Called Bellow Island on Google Maps, this island is located a little over one mile offshore of Northport Bay, which sits inside of Grand Traverse Bay. Two stone chimneys remain standing in the home once built there, giving the island its iconic look. The Leelanau Conservancy preserved the Island as a bird sanctuary in 1995. Click here to learn more about the overall history of the island to read an overall history or here to read about an escaped German Prisoner of War used it as a hide-a-way.
Click Here to See Gull Island’s connection to Woolsey Airport, located north of Northport near Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
I have some personal history with Gull Island.
The story is that my father owned a Pepperidge Farm bread distributorship at the time. I was about 12 years old or so and my brother would have been 15. It was a regular occasion that my dad would bring out-of-date bread that could not be sold in the store, and that was our bread for the family. Considered “stale” to sell, it was still good for us to eat. Well, one particular time (close to the 4th of July weekend if I remember correctly), my dad had overstocked the shelves to ensure that the stores did not run out of break over the busy weekend. Less bread was sold than anticipated so we had too much stale bread for a family of 4 to eat.
So, my brother Steve had this great idea. Let’s feed the gulls on the island! So, we piled this huge mound of stale bread in the back of our boat and headed out to the island. It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds — absolutely overwhelming. They descended on us and the boat and I screamed for my brother to “HIT IT” and get us out of there. The birds pursued us with vigor. We were able to get far enough away from the Island to dump the load of bread without being attacked, and it was mission accomplished!
Click here to see a video of me telling this story. Check out other blog articles from Sander here!