July 2nd, 2009 @ 00:59:17 | 8 Comments
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. — Bill Cosby
Little Girl’s Point is along a very scenic stretch of highway near the UP’s western border. It’s a beautiful rocky beach with really pretty shorelines. I’ll let my friend Kristin describe her experience:
The Beach where Little Girls Tend to be Rude
Little Girls Point. I remember the name of this one because there were so many jokes knotted to it. And Nils seemed to anticipate this one more than the others–was it just me, or were we speeding?–and we were not disappointed. When we got to the beach, there were indeed little girls scattered around the beach like litter. That’s what I was looking for, anyway; nowadays, there’s so much false advertising.
Jokes aside, I found this to be a standard beach. By normalizing it, I do not mean to demean its excellence. “Normal” beaches of the north woods are spectacular. But this one, with its standardized smooth stone edge and its standardized coniferous forest in the distance… well. It was a setting that I took in with ease and familiarity, the way one fondly greets an old friend. I was comfortable enough to sing there. In fact, I think I might have. Yes, I did, right after eating an apple from an apple tree that grew right next to the beach. Interestingly, the apple tasted a bit fishy. I think I threw it out the window as we left the land of little girls pointing. How very rude.
The drive is along CR-505 which is really scenic between Montreal River and Little Girl’s Point. Some really nice real estate along this stretch. Little Girl’s Point is a county park, so there are some camping sites available. Also a boat launch. There are picnic pavilions, a caretaker’s house, and a bath house. Rumor has it there are new flush toilets too, but I don’t know where… There’s a big concrete-looking thing out in the water that I think is probably good for jumping off of. I imagine it had some other purpose at another time…
It was a little strange being at this beach, probably because I expected a sandy beach – not such large, round stones. Farther up the beach is a bluff with views East to the Porcupine Mountains and West to the Apostle Islands. If you go to this beach, be aware that there is more to the park than what you first see from the road. And see the shoreline viewer. And see this map. Local legend spins a tale of how the area got its name. An article printed in the “Ironwood Daily Globe” in June 1985 – Centennial Edition is where that link takes you. The article was written by Norman Bunker and Victor Lemmer. I’ve copied both articles here for your reading pleasure.
The Ironwood area is rich in legend, and one of the stories explains how Little Girl’s Point got its name. This version was told by Guy M. Burnham of Ashland, Wis. According to Burnham, Mary Amoose (Little Bee), an unusually intelligent Chippewa woman of Bad River, told Burnham the story of the lost girl of Little Girl’s Point as she had often heard it told by her grandmother more than a half century ago.
She told Burham how a party of hunters returning from a trip to the Crouching Porcupine rounding the point of land now known as Little Girl’s Point, thought they saw the form of a girl among the trees. She was clad in green. The hunters, thinking that it was some girl that had become lost, beached their canoes, but on climbing the steep shore, only caught one or two glimpses of the green girl, who glided further back among the stately pines, and vanished.
Burham said he was interested in this story for it gave the name to Little Girl’s Point, and it was told to him by this Chippewa woman, much as it had been told to Henry R. Schoolcraft, the historian, and discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River. Burnham said the .story was told to Schoolcraft by his half?breed wife, Julia (Jane) Johnson, granddaughter of the great chief Waubojeeg, who lived on the mainland near where Bayfield now stands.
Schoolcraft named his story “Leelinau, or the Lost Daughter, and Odjibwa (Chippewa) Tale.” The story told to Burnham is so similar to t Schoolcraft’s story, as to show the stories sprung from the same source. (The Chippewa word “Kaug” means porcupine).
Leelinaw was the daughter of a hunter who lived near the base of the s lofty highlands, called “Kaug Wudjoo” on the shore of Lake Superior. The name, “Kaug Wudjoo,” gradually changed to “The Crouching Porcupine” and now is shown on the marine charts of Lake Superior as Porcupine Mountains.
Leelinaw, so the legend goes, loved to climb to the upper heights of the Kaug, and look far out over the waters of “Gitchie Gumee;” to the Islands of the Apostles further west and out across the waters of the inland sea, which now is called Lake Superior. Her view along the coast line to the west ended at a place where a point of land projects out into the water, at the place now known as Little Girl’s Point.
No place had as great an attraction for her as the forest of pines stretching westward along the shore line to the Point. This was called “Manitowak,” or the Sacred Grove. In the Sacred Grove there lived the Little Men of the Woods, the Fairies “Puk Wudjiinees,” who came from the evening star.
The Sacred Grove was seldom visited by the Chippewas, but if in stormy weather hunting parties were driven ashore there, they never failed to leave an offering of tobacco and meat for the Little Men of the Forest.
The child of the hunter did not share with her parents their superstitious fear of the fairies, and so from her perch on the summit of what now is called “The Crouching Porcupine,” she looked out over the Great Lake, and the Sacred Grove, and at the shoreline of the Apostles where the fairies dropped to the earth from the evening star.
One day, she ventured into the outskirts of the Sacred Grove. Her parents, when informed of her trip, old her to keep away from it, but this only increased the little girl’s visits, going further each day, until she reached the Point itself. Her mother, who followed her to the edge of the forest one day especially feared that some bad spirit had enticed her daughter
On one of her trips through th Sacred Grove, the hunter’s daughter murmured, as she leaned against tree: “Spirit of the green wood plume, shed around thy leaf perfume such as spring from buds of gold which thy tiny hands unfold.Spirits hither spirits repair. ”
And like an answering echo, the rustling of the leaves seemed to say: “Maiden, think me not a tree, but thine own dear lover free; tall and youthful in my bloom, with the bright green nodding plume. Thou are leaning on my breast; lean forever there and rest. ”
The hunter’s daughter, now being of an age to marry, her parents chose a husband for her and fixed a date for the wedding. The day of the wedding arrived but the bride to be had disappeared. A search was made which extended even into the Sacred Grove, but the bride returned no more to her father’s lodge at the base of Kaug Mountain.
One evening a belated party of fishermen passing close to the Sacred Grove saw a female figure standing near the shore at the Point. They rowed closer to the shore, but the figure retreated. She was clad in green and the youth who accompanied her wore a waving green plume in his hair.
The public park at Little Girl’s Point includes the Sacred Grove, where the Puk Wudjinees or forest fairies lived, and Little Girl’s Point takes its name from the hunter’s lost daughter.
And the second article was written as follows, by the same authors:
Little Girl’s Point, located about 21 miles north of Ironwood on Lake Superior, is rich in folklore and legend.
It apparently first was known by the Chippewas who used it for fishing, hunting and a camping place during trips to the Porcupine Mountains. Hinsdale’s “Archeological Atlas” shows it as a former village site, but no Indian relics have been found, with the exception of a recent grave.
Local legend repeats a story that the beach once was the scene of a battle between two tribes. Little Girl’s Point, so far as is known was not touched upon by early explorers. Henry R. Schoolcraft does not mention it in his report on the Cass expedition. The present Oman’s Creek was called Floodwood Creek by the Indians. According to Stanley Oman, a descendent of one of the pioneer families of the Point, Oman’s Creek was called Little Girl’s River a s early as 1860.
The first homestead claim at Little Girl’s Point was filed June 10, 1889, by Esias Flink, a Swedish immigrant and commercial fisherman. Indians, it is said, like that area because of the beaver lining on the small creeks with drain into Lake Superior. Flink’s son, Oscar Flink, once said he recalled seeing at Carlborn Slough an
Indian grave when its wooden superstructure still was intact.
As a boy, he said he saw five Indians come to Little Girl’s Point in one large birch bark canoe, debark, and bake sour dough biscuits on the beach. He once said he could recall when whitefish and trout were plentiful, and sold at two and onehalf to three cents a pound. Fried fish eggs, he said, were a regular part of the diet. At that time there were no roads from Ironwood to the Point.
Esias Flink brought George Absalom Triplett to Little Girl’s Point in 1892. Triplett, known in the Gogebic area as “Grampa” Triplett, the white?bearded hermit of the Point, died on the Pacific coast in 1952 at the age of 102. Although his reputation was that of a hermit, he had raised a family of eight children.
Triplett came from Missouri, where he had been the eldest child of a family raised on a plantation called Long Lane in Dade County. He claimed to be a descendants of William Penn. His father, John, was one of the ’49’ers; his uncle, John Penn, was a casualty of the Gold Rush. Long Lane lost all its houses and slaves during the Civil War and never recovered.
Triplett came with his wife and two children to the upper Peninsula in
1873. He first worked at Lake Linden as a carpenter and woodsman. He later took his family to Ashland and ‘finally to Ironwood in August, 1886. He helped buiid the former Curry Hotel and pulled all the stumps from what now is the business district in Ironwood,
On his homestead at Little Girl’s Point, Triplett raised eight children and did some farming. He cleared the timber, grew potatoes, and did some experimental farming for a seed company.
As his family came of age and left home, Triplett entered upon other fields of activity for which he has become a local legend. A great believer in the Good Book, Triplett sprinkled his conversation with admonitions and verses from the Bible. At an advanced age he frequently walked from the Point to Ironwood, and with his long white beard he was quite a remarkable figure.
Around 1911 he began a practice that caused a great deal of speculation in this area, that of prospecting. His prospecting was done in and around Little Girl’s Point, an area long before considered to be worthless for commercial mining by geologists and engineers.
He did a great deal oof digging oover the years,
some of which resulted in pits and caves from 80 to 100 feet deep. He found evidence of silver and copper and hinted at other things as well.
Triplett’s activities created or contributed to the legend that centuries ago the Incas of Peru or the Mayas of Mexico, harrassed by the Spanish invaders, brought a large cargo of treasure up the Mississippi River all the way to Lake Superior. This treasure is supposed to be buried in the vicinity of Little Girls’s Point. By such means he did manage to get limited financial backing and keep himself and the tongues of his neighbors busy.
For 50 years Grampa Triplett was the best known character in Gogebic County and was known all over the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin.