Spring is quickly approaching and island resident Don “Duck” Andress the master craftsman who hand-makes the 238 wooden flower boxes that line the Front Porch each season is very busy. Duck works throughout the winter repairing old and crafting new boxes. Once they are together, the boxes are then taken to the Pontiac Room to be painted and lined. From there they go to storage to await the thousands of flowers that will be planted in them come spring.
At first glance, the finished flower boxes appear to be all the same shape and size. However, closer inspection will show you that each box has a number on it. This tells the grounds crew exactly where the box is to be placed on the porch and in front of the hotel. Because the porch curves and the boxes must fit between the columns, many of the boxes are of a different shape and size. This takes some pretty precise measuring and knowledge of where each box must fit and Duck knows it all.
Duck also makes beautiful hand-carved walking sticks and has one that he presented in person to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian. If you have ever attended a holiday parade on Mackinac may have seen Duck leading the way in full Indian dress. He is a direct descendant of Chief Mackinac who was a Chippewa Chief in the Mackinac area around 1740.
We feel privileged to have this celebrated master craftsman as our carpenter and friend, and we hope that if you happen to meet Don “Duck” Andress the next time you are on Mackinac that you will take a moment to tell him what a wonderful job he does.