We have an emotional heritage in identifying ourselves as “candle merchants”. Through tens of centuries candles were the primary source of lighting, with tallow merchants providing candles for the community -- Joshua Franklin was a candle merchant in Philadelphia when son Ben was born.
Over the past thousand years the flame of the candle transcended its role as lighting to become a symbol of many of mankind’s higher values: the personal qualities of truth, wisdom, knowledge, learning, remembrance, hope, love, peace and faith; and community qualities of commemoration, unity, liberty and freedom.
There is wholeness in a young family gathered around the supper table with a single candle for light, watching together the gentle falling snow as it accumulates outside on the railing of the empty winter deck. There is love beckoning as the rowboat guides silently toward the nighttime shore from whence a welcoming candle glows in a cabin window. We are called to challenge in the sight of a flame carved above the schoolhouse door, with the inscription: “Enter to learn; Leave to serve”. We share a human connection through the photo of a Prague evening with citizens carrying candles into the street, quietly calling an end to Soviet domination. This is the passion of a life lived with the candle, and why we are candle merchants.
History of the Grand Traverse Regionhr>
In the past the entire region was a fresh-water seabed, but for the past 4,000 years, following the withdrawal of the last glacier, the geology of this region has been stabilizing. Our largely sandy soil and deep bays (600 foot depth off Old Mission harbor) are remnants of past glacial action, and even today land elevations continue a gradual rebound from the weight of the once mile-thick ice. Little is known of early human activity, but it may go back 10,000 years when the glaciers began to recede and hunting began.
The Ottawa Indians (kin to the Chippewa and Potawatomi, and also known as the Odawa) pressed west into the region in the 1600s, centering on the islands of Georgian Bay. By the 1700s a permanent settlement existed north of the present-day Harbor Springs. The Grand Traverse region was largely a hunting and summer garden area for bands of the Ottawa when the first Europeans arrived in the early 1800s, with a Presbyterian mission being established at Old Mission (later at Omena) in the 1840s.
Beyond fur trading, a wooding station on the Manitou Islands, supplying cordwood for the Great Lakes steamers, was the first commercial activity beginning around 1842. The first lumber mill was established by Chicago interests at the present site of Traverse City in 1848, taking timber from the Boardman valley. Tanneries, charcoal kilns and pig-iron smelting were other early activities, all timber related, followed by subsistence farming on the logged-over sandy soil. Cherry trees came with the early settlers and in the late 1800s cherries began to be a serious source of commerce (grape growing for wine did not begin until the 1970s, although they both share the same soil and climatic requirements). By the 1880s lake steamers (and later resort trains) brought summer visitors seeking relief from heat and hay fever. By 1910 the lumbering era was drawing to a close, and the region’s commerce and population went into decline for nearly half a century.
The gradual and beautiful healing of a land ravaged by lumbering, a desire for an invigorated life-style, and the growing capacity to conduct commerce electronically are the bases for the population growth the region witnesses today.
Fire can be beautiful, and fire can be ugly.
6 Simple Steps to Candle Safety (From The National Candle Association)
1) Don’t walk away
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Make sure the candle is completely out and the wick ember is no longer glowing before leaving the room.
2) Secure the Area
Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper and flammable decorations. Keep your hair and loose clothing away from the flame.
3) Keep from Kids and Pets
Make sure children and pets cannot reach burning candles. Do not place lit candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.
4) Avoid Drafts and Vents
Avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting and excessive dripping.
5) Don’t Touch or Move
Never touch or move a candle wile it is burning or while the wax is liquefied.
6) Keep Candles 3" Apart
Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don't melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly