The image comes from a Michigan Tourist Council collection. No date is provided, but it likely dates from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. The description on the back identifies the man as “Al Berry” and notes that he’s carrying a fifty-pound sturgeon. The woman on the snowmobile is not named. The description further notes that the photo was taken at Black Lake, near Onaway in Cheboygan County, Michigan.
Like many Michiganians, this man and woman were engaging in some winter fun. Winter recreation has a long tradition in the state. Back in the 1700’s, Detroit’s French-Canadian residents held horse races on the frozen Detroit River. In the 19th Century, miners and lumber jacks often raced horse-drawn cutters over the ice. For as long as anyone alive can remember, Michiganians have indulged in hockey, ice fishing, ice skating, skiing, sledding and sleigh riding. Snowmobiling represents a more modern activity – made possible by 20th Century technological advances. Judith Helmker, in her Manual of Snowmobiling (Cranbury, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1971) credits Wisconsin resident Carl Eliason as inventing a “motorized tobaggon” in 1928.
The Archives of Michigan houses additional photographs and textual records of the Michigan Tourist Council. Click Michigan Tourist Council to view ANSWER online catalog records of these collections.
For more ways to enjoy Michigan’s winter, visit the Travel Michigan web site, by clicking on: http://www.michigan.org/. Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State’s official agency for the promotion of tourism.