural giving an outline of the history of Three Rivers. I will post closer up pictures of it this week - mostly taken last in winter, when it was easier to see. Email me if you know about the history of this mural! It is growing more faded and has a lot of water damage, I hope repairs are planned.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I'm repeating a photo here because it is one of my favorites; an appropriate and very moving 9-11 memorial created by the Three Rivers firefighters.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bridge Walk - 6th Street

Here's my attempt to look two ways at once - Bridge Walkers crossing the 6th Street Bridge, which has a beautiful view downriver on one side and an equally nice view upstream to the power dam on the other side. Jan McEnroe was stamping Bridge Walk passports here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bridge Walk - Hoffman

Some Bridge Walkers on the Hoffman Street bridge over the Portage River. According to the Passport, the bridge is 91 feet long and was built in 1917. You can also "drive" over it on Google Maps.
My favorite part of the walks was talking to people who had stories to tell about growing up in the area and their memories of the bridges and rivers. Here a woman told me that just upstream was an old swimming hole where kids would swim 'au naturel' and "get in trouble for it!"

A look downstream, where a sandbar has formed under the bridge. Hazard to navigation?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bridge Walk - Broadway

There are two parallel bridges over the St. Joseph on Broadway, one for the roadway and the other, a spookily abandoned railroad bridge. The road bridge, according to the Three Rivers Woman's Club Passport brochure, was originally built in 1878! It was "updated" in 1990 which accounts for the modern look.

One woman passed me on the sidewalk, map in hand, and said "I'm going the wrong way!" Oh no, people were walking the trail in both directions. Here are some walkers on the Broadway Bridge, where Jo Barton and her daughter (above) were stamping passports.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bridge Walk: 5th Ave.

Along with the walking maps, the Three Rivers Woman's Club "Passport" had a lot of interesting information about the bridges. This bridge over the Portage River on 5th Ave. was built in 1917, although it looks very modern.
Here, a group of walkers that did the long 4.6 mile (7.4 km) trail approach volunteer Shirley Blum to have their "passport" stamped.

I love this spot. Stop on the bridge here, almost downtown, but which ever way you look it could be wilderness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Historic Bridge Walk

Oh the bridge walk was so much fun - they said "first annual" so if you missed it, come next year! Three Rivers is a fantastic town for walking, and not just the park; the streets are lovely too. Maps were provided for a variety of routes and a brochure with bridge photos was "Your Passport to the Bridge Walk" and was stamped by volunteers waiting by each bridge.

This is a photo of only a few of the volunteers:
Jo Barton and her daughter (Broadway Bridge over the St. Joseph)
Shirley Blum (5th St. Bridge over the Portage River)
Jan McEnroe (6th Ave Bridge just below the power dam)
Diane Foghino (who forgot a chair so was standing over by the Memory Isle bridge for hours!)
Map of the routes:

More pictures tomorrow.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day weekend, Harmony Fest

Despite occasional drizzle, the Harmony Fest was a lot of fun. The photo above was taken just as it was starting in the early afternoon, and the street was already filling up. Not shown: the line of BBQ stands and the sweet smoke in the air.

TODAY is the Bridge Walk. Three Rivers Womens' Club volunteers will be handing out "passports" for the bridges in the Farmers Market Pavilion in Scidmore Park (right behind the former Neff Flower shop). The passport will be stamped by volunteers for every bridge on the route that you cross between 9 and noon.

More on their website:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bridge to Nowhere

This abandoned beauty is frequently chosen as a subject by local painters. Grass grows on the roadbed, and the masonry crumbles. Paddling under it I discovered an exciting "drop" that kept me from taking a planned photo from below.

Tomorrow, Labor Day, Sept. 5, there will be a Bridge Walk in Three Rivers, sponsored by the Women's Club. Register (free) starting at 9am in Scidmore Park, get a "passport" and have it stamped for each bridge you cross! See the website:
There is a Facebook events page for the bridge walk but you have to sign in to FB to look at it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Memory Isle Bridge for a wedding

My favorite bridge - which I have painted many times - is the little red bridge to Memory Isle in the park. I took this yesterday evening, and there was a lovely chuppah or wedding arbor across the bridge, waiting on the island, in the sunlight.

Check out the nice article in the River Country Journal about the Bridge Walk - with two more of my bridge photos. Thanks, Bruce!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Peeler Street Bridge

A cooling change of season for this bridge picture, part of a series of bridge pictures I'm doing in honor of the Womens' Club sponsored Three Rivers Historic Bridge Walk on Monday, Sept. 5, see (or previous posts) for more info.

This is the Peeler Street Bridge as seen from the park. The bridge features a very large mural showing the history of Three Rivers - and some interesting graffiti. The bridge spans both the railroad track and the Rocky River.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Portage River Bridge

This is my favorite bridge to paddle under, with those big cool arches. At the mouth of the Portage River, where it flows into the St. Joseph. Highway M60 passes over this bridge and into downtown Three Rivers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bridge to downtown

This is the M86/Main Street bridge over the St. Joseph River. With its beautiful arches it looks like an old bridge, but actually it is (almost) brand new, replacing the 1903 concrete bridge that had interesting detailing that resembled masonry. I think there was something else historical about the old bridge, but I don't recall what it was.

The two signs visible on the bridge to the right are part of the water trail system in St. Joseph County, meant to be seen by travelers on the water. One sign (SJ18) is for the Stillman House (photo taken from the Stillman House grounds) and the other (SJ19) for the close by Jesuit Mission site on the north bank of the St. Joseph; the mission was established in the late 1600s. For more on the water trail system:

Labor Day, Sept. 5, there will be a Bridge Walk in Three Rivers, sponsored by the Women's Club. Register (free) starting at 9am in Scidmore Park, get a "passport" and have it stamped for each bridge you cross! See the website:
There is a Facebook events page for the bridge walk but you have to sign in to FB to look at it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little Bridge

Today's bridge is, I am sure, the smallest of Three River's city bridges. It passes over the city's smallest river (unnamed, coming out of the duck pond) which flows prettily into the Rocky via the city's tiniest waterfall.

Three Rivers has lots of bridges, and on Sept. 5th there will be a Three Rivers Labor Day Historic Bridge Walk, sign up starting at 9am in Scidmore Park. More,

Monday, August 29, 2011


This is the Highway M60/Michigan Ave. bridge over the Rocky River -- the main part of the river, not the race, which parallels the river through Scidmore Park at this point. Looking upriver.

This coming weekend the Three Rivers Womens' Club will sponsor a bridge walk - read more on their Facebook Event page,!/event.php?eid=173659086038753.

To see more Three Rivers bridges, click the "bridges" tag to the right, or use this link:

Friday, August 19, 2011


Corn is what the midwest does, but only in Michigan will you find cornfields as neatly kept as a park. Tidy Michiganders keep neatly trimmed edges on this cornfield just outside of Three Rivers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sign Painting

Bookseller and former mayor Tom Lowry on a very high ladder, painting his own sign last evening.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Double Sun

A Three Rivers sunflower in the sun.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Hops, fresh-picked from our giant hop-vine and drying in a basket. Now to find a beer maker.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Upcycled on Johnnycake

A newly built feed store in the strip-mall section on the west side of Three Rivers was the location Saturday for Up-Cycled Pets' "meet and greet", allowing folks to see the adoptable pets. The SPCA also participated.

The new store is on a new street which they have named "Johnnycake Lane", a sentimental nod to the old Johnnycake School, torn down when the Wal-Mart went in a few years ago. The feed store is called "Diamond Creek" and despite it having the big plastic chain-store type sign, a chain-store name (there is no Diamond Creek around here) and the general chain-store look, it seems to be locally owned. And it was nice of them to remember Johnnycake.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A very intense thunder-and-lightning storm was capped off by what seemed live a very long period of hail, quite largish, bouncing and pounding. My new seedlings are quite flat.
The spectacular violence of midwestern weather is something I'll never get used to.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Urban Corn

The Stears family has been around the county a very long time; there is even a Stears Road outside of Constantine. In a county loaded with corn, sweet corn from their farmstand is sought after. And here it is at the supermarket!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beauty of a Beast

This beauty ate one of my husband's apple trees (notice the apple for scale.) I've never seen such a big caterpillar. He said, "Did you kill it?" Of course not.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Signs and Portents

Eerie clouds early this morning surged and swirled like an upside down sea across the sky, capping off yesterday's hundred degree heat. I'm not mentioning the humidity.

(See more of the world's sky at Skywatch Friday,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love Your Mother Show

The Watercolor Circle's opening for its spring show at "Love Your Mother", downtown Three Rivers. Show will be up until the end of the month. Mmmm--aren't you sorry you missed the opening?