Jan 26-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: January: Jan 26-08
Early a.m. travel    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Keith Meyers
Winter driving    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Keith Meyers

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 06:03 am:

Keith Meyers was recently traveling to the U.P. in the wee hours of the morning when he passed through Bruce Crossing, snapping a picture on the way. That would be Settler's Co-op up ahead, on the left, which is considered to be the hub of the little town. Now truthfully, how many of you mispronounce the town's name? If you say Bruce's Crossing, that's exactly what you're doing. It's not plural, it's singular, as in just plain BRUCE Crossing. For year's I pronounced it incorrectly, which now makes me wonder how this town got its name? Anybody?

Keith's second shot gives you an idea of how treacherous early morning travel here UP North can be in the winter. Note the snow covering the highway signs. It's hard to tell if you turn left onto highway 45, are you heading north or south? But luckily, you can still see that by turning right, you'll be heading north on M-26. Looks like the winds are swirling the snow around fairly well there too. I imagine these travelers were happy to arrive at their final destination.

By Pam & Jim - Calumet (Pjgrill) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 06:23 am:

Good Morning. Those pictures makes me think of last weekend, it was really a bear down there. On Friday morning leaving Mass City we were driving blind to the 45 turn south, which we almost missed, total white out. Would'nt you know it, on Sunday evening the conditions were almost the same in that area. Have a great weekend.

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 06:28 am:

I got to see snow-banks like this last thursday on up to TN/N.C. State line and over to Cherokee,to gamble some,and back up and down into Gatlinburg.Sounded like small arm gunshots as our ears were all popping.

His name is Bruce and he crossed there all the time.No one else did so it became Bruce's Crossing.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 06:40 am:

From wikipedia.com:

Bruce Crossing is a small unincorporated community situated at the junction of US 45 (formerly known as the old Military Road) and M-28 at 463206N, 891044W. The community formed around a sawmill built by August Newman. Donald M. Bruce built a store there and became the first postmaster on March 5, 1888. It was at first called "Bruce's Crossing" until the apostrophe was dropped from the post office name on August 13, 1891. The community was a stop on the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway (now the Soo Line). The Bruce Crossing Post Office, ZIP code 49912, serves much of the township area. Ewen is about 5 miles to the west on M-28.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:02 am:

Oh how I remember those days traveling through storms like that. Not very many of those types of days out here. I miss it once in a while, but the problem is that it happens so frequently. LOL I do enjoy the winter pictures this year though. I must be mellowing. Oh, and I've always called it Bruce Crossing.

By Laurie B. (Ratherberiding) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:16 am:

Don't the locals call it just "Bruces"? I know that's what we call it.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:20 am:

I remember hearing a discussion on some media about cosmic energy. They were talking about the guy who built a coral castle by himself in Florida. He claimed he used cosmic energy forces to move the large pieces when building it. It is still a mystery how he did it by himself.
The point is they said there were only two places in the US where the cosmic energy was so focused. One was this spot in Florida and the other was a town called Bruce Crossing in Mi. That is all I ever heard of it.

By Keith in Kansas (Keithinks) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:24 am:

The nice thing about traveling so early in the morning (it was 4:30 when I reached Bruce Crossing in this instance) is the lack of competition for space on the road. I only met two trucks and one car between Wakefield and Painesdale.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:40 am:

I was traveling in that neck of the woods many years ago and saw an "X" shape sign with the letters RRPD. I thought it was a promo for the Ruce's Rossing Pasepall Deam. ;-)

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:45 am:

One night at 3:am in the middle of a huge snowstorm while driving from Ashland to Hubbell my brother Don decided to go north at this junction instead of across M-28. We were stuck on the Firesteel hill for 3 hours and couldnt move until the county snow plows made their morning run and we could follow them...One of the many experiences of driving in snow and whiteouts in the U.P.

By Little M (Littlem) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:50 am:

so it WAS called bruce's crossing, which means i was pronouncing it right the whole time! ;) i've recently dropped the 's' myself when i noticed on the sign that that is how it is spelled. all my childhood i thought it was bruce's crossing. haha.

hey, does anybody love that BIG HUGE hill that you go down and then up again...ummm, i think it's shortly after 26 hooks up with 45? that is one crazy hill! :)

By Mel, MN (Mehollop) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 10:17 am:

Nothing like mid-winter UP driving...

Although it was usually worst around time time of Tech's spring break. One trip between Houghton and the Bridge we were dragging the bottom of the car through the previous nights fluff nearly the entire 273 miles. (Didn't see pavement at all until south of Gaylord.) Another year it was a nerve-wracking trip back from Negaunee, where visibility was down to inches through Three Lakes - and a county plow was off in the ditch on that stretch as well.

Some days, I almost miss it. ;) Roads have been pretty good over here on the Range this winter - but then, we don't get near the snow that yous guys on the right side of the Lake get.

By David t Hainault (Davehainault) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 10:49 am:

Good picture of the night snowy road, but... where are the deer?? In Northwestern Colorado, we get the dark, the snow, deer and elk - large, and largely nocturnal - competing for roadspace. Then there's the fox, the rabbits (countless rabbits!), and other critters who become falcon-fodder after the competition for roadspace is decided (as the motorists limp off to a nearby auto body shop for repairs) until the state or county plows push the carnage off to the shoulder, where they provide food for eagles, crows, and magpies. Happy motoring... I still can't wait to make that little trip North of Bruce Crossing, and turn right toward the Copper Country! Good day, all!

By Keith in Kansas (Keithinks) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 11:17 am:

David, your comments make me wonder how much the automobile has impacted upon scavenger populations around highways as compared to the deep woods. Surely the balance in the roadway eco-system has to be different as a result of the additional dining opportunities??? We didn't see much wildlife near the highway on this trip, but did catch this photo between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor: http://gallery.pasty.com/keithinks/winter/DSC_02860001.JPG.html

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 11:22 am:

Heikki--That's the way I always heard the town pronounced by my
Grandpa when I was a little kid. He would make such statements
as, "I'm going Ruce's Rossing." Of course he made the trip driving
his Cevrowlay or my uncle's Rysler.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 12:10 pm:

Kosk - My isois would have said, "Vee ko Ruce's Rossing Star car, jaa?" I would furrow my brow and teasingly say, "Mit?", pretending to not understand. He would mutter a bit, shake his head and say, "Hullu Jussi....paha poika!". LOL Bless his soul. I sure loved the old guy.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 12:16 pm:

Been there, done that--and still have a few nerves left to talk about it.

By David t Hainault (Davehainault) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 12:29 pm:

Keith, I'm sure the DOW has set the hunting seasons to limit our take from the local wildlife herds, but there is no limit on the disemination of carrion by the motoring public. Poor innocents, just trying to get from one place to another, blissfully unaware of the colision course they travel. Oh yeah, and the animals don't know any better either! We wonder why the animals don't understand the roadways, as they've had to deal with them for so long; but we don't understand them much better, and WE BUILT THEM!!!

By Richard A. Fields (Cherokeeyooper) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 12:37 pm:

"It was at first called "Bruce's Crossing" until the apostrophe was dropped from the post office name on August 13, 1891."

So we can blame the Government!

By Tom (Tom) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 12:50 pm:

Who remembers the Firesteel hills back in the 1950s? It was much steeper. On the south side it was the steepest. In the winter that hill could be treacherous going down. It was a good test of your snow tires. Same with Quincy Hill. Which snow tires did you prefer, the old nobbies, or the newer suburbans? There were a number of tread styles to choose from and my father always hoped he bought the best ones to get up Quincy Hill.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 01:30 pm:

Sorry Mary, but I can confirm that both Heikki (Heikki): and Wikipedia® nailed it on Bruce('s) Crossing. (Here's the Wikipedia link: Wikipedia:Bruce Crossing, Michigan)

Laurie B. (Ratherberiding):
"Don't the locals call it just "Bruces"?"

Oh you betcha, at least they sure did back in the 1940's through the 1960's, and at least anyone who was there during that era probably still does, plus anyone with some deep roots in da neighborhood.

Little M (Littlem):
"that BIG HUGE hill that you go down and then up again...ummm, i think it's shortly after 26 hooks up with 45? that is one crazy hill!"

Yup, that'd be the Military Hill: Been there done that, across the old bridge no less. I yoosta hear stories of folks having to climb the Military Hill in reverse in the 'ol Model T Ford, because of the gravity flow fuel system. (Like it wasn't hairy enough in later years nose first?)

Heikki (Heikki):
"Vee ko Ruce's Rossing …"

Oh yuu petcha!
My isois (granddad) started his dairy farm just a short ways nort' of 'Ruces 'Rossing in 1925, and it's still there today, although no longer an operating farm. I yoosta often hear it pronounced that way too during many summer vacations on da farm!
I still have plenty of relatives in 'Ruces 'Rossing and Paynesville and up in Houghton County as well.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 02:17 pm:

Heikki--I still miss my Grandpa's accent and voice. Hard to believe
he' s been gone over 36 years.

By Keith in Kansas (Keithinks) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 02:48 pm:

Hey FRNash, if you haven't seen it, there is publication I ran across in the vertical file at the Michigan Tech Archives on the Ontonagon Valley Co-op Creamery Association that provides a nice overview of the dairy history in the Bruce Crossing area as well as the organization at 25 years (this piece was probably produced in 1949 as it references the first meeting of the board taking place in 1924). Board members over the first 25 years included: John Aho, Emil Aijala, Harry Backman, Harvey Carlson, Matt Hannuksela, Emil Hautala, Matt Heikkinen, Vaino Heikkinen, J.N. Howlett, Charles Huhtala, George Hukkanen, Sulo Hayrinen, Edi Illikainen, Alex Jokipii, Uuno Jokisalo, Arvo Kangas, John Kauppi, Wilho Kauppinen, Ivar Kemppainen, John Kopsi, Frank Leppanen, Elmer Lindberg, Isaac Majava, Victor Maki, Edward Mukka, Oiva Niska, Frank Nara, Emil Ojennus, Ray Ojennus, John Pellinen, John Perttula, Andrew Pietila, Isaac Polvi, Olli Raatikka, William Rounisto, Theodore Ruuttila, Charles Rytilahti, Arthur Sakkinen, Charles Sillanpaa (my great-grandfather), Gust Stringle, Abel Suhonen, Lauri Syrjanen, Andrew Taival, Albert Taro, Andrew Tiirikainen, Otto Westerinen, Arthur Wiinamaki, Nestor Wirtanen. As the names of the board members highlight, Bruce Crossing and Paynesville were significant settlement locations for Finns.

By Ned Aldridge (Nedjames) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 03:06 pm:

I can remember (a challange these days as old age creeps up on me) traveling back and forth from Michigan Tech to Ironwood in the late, late 50's and going up and down the old Military Hill. It was very narrow, winding, and steep. Then that same year (must have been 1958) we had to go though Ontonagon because they were building the new road over the Military. Quite a project in those days before the advent of the much larger equipment and trucks that are used today.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 03:56 pm:

I can only say one thing about the Bruce Crossing area as it pertains to attracting Finnish farmers. There must be plenty stones in the fields! LOL. Had to have something more than chores to keep the young'uns out of trouble, eh? That, and makin' wood.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 04:25 pm:

Keith in Kansas (Keithinks):
"Ontonagon Valley Co-op Creamery Association — board members list …"

Thanks for that lead, Keith. Now I'm going to have to dig up that document!

My grandpa's name is in that list(!); I knew many of the others as well, and I certainly recognize many of the other names. Unfortunately very few of 'em are left!

By Keith in Kansas (Keithinks) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 05:09 pm:

You're welcome! I have a copy that I could scan and send to you by .pdf if you like. If you haven't checked out my "Oldies, but Goodies" album in the guest gallery, you might want to look at this photo of the Bruce Crossing Co-op Hall Membership: http://gallery.pasty.com/keithinks/album76/img510_001.jpg.html

and this older photo in Paynesville: http://gallery.pasty.com/keithinks/album76/img512.jpg.html

By Catherine Ristola--Holland MI (Catherine) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 06:40 pm:

The Military Road is named such as it was built by the Army as the connector between Fort Wilkins and Green Bay.

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 07:38 pm:

really great photos thanx====i remain walter p.

By Danielle L. Adams (Badkid) on Monday, January 28, 2008 - 12:17 am:

wow amazing pics. reminds me of tuesday afternoon driving home from hancock and hitting a total whiteout by the mall...sacred me because you didn't know if you were on the road or where you were. thankfully i made it home ok! don't wanna experience that again anytime soon.

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