Ferry to Belle Isle Park, Detroit River, 1905, Detroit

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The "Belle Isle Park ferry dock, Detroit, Michigan. The steamer "Garland" at the dock, Detroit River, 1905.

The island was settled by French colonists in the 18th century, who named it Île aux Cochons (Hog Island), after the livestock that were allowed free range. The Island was once the estate of American General Alexander Macomb, Jr., whose monument stands in the Washington Boulevard Historic District in downtown Detroit. On July 4, 1845, a historic picnic party was held on the island to change the name to "Belle Isle" in honor of Miss Isabelle Cass, the daughter of then Governor (General) Lewis Cass. The name Belle Isle (an archaic spelling of Belle Île) means "beautiful island" in French.

The prominent American urban park designer Frederick Law Olmsted created a design for the island in the 1880s. He was known for his design of Central Park in New York. But only some elements of his design were completed. The 1908 Belle Isle Casino building is not a gambling facility; rather, it is used for occasional public events. Highlights of Belle Isle include a botanical garden and the Belle Isle Conservatory(1904). Both the conservatory and the adjacent aquarium were designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, who designed city landmarks such as Cadillac Place and the Ford Rouge Factory. (Wikipedia).



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