The Hand Hewn Bridge

Matthew Donnellon
4 min readJul 26, 2020

US 23 is one of the prettiest stretches of highway in the country, with most of it hugging Lake Huron on one side and the forest on the other.

I was on my way to Alpena, Michigan easily one of the largest cities past the thumb. Most people are headed there for the Brown Trout Festival at this time of year, but I was going for a different reason. With white caps dotting the water on right, I made my way along the road to one of my favorite cities, and one of my favorite structures.

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Just a stone’s thrown from MidMichigan Medical Center, Mike Kendziorski built the bridge with his sons, with the structure connecting Island Park to the nearby Duck Park, and unveiled in 2015. The bridge is hand hewn and it is one of my favorite places to go. You can rent canoes or kayaks and circumnavigate the island, or take the terrestrial route, which also allows dogs.

This bridge is really something else. It’s a monument to craftsmanship of years past. The handiwork is everywhere on the bridge.

Author’s photo

In the photo above you can clearly see the marks left by the axe. Instead of using a mill to create dimensional lumber, the crafts men chops off each side to turn a round log into a square piece that he can then use at the structure. Each piece of wood on this bridge had to take hours on work, as every piece was built by hand.

The craftsmanship isn’t the only thing about this place I like.

It’s also one of the best places in the state to take pictures and every one knows, that what’s most important.

What fun is seeing something cool if you can’t share with thousands of your closest friends on Instagram.

For instance this is one of my favorite shots.

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Matthew Donnellon

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.