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A 2018 photo of Lake Michigan at sunset. The bright setting sun is surrounded by an orange horizon and just touches the dark waters of the lake. Image Credit: Jeff Green

"We named it Nik-o-nong, which was derived from two Algonquin words nik (sunset) and o-ni-gis, (beautiful). . . .

"Ki-ja-Man-i-to (the Great Spirit) . . . planted in saw-kaw (the forests) along the shore the most beautiful woodland flowers that ever bloomed on Earth; and filled all the trees with birds that sang the sweetest songs that ever fell on mortal ears. . . .

"South Haven of the white man, with all its shipping docks and cottage crowned hills, does not in beauty compare with Nik-o-nong of the red man with its deep wild woods, its bark canoes and wigwamed shores."

– Simon Pokagon, Algonquin Legends of South Haven, 1900

Potawatomi Chief Simon Pokagon (1830-1899) was an early advocate for Native American civil rights and known for his books and writings on Potawatomi traditions. He was the son of Chief Leopold Pokagon, who secured Michigan land rights for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. The Potawatomi village of Nik-o-nong lay between the Black River and Lake Michigan. Modern South Haven grew in the same location.

A late 1890s black-and-white engraving of Simon Pokagon. Wearing a dark suit jacket with wide lapels and vest, he has short, dark hair, dark eyes, large ears and a slightly jutting chin. Simon Pokagon. Image Credit: Benjamin Flowers, The Arena . Vol. XVI, 1896


Lift me out of my laboring day
Lift me up to the blue and away
And let me discover my own horizon line,
Then drop me back to my work and play
And the far ends of the world in my day shall shine."

– Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr., Wind and Weather , 1919

Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr. (1858-1954) grew up in South Haven, where his father operated the area's first commercial fruit orchard. The younger Baily graduated from Michigan Agricultural College and became Dean of the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell. His efforts to bring the science of botany into the art of horticulture earned him the name 'Father of Modern Horticulture.' Internationally known for his scientific writing about plants, he also wrote poetry about nature and being fully present in the moment. Visit the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, located in his South Haven childhood home, and explore its gardens and nature trail.

An early 1900s black-and-white photo of Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr. Baily sits at a desk with shelves of books behind him. Looking directly at the viewer he wears round wire-rimmed glasses and a serious expression. Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr. Image Credit: Liberty Hyde Baily Museum

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