FPS is pleased to announce new book about Fishtown. Fishtown is a rare and vibrant maritime landscape of weathered fishing shanties and fish tugs, tucked in along the Lake Michigan shoreline in view of the Manitou Islands. Fishtown has witnessed the heyday of fishing and the trials of the changing Great Lakes, but above all, it has continued to be an active place for commercial fishing.
In her new book, Fishtown: Leland, Michigan’s Historic Fishery, author Laurie Kay Sommers tells the story of this beloved place’s past and present through the remembrances of the commercial fishermen and ferry captains who have worked out of Fishtown for well over a century. There are harrowing tales of rough seas, near misses and devastating losses, and the reasons why so many fishermen would choose this life all over again. She also shares the story of a community determined not to lose this historic and picturesque attraction, and the successful efforts of a non-profit organization to purchase and care for a key portion of Fishtown. Numerous photographs of Fishtown illustrate the text.
Many members of the community know and love Fishtown, but this book sheds light on a Fishtown that few but the fishermen and ferry captains know. It seeks to provide a deeper understanding of an historic and endangered way of life that has profoundly shaped shoreline communities throughout Michigan. Above all, these stories and images underscore why Fishtown matters and why it is important that it continues as a living legacy of Michigan’s maritime history.
The book is published by Arbutus Press and available for $19.95 in Fishtown and at local bookstores in the Grand Traverse Region.
This project is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About the Author
Laurie Kay Sommers is a freelance folklorist and historic preservation consultant based in Okemos, Michigan. She has been writing about Michigan history and culture since the 1970s.