May 20-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: May: May 20-07
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Old Postcards
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Old Postcards

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 06:46 am:

HoraceIn the 1850's when New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley made popular the phrase "Go West, young man!" he was referring to the Copper Boom in the Keweenaw Peninsula. He recognized early on that the mineral-rich land would become a center of commerce, employment, and opportunity for tens of thousands of settlers to this remote region. (Did you know that Detroit is closer to Washington, D.C. than to Houghton?)

Greeley was an 1872 Presidential Candidate
These old postcard images remind us of those glory days when the Copper Country was powered by that boom in population created by the mines. I'm always amazed at the historic census figures for the area. We live about 30 miles north of Houghton - Hancock in Eagle River, Keweenaw's county seat. I've read that the population around this town was up to 7,000 back in the 1800's, but when we moved here in 1988, there were less than 35 full-time residents.

If you're new to Pasty Central, you may not even know about the role these delicious meat and potato pies had in providing nourishment for those miners and their families. Hope you can join us this summer for Pasty Fest, coming in little more than a month from now, where you can taste one for yourself. Along the way, you'll pass right through the valley in today's Shoebox Memory, over the Lift Bridge, on up US-41 to Calumet.

Speaking of the Portage Canal Lift Bridge, our webcam page, featuring sights around the Keweenaw Peninsula, now includes the Radar Base Cam, which happens to be located on Mt. Horace Greeley, one of the highest points in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

By the way, we're down to the last few days of voting for your favorite Michigan food. Be sure to cast your ballot for the pasty!

Have a good week :0)
Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:10 am:

Sam Hill is another name most people also don't associate with the copper country. I have even seen the name Ulysees S. Grant on property on a Keweenaw county section map from the late 1880's.

By Bruceh (Bruceh) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:13 am:

charlie, what is the current status of the former radar base ?

By s. dearing (Geebeed) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:38 am:

The old postcards are great! Thanks for showing them!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:40 am:

These old pictures are some of my favorites from pasty. I barely remember there being a train station in Houghton so I absolutely love that first shot. Everything is very interesting.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 09:25 am:

I love seeing the old train station post card! When was that picture taken, Charlie?

Also, where is Mt Horace Greely? That's one that I have miss in my past trips to Copper Country.

By June A. Peterson (Jap) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 10:32 am:

If I'm not mistaken, the old train station in Houghton is now the Medical Arts Building. It's great to see these old buildings living "new" lives!

By Heikki (Heikki) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 10:38 am:

By (Marianne):
Also, where is Mt Horace Greely?

Mt. Horace Greely is located just west of Lake Gratiot. It's the site of the former Calumet Air Force Station.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 10:47 am:

The post card of the train station looks like a painting to me......and a very good one at that, with detail on the order of Norman Rockwell's work. (The various lighting intensity is one of the giveaways.)

By Brian R. Juntikka (Polkatime) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 10:59 am:

Copper Range quit passenger service in November of 1946 but the Milwaukee Road apparently continued to provide passenger service along the Copper Range route until about 1950 or 1951. As a kid (in both Atlantic Mine and South Range), I grew up along the Copper Range Railroad track, but I was born in 1953 and by then, the passenger trains (and steam engines) were gone.

But the Copper Range Depot building in Houghton was still a busy place when I was young. The dispatchers office was located upstairs in that building as well as railroad telephone and telegraph. Business offices were located on the first floor.

I still lament the loss of a railroad in central Houghton County. I believe that the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad and Michigan DOT railbank could be induced into rebuilding the track to Hancock should industry require it. That can come from either the end of track outside of Chassell or from McKeever Junction along the former Copper Range route. If the price of copper increases to the point where mining or exploration becomes feasable, a railroad would definately be needed again.

Brian R Juntikka

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 11:34 am:

The comment about the one postcard looking like a painting is partially true. These old cards started out as black & white photos, which were then sent to one of several German firms who would colorize them with oil washes. Once the colorized photo was complete it was converted into a plate or plates for the color printing process. The night scene was probably made in the 1900 - 1913 period.
The heart of the Copper Country was once laced with railroad tracks owned by both common carriers and the mining companies. During the boom years, you couldn't go very far without encountering a rail crossing or a train.

By Ray & Chris (Ray) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 11:54 am:

I've always thought that this postcard of the Copper Range Passenger Depot spoke volumes of what life was like in Copper Country's hay days - not how hard life was but the vitality, as noted in Charlie's comment about population then and now. Also, I didn't see anyone else note that this picture is also featured on my second favorite Copper Country web site: Kevin Musser has a terrific site called Copper Range Railroad located at You can also use the link on Paste Central's home page.


By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 12:14 pm:

These old pictures of the area fascinate me. Just knowing my family was running around those same spots at the time, only wish I got to hear more stories.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 12:46 pm:

I remember boarding the train at this station in Houghton in 1957 and rode it to Chicago,then transferred and rode to Toledo to catch a freighter SS.CRIPSIN OGLEBAY for fitout that year.Sure was a great feeling sitting in the dining car with the people all enjoying lunch as we drove thru Indiana..
In my files I have pictures of 240 depots in the Upper Peninsula that I am more than willing to send JPEG to any Pasty cam viewer.. I am

By Daveofmohawk (Daveofmohawk) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 01:00 pm:

I don't know what year the Milwaukee Road ended passenger service to Calumet but they were still operating into the 1960's; I lived just a few blocks from the old Calumet train station and walked by it to and from school every day. I don't recall what time the train got into Calumet but they left every evening at about 6:00 p.m.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 01:02 pm:

The old radar base was formerly used as the "Keweenaw Academy", an educational facility for troubled youth, which closed a couple of years ago. Back in 2002 Pasty.NET brought wireless Internet service to the Keweenaw Peninsula by way of the base. The words I am typing now will flow through that relay as soon as I hit the 'post' button.

In this photo you can see how it looked when the radar facility was fully operational. The second view reveals how it is today, from the reverse angle. The building on the left with the tall tower previously was capped with a dome. This is where the new Mt. Horace Greeley cam is located.
present day
By the way, the Keweenaw County Sheriff's computer can pan and tilt the camera to get a view of most of the buildings on the property.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 01:02 pm:

By (Paul):
The comment about the one postcard looking like a painting........

Thank you, Paul. That explains it! I had completely forgotten about the colorizing process that was the 'rage' years ago. The B&W likely was a grainy photo, and when colorized, more definition perhaps lost, giving the general appearance of a painting.

By Dale Holm (Dwholm) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 03:57 pm:

The final Copper Country Limited left Chicago and Calumet on the night of Thursday, March 7, 1968, arriving at their destinations the morning of March 8th. The train that arrived in Calumet on March 8th was dead-headed back to Milwaukee, ending over 60 years of passenger service to the U.P.
This is from an article in the SOO of spring 1993 by Andrew Roth.

By Budone (Budone) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 04:18 pm:

Now I know why the view from the Mt Greeley cam is always different.

Is there an issue with people getting onto the former base????

By Budone (Budone) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 04:23 pm:

I am going to guess the postcard is from a painting.

My reasoning, it is a night scene, there would not be a full moon to the west except just before sunrise.

Just my two cents.

But a beautiful picture however it was produced.

By Charles Pomazal (Cpomazal) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 06:10 pm:

That looks like the steamer "Juniata" onto which they are loading copper.

By Cotton (Cotton) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:21 pm:

My cousin David Cavis died in Viet Nam on February 22,1968. I came home from Chicago for his funeral on the train. I knew his body was enroute home but didn't know exactly how or when. I saw a unifromed serviceman sitting in a seat across from me. I asked hime if he was escorting a body. He said "Yes". Then I asked if it were David Cavis. He looked at me surpised by my question & said "Yes". David was in the coach behind us. It certainly was a sad & uncomfortable trip home knowing we were traveling together like that. When the train arrived in Houghton, the color guard from the VFW was there to greet David. I don't think it was too much longer before the trains stopped running in the UP. That was my last train ride, but one I'll never forget. The young man was such a gentleman while there for the services. He was headed to Viet Nam shortly. I sometimes wonder if he was able to make it back home from there.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:30 pm:

By (Budone):
"My reasoning, it is a night scene........."

Interesting observation.
If we knew the date of the 'photograph', we could use these tables on this link to prove your reasoning:

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 09:07 pm:

Cotton, What a sad story! What kind of a coincidence do you call that? It's eerie! I would have been very sad and uncomfortable too. You sure have been through a lot in your life. At least somebody familiar was there with him for his last ride home.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 09:11 pm:

Deb, I was just going to post pretty much what you said. At least there was family with him on his last ride. But yet so sad for Cotton.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:00 am:

Hey! The postcard of the copper being loaded on a ship looks like the one from my collection (guest gallery page 3 first postcard Album)
Maybe someone else has one? No date or description on mine, a brand new unused post card of the days. Also have similiar photos of the old bridge from Quincy lookout circa 1958. (page 2 first "Shoebox" album!)
I remember us kids in the 40s running down the to the Hiway from our Grandparents in Woodside when a Copper Range or Mineral Range STEAM engine train came through just so we stand along the tracks and wave to the engineers!

Also remember taking the train once from Detroit to Chicago where we spent a day waiting in the depot made famous by Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor movie "Silver Streak"to be transfered to the Milwaukee Road. Then up thru Wisconsin to Houghton. Also remember a few times on the steam engined trains up through LP of Michigan, across the straits on the train ferry and then on up to Houghton! Memorys pressed between the pages of time!
Russ Emmons

By Raymond C. Du Long (O0_ray_0o) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:04 am:

I remember the railroad very well. I grew up on Quincy Street in Hancock. I remember those cold snowy wintry mornings that train trying to climb that Quincy Street hill. I remember those wheels just spinning and red hot trying to get up that hill on a snowy winter morning. It is sad that they did away with the tracks up through Hancock and didn't preserve the Hancock Train station. I rode that train several times to Chicago and from Chicago. I remember them putting the train on the ferry to cross Lake MI at Mackinaw. So sad so long ago and gone.
Ray Du Long

By Liz B (Lizidaho) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:42 am:

I believe that somebody is/was stealing copper wire, tubing and other stuff from the old Radar station and the cams were installed to slow that process down.

By greg (Pgsalo) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 06:23 am:

Happy Birthday Pam Wasik!!!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 10:19 am:

I was at MTU (MCMT then) from '58-'64, so I got to see the old swing bridge as well as the building of the lift bridge, and was lucky enough to do a round trip on the ol' Copper Country Limited from Houghton to Chicago — even paid the premium fare for the luxury of a private "roomette", for a great twice-in-a-lifetime experience.

… but I have absolutely no memory this morning of the Hancock train station. ('Cuz I haven't had my morning cuppa coffee?).

Where was Hancock train station, and when was it torn down?

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 11:19 am:

Cotton;Mark and me were friends back in 1968.I was a chauffer in the funeral of his brother David.

By Mary A. Heide (Mheide42) on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 12:55 pm:

Hi Cotton,
I remember when my mom called me and told me about David getting killed in Viet Nam. David and I went to school together at St. Cecilia. I also remember being devastated. Did you hear the story of David's Dad seeing David at the foot of his bed and him saying to his Dad, "Dad, I'm OK."? Still gives me the chills. Don't know if it was David's spirit or just Mr.Cavis dreaming but I heard it really helped Mr. Cavis.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 02:28 pm:

From the initial post above, by Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper):


"In the 1850's when New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley made popular the phrase "Go West, young man!" he was referring to the Copper Boom in the Keweenaw Peninsula. He recognized early on that the mineral-rich land would become a center of commerce, employment, and opportunity for tens of thousands of settlers to this remote region. "

Exactly as I had always understood it, but for the sake of historical accuracy, here's an interesting discovery:

In an article at (Law Library Resource Xchange, LLC.): (click→) "Who Said, "Go West, Young Man" - Quote Detective Debunks Myths by Fred R. Shapiro, Published on December 24, 2007. In his research for The Yale Book of Quotations, the author debunks that old saw, as quoted here in part [emphasis is mine]:


"Who Said, 'Go West, Young Man' - Quote Detective Debunks Myths

'Go West, young man' [was not found] anywhere in Greeley's writings however, I did uncover the following quote cited in a recent biography of Greeley: 'If any young man is about to commence the world, we say to him, publicly and privately, Go to the West' (from the Aug. 25, 1838, issue of the newspaper New Yorker). 'Go West, young man' may well have been a paraphrase of this and other advice given by Greeley."

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