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Home of the World’s Largest Weathervane

 

Originally the World Largest Weathervane was located on a man-made peninsula that jutted out into the waters at the Northeast end of White Lake where the White River empties its waters.  After nearly 20 years, problems encountered with sinking foundations required that the famous structure be relocated to a safer location.  The World's Largest Weathervane currently is situated in Ellenwood Park in downtown Montague.  The park has a quaint look resembling town squares of yesteryear and is a fitting location for this famous structure.

 

The towering figure of the White Lake lumber schooner “Ella Ellenwood” which sails atop the World’s Largest Weathervane was chosen because it best typifies the colorful but rugged history of the area.  Before roads and railroads where built in West Michigan, all commerce and most personal travel was done by water transportation.  The lumber cut in Michigan in the 1800’s was delivered by boat to other Great Lake ports such as Chicago and Milwaukee and was used to build those great cities in the 19th century.

 

The Ellenwood, owned and operated by the Flagstad family of Montague, was a well known schooner of the era and is befitting of the honor of topping the 48 foot tall weathervane.  The weathervane was built and donated to the community in 1984 by the Whitehall Metal Studios, Inc. (now Whitehall Products LLC) which is located in downtown Montague just one block away.

 

Coincidentally, the Ellenwood’s original dock was situated only a few hundred yards from where the weathervane site is located today.  The schooner weathervane is dedicated in commemoration of the spirit of the Great Lakes sailors who opened this part of the country to the advancement of civilization.

 

THE SAGA OF THE SCHOONER "ELLENWOOD"

 

The 157-ton lumber schooner Ella Ellenwood, was built in East Saginaw, Michigan in 1869. She was purchased by Captain Thomas Flagstad of Montague, a native of Norway, who operated the schooner out of White Lake.

 

On the night of October 1, 1901, while bound for Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a load of maple edgings and shingles, the Ellenwood ran aground off Fox Point about eight miles north of the Milwaukee harbor. Within hours, strong northerly winds and waves began to break up the schooner, causing the Captain and crew to abandon ship. They made shore safely in the schooner's yawl with the aid of a compass and an anchor light.

 

By the next day, the Ellenwood's stern and transom were broken away and the hull had so badly worked loose that the masts wobbled in opposite directions with each swell.  Only the bark cargo was salvaged.  The maple edgings in the hold and the schooner were left to the elements.

 

The following spring in 1902, a portion of the wooden nameplate "ELLENWOOD" was found inside the White Lake Channel. Incredibly, the nameplate drifted around Lake Michigan and by mere chance, or fate, entered the narrow channel to White Lake and washed ashore in White Lake. The Ella Ellenwood had found her way home!

 

This 115-year-old nameplate and a scale model of the Ellenwood are exhibited in the downstairs lobby of the Montague City Hall. The nameplate is a gift from Mrs. Lee King, a relative of Captain Flagstad. Other descendants of Captain Flagstad, now spelled Flagstead, still live in the White Lake area.

 

 

 

  

SPECIFICATIONS OF THE

WORLD’S LARGEST WEATHERVANE

 

Overall Height                                    48 FT.  0 IN.

Arrow Length                                     26 FT.  2 IN.

Overall Length of Schooner                 14 FT.  3 IN.

Height of Schooner                            11 FT.  7 IN.

Height of Directional Letters                  3 FT.  6 IN.

Diameter of Globes:       Large              4 FT.  6 IN.

                                    Small             3 FT.  0 IN.

Weight of Weathervane                        3,500  LBS.

Weight of Arrow & Schooner                   800  LBS

Black Paint                                    DUPONT IMRON           

Gold Paint                                              AWL GRIP

 

CONSTRUCTION INFORMATION

 

MastSteel pipe and plate fabricated and welded.

 

Directional arms, arrow, and schoonerExtruded tubes, angles, and sheet of aluminum fabricated, welded and hand finished.

 

BearingsArrow and schooner rotate on two large ball bearing assemblies.

 

GlobesReinforced fiberglass

 

PilingsSeven 14” diameter reinforced concrete augers cast pilings 36 feet deep.

 


 
 

Copyright © 2010 By Tim Ross  All Rights Reserved       mailto:postmaster@weathervaneweather.com

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