With the arrival of autumn, this might be an ideal time to visit the fish ladder in Lansing’s Burchard Park. Salmon commonly use such ladders to detour waterfalls and dams while making their way upstream. Understandably, the best time to see these fish is in the early fall, when they are returning to their spawning grounds.
Named after the man who worked to bring trout and salmon to Lansing, the William A. Brenke Fish Ladder was constructed in 1981. Decades before this, the Board of Water & Light built ta dam to generate hydroelectric energy. Fish bypass this dam by jumping through the falling water into a series of ascending pools and continue until they are out of the ladder.
A small power equipment building composed of ashlar stone with limestone details sits above the entrance to the ladder. The building is executed in the Art Deco style popular during its construction in the 1930s and makes repeated use of zig-zag elements that are characteristic of the style. The subtle battering of the corner towers, stepped limestone surrounding the patinaed copper doors and windows and the abstract concrete sculpture surrounded by the ladder all offer echoes of the stair-stepping fishway.
“Eye candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.