Feb 11-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: February: Feb 11-07
As seen in 1959    ...scroll down to share comments
From the MTU Archives
As seen this weekend    ...scroll down to share comments
From the MTU Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:51 am:

By now you've probably discovered that the Lift Bridge Cam has been restored to full operation. When this high resolution web cam was first installed almost 5 years ago, I remember Jonathan said it would probably only last about a year before quitting entirely. Somehow he was able to restore it - after a long rest (sorry) - again to bring the clearest picture of current conditions in the Copper Country.

The top photo from the MTU Archives is one of the best views of the old swing bridge which used to span the canal. One of my favorite facts about about the days when toll was extracted to get across the canal, comes from Kevin Musser's excellent Three Spans over the Portage:

Passengers and sheep, 5 cents
Saddle horses, 20 cents
Working wagons with double team, 40 cents
Working wagons with single team. 20 cents
Cattle and mules, 15 cents
Hogs, 10 cents
Another exciting episode in the colorful history of Lift Bridge came on the day before it opened:

On June 24, 1960, the day before the official dedication, the steamer J.F. Schoellkopf almost collided with the crossing. Captain Albert Wilhelmy reported that he sounded the whistle signal for the bridge to open, but it never did. Reacting quickly he ordered the engines reversed and dropped anchor. Unfortunately for the people of Hancock, the anchor became entangled in two of six Michigan Bell telephone cables that crossed the bottom of the channel. The steamer ran aground in shallow water, and telephone service was cut off to 1,000 customers in and around Hancock. The bridge operator said he never heard the signal. The steamer was soon cut loose from the cables, towed back into the channel, and continued her journey.
...from Michigan.gov "US-41/Portage Lake"
If you have crossed the bridge in the past couple of months, you have no doubt noticed the new structure being built right about where the old swing bridge used to sit, on the Hancock side. Wonder if any of our Guest Gallery photographers have any shots of the construction?

Have a good week :o)
AČ in Cedar Bay (Andytofu) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 05:36 am:

Good morning from Cedar Bay. Temperature is around 9° and the forecast is more snow. Snowmobilers and other winter sports enthusiasts are happy, as are motels and restaurants. My resident deer come to feed on my contributions every evening at 7 p.m. or so and around 6 in the morning. I give them a bowl of deer feed and one of sunflower seeds which they seem to enjoy. We plan to look at the MTU snow statues this afternoon. Hope we don't freeze to death.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:19 am:

I love the historic Pictures, even though 1959 was not that long ago in the whole scope of things. All I remember is the Portage Lift Bridge on its own and I have always loved it.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:44 am:

I have been just staring at that old picture for minutes. I cannot for the life of me remember that other bridge and I would have been 7. It looks as if it went right up the hill to Hurontown and Dodgeville. It definitely was a simpler setup. That's a great story about the steamer taking out the telephone lines. Thank goodness it didn't run into the bridge. Thanks for the memories, Charlie.

By NKR (Nkr) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:58 am:

Good morning from Mishawaka IN. Great pictures today. I now know why I don't remember the lift bridge when my family came up to Copper Harbor around 1956 or 57. We crossed over on the old bridge. Are the pictures above from the same side of the canal? Cloudy here this morning and 10°.

By Grace M Wetton (Gmw) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:58 am:

Great picture of the old bridge. My mother was on a span while the bridge was opening to leave a ship go thru. She didn't realize it until the span starting to swing out into the channel. I guess that's why she had a fear for water, possibly falling off the span or not being able to get off the bridge.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 09:10 am:

NKR, I think the 2nd shot is looking toward Hancock. The first shot is definitely looking at Houghton but you can not see the old Houghton High School in the second shot. Just that little building as you turn toward Ripley.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 09:15 am:

I vaguely remember the old bridge. There was a traffic signal light at the intersection too, on the Houghton side, if I'm remembering correctly.

One of the only ones in the UP at the time...for sure in Houghton, Ontonagon, Baraga, and Keweenaw counties :)

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 09:34 am:

Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper):
"It looks as if it went right up the hill to Hurontown and Dodgeville."

It did exactly that, right up Bridge Street, in fact, connecting to Military Road through Hurontown and on to Dodgeville.

That last block on Bridge Street between Shelden Avenue and Montezuma was a bit of a thriller too, especially in the winter. Steep? Oh yea!

By Tom Karjala (Tom) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 09:51 am:

In today's shot of the bridge you will note that the old Houghton High School is gone. It was razed some years ago after the new high school was built up on the hill.

By kathie Murto (Murtomania) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:09 am:

I'll be crossing over the bridge on Wednesday afternoon, would you like me to get pictures of the new structure? I would be happy to get them. 3 days until I travel to the UP, I can't wait!!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:35 am:

Thanks FRNash, I remember being terrified going up that hill as a kid. I used to work at UP Power, and coming down that hill by the Douglas House used to scare the crap out of me in the winter too. It seemed they never sanded that thing and you just prayed you were able to stop at the bottom. Oh the good old days, eh?

By Tom Karjala (Tom) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 11:38 am:

At the top of Bridge St. was a cross street named Baraga ST. We called it the Baraga bumps and drove our cars over it as fast as we could. Almost airborn. People in the car thought it pretty much fun. CC roller coaster.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 12:48 pm:

My goodness, you were "up & at'em" this morning, 4:51 am, Charlie! Thank you for the history on the Lift Bridge & its sidekick. And thank you for getting the Bridge Cam back up & running! My son, a 4th year MTU student, has been really impressed with the Lift Bridge the first time he saw it, when we were up there in early April, before his freshman year.

I had wondered how people got from Houghton to Hancock before the Lift Bridge was built. It sounds like no one was injured in the steamer incident, which is good to hear. How long did it take to get the phones back up?

What are they building next to the bridge, now?

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 01:37 pm:

Strangely, I have no recollection whatsoever of the bridge ever
looking other than it does right now...but then, I'm not a very visual
person. I do remember my cousin Judy telling me that she and her
friend Lillian were stuck on the bridge when a boat was coming
through and had to run for it and jump to safety.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 01:51 pm:

You shoulda see the first generation bridge!
(Haven't we seen one or more picture(s) of the first one here on PastyCam?)

The two in the first picture above are the second and third (current) generation!

To me, crossing even the second generation bridge (on the left, above) was a tad scary! - I never saw the first one in person, I may be old, but not that old!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:01 pm:

Re Bridge history:
See the following link: Portage Lake Bridge History,
found on the City Of Hancock web site.

By JoAnne, Washington State (Davejostef) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:04 pm:

So, am I reading this right, that a NEW bridge is going up? Wow. Hadn't heard about that. Pictures and info, PLEASE! Thanks!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:12 pm:

JoAnne, Washington State (Davejostef):
"So, am I reading this right, that a NEW bridge is going up?"

Noooo, not a new bridge - apartments/condos!
(Checking for more info on the City of Hancock web site...)

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:16 pm:

Kathie, I'd love to see some pictures!!! Wish I was going with ya, lucky! (sigh)

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:25 pm:

Re new bridgeside construction:
The quick answer, from The Hancock City Manager's Report


"...Canal Crossing, LLC, 21-unit, 4 Floor Condo starts."

yet another item found on the City Of Hancock web site.

Come on, folks, we have some really fantastic web sites in the ol' Copper Country, ya jes' gotta look around - it's amazing what a wealth of information and local history you'll find!
Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:42 pm:

Here's a picture of the old bridge from the Shoebox Memories album in my Guest Gallery. The words under the picture were handwritten on the back of the postcard (and dated 1905). https://pasty.com/pcam/album/albuu76/Portage_Lift_collapse.sized.jpg

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:45 pm:

OK, so the words didn't show up! Here they are: The draw of the P.L. Bridge was knocked over by the Northern Wave freighter coming from Duluth. Saturday afternoon, April 15, 1905" (handwritten caption from photo back"

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:58 pm:

I remember back to 1959.My sister worked at Central Food then and I would ride to and fro with Dad.

I'am not sure what the year was when after some event such as a carnival or circus at Tech, they were packing up to move on to the next show,and one of the trucks lost it's brakes going down Bridge St.Need I say more then it was a mess at the Bridge.I was there at the time with Dad and Sis at the age of 7 or 8.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 03:07 pm:

Yet more on the new bridgeside construction:

Click ® A Second Condominium for Hancock includes pictures

Yet another item found on the City Of Hancock web site (Recent News & Events).

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 03:45 pm:

I have several old pictures in my guest gallery album of the new bridge with the old and the new bridge being built plus a few scattered ones and antique post cards of the old bridge alone. Page 3 and a few in page 2.

I remember that "Baraga Bumps" also!
My Aunt & Uncle lived right on Bridge Street near that steep section. I always asked "My God how do you stop at the bottom in the winter?" It was always more scary going down then up! However some of the old 6 cylinder and 4 cylinder cars/trucks had everything they could do to make it up! Along came the new OHV V8s and then not much problem going uphill! Always had to keep them in low going up or down!

By Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:10 pm:

Pictures still needed!!
With the Guest Gallery unavailable during the upgrade, I'm hoping some of you out there will email me if you might have a few pictures of the Snow Statues to share. You can send pictures to me at: mdrew@pasty.com....thanks for your help! :->

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:18 pm:

those hills were what convinced me to never buy a standard transmission car...
More than one time going backwards 20 feet before that baby whined to go forward....

Although, when we were in high school, we used to go down a hill over in Hancock..can't remember the name but it was someplace between the high school and what was then Suomi College...we started at the top, then slammed on the brakes and whipped the wheel and did donuts as fas as possible or until we got stuck in the snowbank...great fun but a few dents.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:28 pm:

I just want to thank you all for sharing your thoughts and memories on the Cam Notes. I have learned so much about the UP from all of you. There's no way I could have found all of this information any other way!

By Mary Geshel (Maryll) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:43 pm:

Charlie: Thank you so much for the walk down memory lane. I remember going over this with my mom and dad in our Ford Model-A. I doubt if the cars and trucks of today would even fit in both lanes. We didn't have many cameras at that time, and so didn't have any pictures of this. I really loved the walk back in time. I to remember the Van Ordan Hill. Boy, it was scary going up it, but really frightening coming down in the Winter. Again, Thanks

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 05:22 pm:

Davesou--I'll second the motion on not having a standard transmission vehicle on those hills, especially in the winter! My first trip up there in the winter (ok, technically spring, in early April) 2003. We had really nice weather on Friday & Saturday that weekend, but overnight Saturday night, we got 6 to 8 inches of snow in Houghton & Hancock. My son & I drove home on Sunday morning. I was surprised that about the only roads that were plowed in Houghton when we left that morning, at least that we went near, were US 41 & those on the Mich Tech campus. The roads on the hills had not been touched yet. I made a mental note to self then that a manual transmission was a really bad idea, at least for the UP. Those hills are as steep as those in San Francisco, in my humble opinion.

We also met our first Yooper snow plow, near Ishpeming on that trip, on the way home. US 41 had not even been plowed over in that neck of the woods. We had no clue what to expect, & we were met with a big surprise, to say the least. That snow plow (he was going west, while we were headed east) threw the snow, mixed with mud, slush, & who knows what else, up & over the roof & the hood, etc., of my 4WD Suburban, & totally covered its entire windshield, so that you could not see anything out of it. (My son was driving, so that was really an experience for us both. My husband stayed home with our two younger sons that trip.) Our snow plows down here in mid-Michigan consist of a single plow blade, attached to the bottom of a dump truck that is capable of putting down salt, where they want it to. Some of the plow blades down here can throw the snow up in the air a little ways, but nothing close to the UP plows. Needless to say, there is no such thing as a snow plow that can throw the snow mixture up & over a 4WD SUV.

(Our first trip to Copper Harbor was in 1980, before our sons were born, in the summer, as were all subsequent trips until my oldest son decided to go to MTU, when he graduated from high school in 2003.)

By a m hill (Lvcamnotes) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 05:54 pm:

both shots are looking towards houghton. i
remember riding my bike across the swing bridge
to the mining gazette in houghton with the
weekly newspaper collections in the mid-50's --
and walking when biking was more work than

By Grace M Wetton (Gmw) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 07:34 pm:

David S.-I believe the hill you were refering to was Ryan St. directly behind the now Hancock Middle School. My grandma & step-grandpa lived in a little green one-story house (no driveway or garage) right behind the school. I remember
when I was little, my Dad would give them a ride home after visiting and he would get to their house and slide backwards down the hill into a snowbank because of the hill not sanded, talk about scary!!!

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:23 pm:

GMW: I think I remember that little green house too as I went to that school for a short while. As I recall it was then elementary thru high school? (40s)

By Happy to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:44 pm:

David Soumis (Davesou) In Ontonagon, we have a brand new bridge the old swing bridge has been taken apart. Ontonagon County is the only county in the state of MI that doesn't even have a 3 way traffic light (red, yellow and green one!)!
Life is great in the U.P.! Anyone who has lived UP here knows exactly what I am talking about!

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:51 pm:

Now that BridgeCam is working, I'm studying the picture closely, and the Ramada Inn sign doesn't look like a Ramada Inn sign anymore. Has it been changed?

By Grace M Wetton (Gmw) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:52 pm:

I don't recall Keweenaw County having a 3-way light either.

By Happy to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 08:58 pm:

If my memory serves me right. I do believe there is a 3 way traffic light in Calumet. So there is one in Keweenaw County. Its on the corner where you turn to go to the Pamida/Pat's Foods stores.

By Grace M Wetton (Gmw) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 09:10 pm:

HAPPY TO BE IN THE U.P.-sorry to correct you, but Keweenaw County dosen't start until you have reached Copper City (farther north)

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:00 pm:

Here are a few shots I received today, the first two taken by R.C. Wetton and the aerial from Neil Harri.
by RCW
by RCW
by E. Neil Harri

By Fran in GA (Francesinga) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:03 pm:

I remember the other bridge. It was very close to Tony Bukovich's Bar which was right on the corner. I remember walking across it. Some of the boards were in rather bad shape and it was a little scary.My friend and I used to spend the weekend at her aunts house on the corner in Hurontown. We had to catch our ride early and we would TRY to make it down Bridge Hill without falling on our tail ends. The day it was dedicated my soon to be husband I went. We had to park way down the road in Ripley. We walked across the bridge and back and then up the stairs there by the wall in Hancock. He was wore out!!!LOL They issued a memorial Souvineer(sp?) Coin. I gave it to my grandson when he was little for his "treasure" box. It was in June and a very hot day.

Tom and Russ,I was one of thse who frequented the Baraga bumps also. It was fun.Fran

By Fran in GA (Francesinga) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:38 pm:

I don't know about anyone else but I don't think much of all the building(especially Condo's) going on along the lake shore. Another few years and you won't be able to see the water.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 11:42 pm:

it looks as if the windows will be facing away from the bridge, so it will be a pretty nice view looking long ways down the Portage.

Now if someone would offer me a job up there, I'll surely move into one of those, although I agree it would be so much better to make it into a park or something like that.

Its being built by Moyle ... are they selling units yet?

By Happy to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 06:39 am:

Grace M Wetton (Gmw) Thank you Grace for correcting me. No problem at all! Thanks

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 07:55 am:

Fran, It's not so much the building going on but the fact that so many of the trees have grown so tall that you take the circle tour and can't see the lake anyway. It's really not such a great view anymore and I think that's sad. Even from Ripley to Lake Linden there's not much of a view because of the trees. The DNR or somebody has to do something about this if they want to keep the tourists coming and taking the circle tours also. Why take them if you can't see the lake? That's what everybody wants to see.

By YooperGal (Daryl) on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 03:05 pm:

I had to get a picture from the same spot.


doug 6540 (Cwo) on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 10:50 am:

These bridge photos brought back SO many memories.
As kids we would run out onto the bridge in our swim suits and jump off the bridge before the Houghton Village Police arrived. The traffic lite in Houghton also revived memories of "Pasty" Richards of the Houghton Police, who would sometimes direct traffic when the lite went out. He would become so flustered when the cars became snarled, he'd just disappear, letting the traffic jam straighten itself out and leaving many frustrated drivers just sitting there.AH! only in the Copper Country! Ya gotta love it....

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