July 16-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: July: July 16-06
Marking 40 years    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roger Peterson
Remembering the tragedy    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roger Peterson
Ruth Ann Miller    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roger Peterson

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 08:20 am:

This week's Sunday Shoebox Memory is dedicated to the memory of a little girl at the center of a tragic lesson for the Copper Country, which occurred 40 years ago today. The placard at the site tells the story, a sad chapter in the history of Upper Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

Our thanks to Roger Peterson for a very moving collection of photos from the memorial site.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 08:24 am:

Wonderful memorial!

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 09:28 am:

wow. what a great memorial. brought tears to my eyes I will bookmark this page so we remember to visit this memorial on our next visit to the copper country.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 09:39 am:

Been there. It's sad but comforting at the same time. Be sure to e-mail Roger for directions. I never would have found it without his help and I lived there half of my life AND when the tragedy occurred.

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 09:44 am:

Deb s.
thank you for the heads-up on how to find this spot. you mentioned you grew up there. do you know the balowaara's,weijola or meneguzzo's?

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 10:30 am:

Thanks, Mikie, love you too.

Joanne, No, those names don't ring a bell but will ask my parents who have lived there their whole lives. I have these same pictures of this gravesite by the way. It's an awesome place and I hope you can find it. It's easy with Roger's directions.

I do know some Belo's. Don't know if it's shortened from Belowaara. I went to school with a Robert Belo. Know him?

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 10:36 am:

Went to school with Ruth Ann's father and a friend of her Aunt Shirley....and I played cards for years with her Grandmother Miller.....wonder if there are other abandoned shafts that are a danger...what a terrrible tragedy.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 10:41 am:

I remember when this happened. I was 7 years old.It was a nationwide news story. Mine Captian Bill Langdon Sr, was lowered into the shaft to search until he was hit by falling debris. It was impossible to get further down so they had to abandon search.It seemed like the whole community at the time was truamatized by this tragic event. It was like she was part of everyones immediate family.

By William M. Jacka Sr. (Bama) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 10:57 am:

Bernard Shute, the former owner of Shute's Bar in Calumet at the time was Chief of the Calumet Fire Department. I interviewed and recorded Bernie a year ago on the events and occurrences that were on his watch and this event was highlighted. Will be following up on more information as Bernie spends his days, weekly in the summer in Eagle Harbor.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 11:15 am:

that was indeed a tragic event.

From what I've read and heard, there were and are quite a few mine shafts that have not been found and covered...or were covered with timbers and are now overgrown with brush, etc...and of course the timbers are now soft and rotted.

There is one on M26 between Firesteel River and Twin Lakes that is right next to the highway. There is a fence around it now....I saw the fence one day and stopped so I could figure out what it was...and it says mine shaft

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 11:18 am:

Bama.....if you are interested in preserving some of the history of the area...do you know Mike Medved of Calumet?....He is a "treasure of knowledge". He is 96 yrs old and sharp as can be. He was a C & H miner all his life..at a young age he was working in a mine with his father and saw his father fall to his death......Mike recently moved to senior housing in Calumet. He is a swetheart.......and he loves to talk about the history of the area...

By Margo (Margo) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 12:35 pm:

A beautiful memorial. Such a tragic event. I'm speechless.

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 12:49 pm:

my maiden name has been changed a few times. infact it began as palovaara was changed to balowaara and then shortened to waara. I don't believe belo is another branch but I will look into it. If your parents grew up in the calumet area I am sure they would know "the Balowaara's. this was a big family. they had a dairy farm in centennial heights.

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 12:52 pm:

mary lou.
sure wish I lived closer to calumet. I would sure love to speak with mr. medved. I bet he would be a wealth of info.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 12:58 pm:

Okay Joanne, Will check.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 02:16 pm:

There are hundreds of abandoned shafts, exploration pits, and adits in the Copper Country. Some were capped like Tamarack #4, others were fenced off, and still others were bulldozed in. Mine sites are also laced with various utility trenchs, sumps, and outhouse pits. Always look down when you are in a mining area. Despite all efforts to locate and fill the holes, some old ones reopen, new ones open, and there are probably some from the 1800's that have not been located yet. Never assume your next step will be on solid ground around an old mine site. We were up in Eagle River for vacation when Ruth Ann was lost in #4, it was a tragedy that gripped the whole Copper Country.

By Therese (Therese) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 04:21 pm:

A sad story! A few years ago I was hiking in deep powder through an old farm site, now reverting to forest, and walked into an open cistern that was filled with snow. As I went down I caught the rim and managed to crawl out one handed -- the other arm was in a cast following surgery. I shook for an hour. I called the folks from the local DNR office and reported it, and it was filled in by the Pellston fire department. If you know where there are open shafts, cisterns, wells or foundations on state land contact the DNR; they want them all capped or filled in.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 05:21 pm:

Dr. Nat and I lived just a short distance from Tamarack #4 in Red Jacket. We used to go on a lot of evening walks past the site and pull up weeds and such from around the area. A very real reminder of the importance of being safe around mine sites....

Mr. Meier is very correct in that there are many hundreds of pits, shafts, adits, and other mining disturbances around the Peninsula. A lot are marked and/or capped in some form, but there are also A LOT that growed over with 120+ years of tress and brush, so you may walk right over an opening and not even realize it!!!

By Budone (Budone) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 07:30 pm:

How true it is about unknown mines. West on Poyhonen Road which I have been down more times than I can count, all of a sudden last year, there was a fence around a mine shaft I had no idea of.

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 07:35 pm:

Here is a flooded one from the 1840's on the Lake Superior Mines leased properties. A circular horse whim is nearby.


By Matt Fobear (Mfobear) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 07:40 pm:

Thank You for this very solemn posting. I will be visiting the area next month with my 4 children who've never been up there and aren't familiar with the history of the area (one of them is my eight year old daughter). I'd heard the story and been to the site, but I'd forgotten about it in recent years. I got choked up reading it again.

I made sure all of them (who can read) read the story and know how important it is to stay away and not screw around when they see things like this.

Again, Thank You for this.

By David J. Whitten (Djwhitten) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 08:29 pm:

I was up there, as a high schooler, with my parents, to witness the rescue attempts. My uncle Russ Nelson was called in from his retirement from C & H to offer advice. I remember seeing Ruth Annís mom watching the work from her front porch.
This vivid memory has me visiting the site each year when I return to the area.
Dave Whitten

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 09:30 pm:

my family and I were in the UP last summer and walked many of miles taking in the beauty. we also visited some abandoned mines. never once thinking about the dangers.......I am sure I will think about them tonight as I try to sleep.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 09:49 pm:

Mr Bill..What is a circular horse whim?.....

By allen philley (Allen) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 - 10:10 pm:

A post or spool on an axis/swivel with a pole extending outward. The horse would be tied to the end of the pole and walk in a circle . this would wind a rope on the spool that could lift items from a shaft. Mr. Bill howlarge was the circle? were there other traces of this venture?

By Bonnie Hartman (Bonniehartman) on Monday, July 17, 2006 - 12:45 am:

I was 11 years old when Ruth Ann Miller fell into the mine shaft. I remember being afraid. I spent many a day crawling around the "ruins" of the Gay Stamp Mill as a child. Although there were no mine shafts there, I wondered if THAT could happen to me. I remember saying a prayer for her at bedtime for a long time.

By Steve Haagen (Radsrh) on Monday, July 17, 2006 - 01:06 am:

There is a on line site that has maps to abandoned mines in the area, as will as what to do if you find one. http://www.mg.mtu.edu/mining/ab.htm

By Theresa Meyers-Green (Fweetie) on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 01:32 pm:

Wow...it has been so very long since i have thought about Ruthann, but reading this made it all come back, was a very hard time then. i went to shcool with her family. growing up i swam with my siblings in the mine shaft on top of Quincey hill. never thinking of any danger. thanks for the reminder, she should never be forgotton.

By Danny cunningham (Uporbust) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 04:30 am:

All I can say is that I am glad I have found and made Calumet my home with all the wonderful, caring, honest people there.
I am not looking forward to the end of my life but when it comes I am glad that I will be with the best people on earth and in the most beautiful place God has made for us.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, April 5, 2009 - 06:28 pm:

Ruth, I left a virtual flower posting for you at http://www.findagrave.com Rest in Peace with the Holy Trinity.

By Tim Hoganson (Thog) on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 01:55 pm:

I remember this well. The girl was my age; born the same year. I remember the suffering the rescue personnel experienced as their efforts were to no avail.

How many dangers of this nature are out there around the country, not just in the U.P.?

Powered by:  
Join Today!
Each day the Pasty Cam has 2 areas to post messages: 
  • Cam Notes - comments related to today's picture and discussion
  • What'sUP - other topics, conversation and announcements
  • *** Please use the appropriate forum ***
    Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours
    See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

    Add a Message

    A user/password combination is now required to post messages to Cam Notes. Registration is free. Click here to register or maintain your I.D.

    Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Past-E-Mail | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions