Hel Michigan is a fictional mid size city that occupies the north side of the Mackinac straights. It's sister city Haven is on the southern side of the straights across the Mackinac bridge. According to the 2010 census it is home to 201,496 people making it the 103rd largest city in the US between Des Moines Iowa and Modesto California.
Prehistory - 1500s Edit
The area which Hel occupies was Menomini Indian land. Due to its location on the straights it was settled for its access to fish and as an outpost to prevent invasion by the Potowatomi directly south across the straights. Unfortunately much of the history of the Menomini settlement was lost to the ravages of time. What is known is that the settlement consisted of at least 3 separate long term camps which probably were used at different seasons during the year. Due to the swampy nature of the area the Menomini people used above ground burial practices for their dead. It is believed that most of he Menomini dead were offered up as air burial in specially designated cypress groves. Important or Powerful individuals were interred in above ground cairns. A few of these cairns have been identified and remain today.
Early Settlement and Name Edit
In 1661 a Jesuit Catholic mission named St. Ignace was built on the site of modern day Hel. The missionaries began "teaching" the remaining Menomini how to avoid being heathens and executing a pogrom against the Menomini who until this point had been relatively peaceful and welcoming to the newcomers. On September 2nd of 1666 the Mission was utterly destroyed killing all who were on the grounds. An English fisherman by the name of Tomas Helmson who lived on the grounds escaped the conflagration by virtue of being away at the time of the disaster. He fled by boat across the straits to the settlement there. The scene he described is defies beleif:
"I tell ye it were Hel on earth! Flames traced the grounds to the foot and burned inwars with a hunger. It was a flood and an eathquake and lightning storm at the same time! A giant black cat rose out of the water and batted ships like toys! The devil himself stalked as a horned snake devouring those who tried to run! A flaming white bear who was 40 feet tall if he were an inch trampled and destroyed anything or anyone that got near! I heard weapons firing but it was the screams sounding across the water which will ring in my ears as long as I draw breath. It was screams of rage and suffering like the most unholy chorus ever assembled. You may call me a coward for fleeing to this place of safe haven. I will tell you plainly that were I a whit slower I would be as damned as all of the poor souls who were over there."Such a disaster would normally result in investigations and widespread news. Unfortunately the destruction of the St Ignace mission never received widespread attention due to the Great London Fire which happened on the same day. Some paranoid residents have suggested that the two events were related but most consider that mad. When the residents from what would be known thereafter as Haven went across the straights there was no intact remnant of the community that existed. Stones found at the location were blackened or in some cases appeared to be melted. The lake had rushed in and covered the Mission grounds in black soot filled water. By the following spring it was impossible to locate any trace of European influence or presence in the area. The Menomini as a people abandoned the area and were never seen within 100 miles of the location. Due to Mr Helmson's account and a general lack of enthusiasm in rebuilding the mission the area was simply referred to as Hel thereafter.
Fort Scots Edit
Many short lived attempts to settle the Hel area were made but it wasn't until the advent of the war of 1812 when a fort (Ft. Scots) as constructed over the site of the old mission that a permanent settlement was established by the British at the outbreak of the war. With the American forces controlling Haven and Ft. Michilimackinac the British sought to contest access to lake Michigan and Superior by building a fort of their own in the Hel area. Using resources and builders brought down via barge from Sault St Marie the British were able to outfit the fort with an impressive battery of five 36 pound cannons as well as seventeen 24 pound guns. Construction was underway in April 1812 months prior to the formal declaration of war by James Madison with the primary completion of the earthworks and batteries completing 3 weeks after the formal war declaration or war on July 7th 1812. Within a month an expeditionary force of 4000 Americans had massed at Haven to prepare for crossing and laying siege. The crossing coincided with the new moon on September 5th to take advantage of the darker conditions. As the Americans landed the lack of activity from the fort caused the ranking Commander James Miller to risk a portion of his force in testing the defenses of the fort. The Americans arrived to find the fort deserted with the gates open. All provisions and weapons were in place and appear to have not been disturbed for weeks. No sign of the British and Indian force was in evidence. The most likely scenario being that a smaller than anticipated British force fled the larger American force. Commander Miller set 500 of his men to hold the fort with the remainder of his force to proceed overland towards Sault St Marie. This force remained until the cessation of hostilities in 1816. The military portion of the Fort was dismantled and the incorporated town of Hel was born.
Up Through Present Day Edit
While the town of Hel continued to grow it never became a large city. There is little to distinguish it from other Midwest cities of similar size.
Okemos Univeristy Edit
In 1888 Civil War survivor Bradley Cook founded the scientific college of Okemos with the mission statement "To learn more about the world as it is and how it may be". In 1954 the college was renamed to Okemos University. Their colors are orange and black. Their mascot is the Golden Eagle who they have named Charger.
Notable Businesses and Industries Edit
- Great Lakes Metals - Metal smelting and refining of metals. Most of the building is shuttered although part of the plant remains in operation.
- Le Barbe Federal Penitentiary - Along a small peninsula and separated by the moors this is a place for bad people.
Notable Neighborhoods Edit
- The Moors
- Menomini Reservation
- University District
- Industrial District