Apr 28-09

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2009: April: Apr 28-09
Hancock Stairway    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Dennis Kemper
From the Houghton side    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Dennis Kemper
Sunrise bridge    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Dennis Kemper

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 06:41 am:

Dennis Kemper was standing at the top of these stairs, looking down toward the street level at the entrance to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge on the Hancock side, for this photo. Unless you know they're tucked away in that spot, you might never have noticed them, since most folks aren't stopped there long enough to survey the area. The mid-point spot with the benches, looks like it might be a neat place to sit and watch the goings-on with the bridge traffic.

Dennis also had a couple nice shots of the Bridge itself, in his Guest Gallery Photo Album. One taken from the Houghton side with the sun shining brightly and the other taken from the Hancock side, with the sun just beginning to light the skies. The "Gateway to the Keweenaw" is a sight to see, no matter what the lighting conditions may be.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 06:46 am:

Last weekend as Edie and I drove past the East Hancock Stairway, there was a wedding party lined up the steps for their photos. We passed so quickly I didn't have time to grab my cell phone for a picture.

We featured this view of the steps back in 2005:


Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 07:26 am:

No greater way to start off the day than with a picture, or pictures, of the Portage bridge. Thanks!!!!

By john mich (Johnofmi) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 08:25 am:

In the top picture it appears that some kid left a bike laying next to the bench, probably to go off and play elsewhere. I did the same thing when I was a kid growing up in Detroit and sure enough, when I returned it was gone. Guess who took my bike and hid it. My Mother! To teach me a lesson. It worked.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 08:29 am:

Very pleasant stairs -- I've never been there. Where do they lead to? One of the higher cross roads?

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 08:49 am:

Now I appreciate the bridge more. Lovely views. And the stairs are so cool.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 08:52 am:

While growing up in Hubbell we would hitch hike or else take our bikes to the Kerridge or Orpheum in Hancock and would return home along the side street thru this neighborhood with the majestic mining captains homes..We had to carefully guide our bikes down these stairs to get back onto US26. As i recall correct at the bottom was the only Jewish synagog in the Copper Country. We led shelterd lives in those days never having a Native American, African American, Chineese American living in town.

By Joy Brewer (Joy) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 09:08 am:

Ah, thank you for photos of my second favorite Michigan bridge. When I am heading north going across the Mackinac Bridge, I am going home to the UP. When I am going north across the Portage Lift Bridge, I am going home to the place that I loved the most. I never wanted to leave the Copper Country, but economics forced us to leave.

Every morning, you give me a piece of home to brighten my day! Thanks to those who share their photos for people like me who never wanted to leave. Have a wonderful day!!

By David S. (Yooperdfs) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 09:20 am:

Joy, Ditto.

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 10:24 am:

Wonderful pictures again! Living on Quincy Hill as a young girl, I walked up these steps many a time either to socialize or to use as a "shortcut" to get to the top of the hill. Retiring in Hancock now, we use the beautiful bridge daily and see those steps. Everyonceinawhile, I walk them again.

By Bill Skriba (Beewrangler63) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 10:31 am:

Wonderful pics.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 11:24 am:

Great Pictures.
John, sounds like something my Mom would do.

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 11:25 am:

Not being able to determine the size of the bike, i guessed it belonged to the photographer (Dennis)!

By Musicteacher (Musicteacher) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 11:35 am:

My first apartment, 37 years ago, was at the top of those wonderful stairs. It was a great place to live because I could walk down the steps and across the bridge and be in Houghton in just minutes. This was before the mall and the M26 highway, so we all shopped downtown Houghton or Hancock. The only bad part about living that close to the lift bridge was the boat whistles in the middle of the night during the summer months when the windows were open! I never did learn to sleep through the noise.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 12:13 pm:

Musicteacher (Musicteacher):
"I could walk down the steps and across the bridge and be in Houghton in just minutes."

And in the winter, you could be down at the base of the stairs in mere seconds. Whee! (Been there, almost did that!)

By Carol Liimatta Smith (Smith2k) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 12:17 pm:

Great photos! Wish I had a buck for every time I walked up or down those stairs.

By Dennis Kemper (Denkem) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 04:56 pm:

Hey all.....thanks for the kudos on the pics. But I must say..I would be a little large for that bike!!

By Tom (Tom) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 05:24 pm:

You remember the days when the center for shopping was Hancock and Houghton? Was the old bridge still there? I don't remember when the new bridge was completed and put into use.
One time some friends of mine and me walked up the steps to that top landing and found a body lying there. It was a hot day. There was a little blood near the guys head. We ran to the A&P and got my brother to come look and do something. When we got there the body was gone. Still don't know what happened.

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 08:05 pm:

Mu mom said her mom use to buy all her clothes from Gartners, in Hancock, when she was growing up in Calumet. In her year book she was voted the best dressed.

By David S. (Yooperdfs) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 09:00 pm:

Upon a second look at the 2005 picture, it reminds me of the Rolling Stones song, 'Stairway to Heaven'.

By Ray & Chris (Ray) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 09:20 pm:

David, that would be Led Zeppelin.


By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 09:44 pm:

Tom (Tom):
"I don't remember when the new bridge was completed and put into use. "

Construction on the new lift bridge began in 1959, just to the west of the old swing bridge.

The new lift bridge was placed in service in June, 1960.

By Richard Wieber (Dickingrayling) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 10:59 pm:

Just about the time you showed these stairs for the first I discovered pasty.com. I couldn't believe my eyes. I lived in east Houghton and every Saturday in the 30s and 40s a bunch of us kids would go to the double feature (with cartoons) at the Orphume (sp). We could take the bus or we could save our money for candy at the movie. When we did that (and I can't believe I was ever that young) we would RUN all the way from home ,thru Houghton, to that movie. On the way back we would run down those stairs and on to the brigde. If we were lucky a boat would be passing through the bridge and we would wait until the last minute and then jump over the guard and get a free ride on the swing draw. Once we were on the draw when a freighter nugde the draw. Quite a thrill. Thanks for the memory!!!

By John Sullivan (Jsullivan) on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 11:02 pm:

In the mid 1980's the MTU Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers prepared plans and specifications for the restoration of the East Hancock Stairway Park. The City of Hancock used $10,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for the restoration by Bruce Lahti Construction.There is a granite slab on the east side at the top of the stairway that tells part of the History of the Stairway and the Restoration Project.

History of the Stairway

Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - 01:42 am:

Many memories of many trips up & down those steps and playing on them as kids. For awhile we lived at the top of those stairs on Cooper Street in the 40s. I think maybe where that very house is shown on the 4th photo here. (Different house now of course). The old huge Victorian house we lived in was on a corner I recall!

Not having been to the Copper Country in 23 years, last summer when we finally made it up, that was first place I stopped when arriving. Parked in front of the old abandoned gas station, walked over and got some great photos of these steps built in the WPA days.. A couple shots of which are in my guest gallery album!
To the east of the stairs where Cooper Street ended was a brand new house then owned by the Komulas. I went to school with John and Bertha!

There are also pics of the "new" bridge in various stages of its construction plus pics of the old and new bridges standing side by side in my album!

By Scott D. (Pooch) on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - 02:31 pm:

Yes the memories. I too grew up in the east end of Hancock on the SE corner of Center and Harris St. As kids this was one of the hang outs and meeting places in the summer. Of course in the winter we all used to go the Terrace Rink. Ah the good old days never used to have a worry in the world!

By walter s mcnew (Up23qw45) on Thursday, April 30, 2009 - 09:18 pm:

ray and chris that would be neil sadaca 1950s

By Paul Roberts (Grizzlyadams) on Friday, May 1, 2009 - 10:44 am:

Yo Dennis! Thanks for the pics! The one thing I never did (well one of them anyway) when I was UP there was go up those stairs. I guess I mightve done it once or twice. Hope all is well. Shoot me an email and I'll show you some pics of Colorado Springs!

By Ray & Chris (Ray) on Friday, May 1, 2009 - 08:58 pm:

Walt, Neil did a song called "Stairway to Heaven" but it could not be confused with anything that the Rolling Stones ever did and certainly could not compare with Jimmy Page. In any case, those stairs are really something!


By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 05:56 pm:

neil sadaka had stairway to heaven in the fifties

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