The Channel Opens

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In 1892, Henry Starke begins building a channel near the south end of Bar Lake. When the channel is finished in 1893, it has a depth of about 10 feet. Bar Lake becomes a safe harbor for shipping on the Great Lakes.

"The channel sides were protected with slab and pile revetments and two piers were built into Lake Michigan. These piers rested on the sand bottom and consisted below water surface of layers of slab and above water of timber -- crib work filled with stone; vertical tie rods connected the slabs to the first course of timber; a row of close piling, without wale, protected the slab and crib work, both front and rear."
-- Arcadia 1880-1980



Maintaining the Channel

From 1892 through 1906, the harbor is built, improved, and maintained privately for about $75,000. The harbor is free for public use and open from the earliest to the latest dates of navigation each season. The channel is dredged properly to a depth of 14 feet, and the piers are kept in good repair. Arcadia's harbor supports interstate commerce between this area and cities across Lake Michigan.

Using the Channel
Pere Marquette No. 8 enters Arcadia's harbor.


Dredging the Channel
A steam-powered shovel maintains the channel between Lake Michigan and Bar Lake. Barges carry sand removed from the channel's bottom or materials such as rocks used to maintain the channel's walls. A tug assists as needed to move each the shovel and barges.


The Steam Shovel
The shovel scoops sand from the bottom of the channel.


Repositioning the Shovel
Tugs move the barge to a new position in the channel.

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