"White Rock": The History, Oral Traditions, and Tales

"White Rock": The History, Oral Traditions, and Tales (HM1AYR)

Location: Harbor Beach, MI 48441 Huron County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 43.039', W 82° 36.586'

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"White Rock" is steeped in history and oral traditions. Henry Schoolcraft, in his Travels of 1820, speaks of the White Rock and its prominence. He says, "White Rock, an enormous detached mass of transition limestone standing in the lake at the distance of half a mile from the shore. This is an object looked upon as a kind of milestone by the voyageurs and is known to all canoe and boat travelers of the region."

According to Anishinabeg oral tradition, the White Rock was once much larger and sacred to local Indians. Freshly killed game and other choice food was placed on the White Rock so the Great Spirit, Gitchi Manitou, would know the Anishinabeg were thankful for the gifts received from the natural environment.

The White Rock is still considered a very special place by the descendants of the Indians who first observed its unique qualities, and it continues to be one of the places at which offerings are made.

A local tale from around 1860 relates a story that a group of white people decided to have a square dance on the White Rock. Local Indians warned them not to have this dance, as the White Rock was sacred. Still, two sets of square dancers piled onto the White Rock from canoes. One man decided to heed the Indians' warning, and remained in the water nearby. Suddenly, as they danced, a bolt of lightning struck the White Rock and killed all the dancers, leaving only the nearby man to tell of the terrible tragedy.

The White Rock we see today rises only about four feet above the waterline and is about twelve feet square in length. According to local historians, lightning has struck the White rock repeatedly, and the U.S. Air Force used the White Rock for target practice around the time of World War II. This, and the natural effects of erosion constantly at work, are cited as the principal reasons for the White Rock's rather rapid diminished size.

A bronze plaque, stolen long ago, was once originally fixed to a stone boulder that marked this historic spot. Through the work and contributions of the Deckerville Historic Museum and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, the plaque has been replaced and is once again mounted on the original stone boulder still in this park.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 10:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 370326 N 4841735
Decimal Degrees43.71731667, -82.60976667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 43.039', W 82° 36.586'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 43' 2.34" N, 82° 36' 35.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)989
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4501-4665 S Lakeshore Rd, Harbor Beach MI 48441, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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