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The Great Benzie County Mystery
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Author:  nvanw27 [ Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  The Great Benzie County Mystery

Those of you who have paid attention to my YouTube channel may remember a video I posted back in October of a Whelen WPS-2903 in Thompsonville going off for the weekly test. At the time, I was baffled as to why this tiny town in the middle of nowhere had a siren but the larger towns in the county didn't, so I set out on a quest for information. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I found anything out.
Back in the era of black-and-white photographs and government-issued cheese, Benzie County had a system of small, non-rotational Civil Defense sirens. I don't know who owned or maintained them, all I know is that they existed and there were at least 2 different models used (Connor Fink Model 3, and Darley Champion 2 Horse). There was one siren per town (Frankfort, Elberta, Beulah, Thompsonville, Lake Ann, and Honor all had one), and they were tested every Monday at 6:00 according to a friend of mine. The installations varied - Frankfort's Connor Fink Model 3 is mounted on some support poles usually used on road signs, Honor's Darley Champion 2 HP was on top of the fire department on a roof extension, and Elberta's unknown siren was on a telephone pole.
Elberta's siren on the pole was a later addition to the system, and it replaced a "Horizontal Siren" that was on top of a big brick building at the Marina. Said Horizontal siren was probably a Darley Champion Horizontal, and it apparently imploded itself when it was going off one day. The new siren was installed on a telephone pole (also at the marina) and was tied into the system.
Around 2008 or thereabouts, the system was disbanded, and most sirens were removed. Frankfort's siren stayed up for some unknown reason. Everything else came down, but Thompsonville being the special case that they are, decided that they still wanted to warn their citizens (which is probably the nicest thing they've ever done for that poor town). They bought a Whelen WPS-2903, put it at the DPW office, and programmed it to confuse the crap out of anyone who's tried researching it.
The thing that confuses me the most about this whole thing is why the system was removed, and where it all went. There had to have been a reason for the system to come down. All but one, that is...
Hopefully I can find more about the system someday and share it with everyone. Who knows, maybe the system still exists, just in storage or something.

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