In the 1840s, Charles Lanman walked away from his career in New York and went fishing.  Permanently.  Traveling around the western United States (what we now call the Midwest) by foot, horse, and canoe, he wrote about his adventures for various periodicals and then, in the 1850s, collected those writings into a two-volume set of books.  The four chapters comprising his travels through the region of the Great Lakes are particularly poignant, especially the chapter about his visit to Michigan, where he was born and spent his formative years.

It is strangely compelling to read the words of a man bemoaning the encroachment of civilization on his beloved Michigan wilderness... in the middle of the nineteenth century when Detroit only held fifteen thousand people and Michigan as a state was barely ten years old.  If he saw southeast Michigan now, he would no doubt be horrified.


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