Mar 05-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: March: Mar 05-06
City of Bangor's inventory    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from Doug and Karen Spaeth
Cleanup operations    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from Doug and Karen Spaeth

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 08:40 am:

A relative of Guest Gallery contributors Doug and Karen Spaeth had a unique experience in the winter of 1926-27. Douglas Houghton Trangmar made the trek with his camera to the north-west shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula to capture these scenes of the aftermath of the City of Bangor shipwreck. Here are a couple of links which fill in the facts - and the legend:

Shipwreck of the City of Bangor
The Pasty Cam Archives

If you've been following the story of how the Pasty Cam began (over on the What'sUP page), you might see a parallel in the roles of Douglas Trangmar in '27 and MTU student Jonathan Hopper in '98. Doug gathered glimpses of life in the U.P. with his 1920's vintage photography equipment, and seven decades later Jon used a digital camera to do the same. Maybe not as profound as the City of Bangor disaster, but even the mundane day-to-day images of life in Upper Michigan have an appeal which touches people of all ages, inviting them to God's Country - virtually and in person.

Our special thanks to Doug and Karen and everyone who invests their time to preserve and share the U.P. photography of previous generations. Please let me know if you have uploaded scenes to the Guest Gallery which fall into this Shoebox Memory category. Pasty Central now serves about 10,000 visitors each day who share the same interest in the history and beauty of this region.

Have a good week :o)
Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 09:06 am:

Looks like I-96 after the pileup in the fog last year!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 09:23 am:

Other than the vintage of the cars, it looks like every morning in the Mpls. St. paul area. Glad we live in the boonies!!!!

By Roy Beauchene (Royb) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 10:06 am:

My father lived in Kearsarge at the time of this wreck. He was 19 years old and he used to tell stories about going down to look at all of the new cars. I believe one of the cars from off of the ship is still in Laurium. It was owned by Jimmy Richetta, who used to own the old Bon Ton resturant in Laurium.

By Erica - Florida Keys (Erica) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 10:10 am:

You always manage to come up with the most interesting pictures! It makes this site really outstanding.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 10:23 am:


By kzoocathy (Loulou) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 12:56 pm:

This is really quite an amazing story!! I have read about it
before! I think the story goes that they just "drove" them off the
ice ?

By Connie, Eagle River Alaska (Connie8792) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 01:31 pm:

Wow, what a story!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 03:13 pm:

My goodness. My dad was in that neck of the woods during the late 20s before the CCC. My mom was only 6 though. Still looks chilly.

By George Kahoun (George) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 03:34 pm:

I have a lot of respect for mother nature and it came from having had the pleasure growing up in the area in the 40's through the late 50's. Just seeing these pics just sparks my imagination of the hardships people faced in those times, those sailors had to have brass buts!

By 69 TOOT (Flyindamooney) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 07:04 pm:

There are a couple of those autos that came up missing in action and are probably still around da UP. Hire 15 year olds to drive them and all kind of possibilities emerge..........Sorry I missed my opportunity...........GREAT STORY
I have an Angelflight to the UP next week and hope weather co-operates.....I love to visit if even for an hour.......See you on the 4th of July

By Ms. Katie (Mskatie) on Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 09:22 pm:

Wow I've never heard that story. What is it all about? My mother would have been maybe a junior or sophmore at Lake Linden High. I know she said the families who had vehicles were able to scavage after a shipwick but grandpa Slattery didn't have one at tha time. Hope someone can tell more even though it's late in this day.Maybe tomorrow.

By Martha Lantz (Wishin2bintheup) on Monday, March 6, 2006 - 10:50 pm:

The City of Bangor has been a familiar name in our family for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Copper Harbor in the house that my father grew up in. My father, William Howard Bergh, would tell about when he was 13 years old he and his father were coming back from the barn on December 1, 1926, when they heard the swishing sound of oil skins. My grandfather knew that it must be a sailor coming because they were the ones who wore oil skins. He also knew there must be trouble. The man, who was with the Coast Guard, told my grandfather that the crew of the Bangor was at "Fred the Swede's" (A local boarding house and tavern). There was not enough room or food for them there because the crew from the steamer, "Maytham" which had run aground at Pt. Isabelle was already there. He asked my grandfather if the crew could stay at his house. My grandfather had just killed two pigs, which they were hoping would get the family through most of the winter until the road to Calumet was passable again (they didn't plow it back then!) and they could get supplies. Well, of course my grandfather said that the crew from the City of Bangor could stay at their house. My father and his younger brother, Albert, were sent to go get the men and lead them the 1/2 mile to our house. He didn't understand why the men could hardly walk and kept falling down. He didn't realize that they had been struggling through the hip-deep snow, brush and swamps for the better part of 2 days. My father said that most of the crew were from the Detroit area, and that they were not dressed for Upper Michigan winter weather. He said that they just had loafer shoes and light weight clothes. Some of the men had taken blankets and torn them into strips and wrapped the strips around their legs. Then the snow got underneith and formed ice against their legs. The men were totally exhausted, dehydrated, hungry and frost bitten. They had seen East Bluff through the blinding snow, and throught it was West Bluff, or Brockway Mountain, and thought they had gone past Copper Harbor. They had walked the wrong direction for several hours. Then when they realized their mistake, had to turn around and retrace their steps. When the 27 men got to the house, they just lay down all over the floor and fell asleep. As they began to thaw out, puddles would accumulate around the men. It was my father's job to mop up around them. My father's older sister helped my grandmother prepare meals for the men. The men stayed for about a week. Then, Captain Tony Glaza of the Coast Guard returned with his boat to take the men to Eagle Harbor and then on to Calumet to the Hospital, but a strong Northeast wind kept him at our dock long enough for the harbor to freeze over for the winter. It was then up to Charlie Maki's sleigh to transport the men to Calumet.

The City of Bangor was a 450-500 ft. car carrier. It had a cargo of new Chryslers. During the Bangor's voyage, the waves whipped 18 cars off the deck and they are probably still somewhere between Copper Harbor and Horseshoe Harbor. In fact, before Lake Superior froze over, the ship was covered in a thick coat of ice. In mid-December, 1926, the rest of the cars were lowered down to the water level (now ice). Teams of horses cleared a road along the ice to Copper Harbor and soon after Christmas, the vehicles were driven to Copper Harbor under their own power and parked for the rest of the winter. My father and grandfather helped drive the cars from the boat to Copper Harbor. As not all the cars had their own batteries, they had to take the battery out once they got it to Copper Harbor and send it back to be put into another car. As next year's Chryslers were already being drawn, it was important that the City of Bangor vehicles be returned to Detroit to be put back on the market as soon as possible--as soon as possible being whenever the road between Copper Harbor and Phoenix could be opened. No attempt was made until March, and even then it took two weeks work for Houghton and Keweenaw County plows, assisted by a unit from Albert Lea, Minnesota, to do the job. This was the first time that US 41 was plowed between Copper Harbor and Phoenix. 400 cars were driven to Calumet between 8-10 ft. high snowbanks. The Chrysler people offered five dollars to every person who drove a car through. There were very few Calumet boys that didn't get out of school to drive a car. By the first of April, all but two cars had been loaded on flatcars and shipped back to Detroit.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, March 7, 2006 - 07:39 am:

Martha, What an interesting story. It reminds me of some of the stories that are told in the Lake Superior magazine. I bet they'd be interested in that one. It kept me hooked. Thanks for sharing.

By Sdcferndale (Sdcferndale) on Tuesday, March 7, 2006 - 12:27 pm:

Did anyone see the History Channel last night at 10:00 PM. Deep Sea Divers I think it was called. They were exploring the old train car carrier I think it was the Milwaukee that sunk late October 1926 with a lot of train cars in Lake Michigan during a terrible storm. All hands were lost. The divers concluded so much water got in the stern and down open hatches which resulted in the sinking. The captain had just come from Michigan to Wisconsin, loaded up and was heading back to Michigan into this storm which equated to a Perfect Storm. It was very interesting to hear the divers' conclusion of why it sank.

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