Feb 20-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: February: Feb 20-05
Deck of the Sarnian    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from Carl Kiilunen
Kauppi's dock, Gay, 1943    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from Carl Kiilunen

Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 08:49 am:

A recent weekday Pasty Cam triggered some memories, illustrated by a couple of Guest Gallery shots from Carl Kiilunen (aka "Gus, LL") who wrote:

On Dec. 10, 1943, The Canadian steamer Sarnian went aground off Point Isabelle while trying to seek shelter from a strong northwest blow. Her crew was taken off by the Eagle Harbor Coast Guard. She was later hauled off for scrap. She was 321 ft. in length & grossed 2584 tons.

She was loaded with barley and I worked with some local fishermen out of Big Traverse and Gay and managed to salvage some of the barley, down as far as the waterline. The barley was shoveled into a hopper in the hold of the ship,then raised up to the deck in a makeshift screw elevator made from an old threshing machine, then into burlap bags on deck, then lowered over the side onto a shute and into the fishing boats.

Most of it was hauled to Kauppis dock near Gay and loaded onto trucks to be hauled to be loaded into railroad cars outside Lake Linden. Some of the grain was hauled into Bete Gris but they had a problem because of the shallow water at the entrance to the harbor.

We worked on the ( Barley Boat) in Dec. and into Jan.1944. Some days we couldn't do much because of the ice and heavy seas that would shake us around, both on the Sarnian and our small boats.
Our thanks to Carl for making the past come alive. And thank you for stopping by Pasty Central for another Sunday Shoebox Memory. Have a good week!
By copper country resident on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 08:58 am:

Good Morning everyone! It's snowing, 16 degrees
out, Have a great day!!!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:19 am:

The snow news on FOX doesn't look good for Chicago. I was wondering if the Keeweenaw was getting it too. Thanks ccr.

By ed/mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:28 am:

Snowing now in Monroe, Mi area..we expect 5 - 8" today....had record amount here in January.

By copper country resident on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:29 am:

Margaret-amarillo tx- 3-5 inches forcasted for today, no big storm of what I can tell right now.
Just a usual day, gloomy out thou, no sunshine,

By Jim&Pam, Calumet on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:39 am:

Great story and picture. Thank you for sharing.

By Mr. Bill on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:26 am:


Thank you so much for posting the pictures and history. Most interesting.

By Therese from just below the bridge on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:35 am:

Very interesting photos! I notice tnere wasnt much snow on the ground at the docks in Gay, and no ice on the lake, which must have made the salvage operation a little easier. Thanks for the bit of history!

By Lee, Mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:43 am:

Wonderful photo and story Karl. I fished off this dock many years ago. The dock has now been rebuilt and reinforced.

By Scott, Illinois on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 11:05 am:

Thanks for the bit of history! It's interesting what you can learn in a couple minutes of browsing :).

Chicago got around 2 inchies of snow out of the storm, but it's expected to melt today due to rain and warmer temperatures.

By Anonymous on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 11:40 am:

Do you think if a hops-bearing boat went aground about the same time, that Lake Superior would be made out of beer today?

By FLYIN on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:00 pm:

Dear Anon.......only in every Toot's dreams....We had a beer truck overturn on the lawn in front of DHH one night in 65. Nobody hurt, but lots of beer went missing...(Salvage)

By Mary Lou on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:01 pm:

the pictures and the story are so interesting, I love that the history of the area can be shared with so many through this site. The fishing boats at the dock in Gay in the 40's is also part of the history of the area. I remember the Erikkila famly was fishing at that time so one the boats may have been theirs......(Edwin was my late- husband's uncle..he and Avalon still live in Gay in the summer)....Hi Karl, thanks for the photos....

By M.B., IL-WI-MI on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:23 pm:

Thanks for the story!

Kauppi's Dock definitely looks different today. It is one of my favorite spots to view Fourth of July Fireworks for the past couple of years!

Have a great week!

By RG on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:39 pm:

Where is that dock in relation to the Tobacco river and/or the new "park" area (after you pass the smokestack)?

By sur5er on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 12:56 pm:


Thanks so much for sharing your memories...you are a wealth of information to all of us :) I love hearing about the past.

Ed from Monroe (my hometown)...you got all our snow...no fair. We were left with just a dusting, here on Lake Michigan.

By Gus LL on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 01:12 pm:

RG, Kauppis dock is just a short distance beyond the Tobacco River, headed towards Betsy or Bete Gris.

By Capt. Paul in Nevada on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 01:33 pm:


No! It would have been drunk up by now ;-)

By Mr. Bill on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 01:47 pm:

Does anyone know of the fishing docks at Bete Grise, how large the operation was, or what circa they were active?

By Clyde Elmblad...L'Anse on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 01:55 pm:

Here's a little info on the ship from the "Great Lakes Vessels Index - Historical Collections of the Great Lakes" at Bowling Green State University.

The ship was built in 1895 for a U.S. company in Cleveland and the original name was "Chili".

In 1913 it was sold to a Canadian company and had it's name changed to "Sarnian".

It stranded on reef off Point Isabella, near Bete Grise Bay, MI, Lake Superior, on December 10, 1943, downbound with a cargo of barley. Later sank; no lives lost.

Below is a picture of the ship when it was known as the "Chili"


By Wade, Mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 02:01 pm:


Get reved up with the Daytona 500. Watch it.

By Mary Lou on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 02:05 pm:

I remember there were families, who for generations earned their living fishing out of Gay and Big Traverse, etc........and although I know nothing of the business... I remember there was a controversial law enacted in the '60s,(I think)...which limited fishing and which put some of these fishermen out of business.......

By Leonard on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 02:05 pm:

I love the pictures!! Great to look at old pictures of the times from the past.

By copper country resident on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 02:05 pm:

Wade-MI*** We wouldn't be anywhere else today,
Daytona 500! Superbowl of NASCAR racing
Hope it's a good one without the "BIG ONE"
Enjoy the race!!!

By Gus LL on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 03:28 pm:

Hi Mary Lou, I'm glad You and the others enjoy the photos. I believe the Erkkila bros, "Reino and Edwin" fished out of Big Traverse. The last fishing boat they had was called the Twin Disc. The old homesite is right on the bend of the Traverse River, Right across from the Marina boat launch.

By Clf.Mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 04:15 pm:

Clyde Elmblad...L'Anse
Do you happen to know where I could get some old pic's of SS Col James Picans or the CCI boat "Champlain".

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 04:31 pm:

ccr: ooooo, the picture from the web cam on the bridge looks a little snowy. Sunshine and wind here. 68

By Jason, MI on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 04:35 pm:

Mary Lou, Ive been sport fishing with Edwin for about the past 5 summers, and have heard many great stories from the commercial fishing days of the Twin Disc. He knows the lake better than the fish finder usually does, and can travel great through heavy fog, always finds the harbor.

By ED/MI on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 04:59 pm:

Here is a picture of TWIN DISCS

By ed/mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 05:18 pm:

Great lakes freighters can be found at...
Colonel James Pickands..not Picans

By Clyde Elmblad...L'Anse on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 05:43 pm:

Clf.Mi ... Check these links out for the Great Lakes vessels you're looking for.






By Shirley Laurin on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 07:34 pm:

Hi Mary Lou -- I got so excited today to see Kauppi's dock in Gay. My dad (Ed Ruonavar) was a commercial fisherman there, too, and his boat "Lake Breeze" was docked at the mouth of the Tobacco River, right across the road from where we lived. That dock was torn down years ago. The commercial fishing industry was affected greatly by the sea lamprey in Lake Superior that killed off a lot of fish, so the DNR restricted the number of commercial fishermen.

By Shirley Laurin on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 07:38 pm:

Hi Again -- Forgot to mention that I knew the Erkkila's from Gay - wonderful people!

By sur5er on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 07:51 pm:

Clyde, Ed and Gus,

Thank you for all the great info on the great lake frieghters. My grandfather worked on frieghters in the great lakes, many years ago. Thanks :)

By Eleanor L.L. on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 08:25 pm:

Kauppi's dock is still there. Sully Kauppi passed away last month at the age of 87. He owned the King Copper Motel at Copper Harbor for many many years. His son Bobby has been building on the GAY property for several years now.

By Clyde Elmblad...L'Anse on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 08:49 pm:

Your welcome sur5er. I also sailed on the Great Lakes for Ford Motor Company aboard the William Clay Ford from 1978-1980. Here's a link to a page I made for "The Clay".


By Mary Lou on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:14 pm:

Hi Shirley....Are the sea-lamprey still big problem in Lake Superior? It seems that commercial fishing is a natural industry for the area. I remember the kids coming to LLHS from Gay & Big Traverse. Jim Wiita was in my class('50) and he was also from a fine family of commercial fishermen..Jim carried on the tradition. I remember a Mr Ruonavar, who was a bus driver for LLHS.

By Wade,mi on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 09:16 pm:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Should have one that race, but Jeff Gordon won it and Dale came in second.
Oh well Dale #8 Earnhardt Jr. will have to get it next year instead.

By sur5er on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:40 pm:

Thank ya Clyde...I loved all the photos of the Clay.

I was quite young when my grandfather passed away, but I can still remember some of his stories about life aboard some of the freighters.

One story in particular that I remember, was that my grandfather was aboard a frighter that caught fire in one of the great lakes, and the crew had to jump ship. My grandfather joked that he had inhaled so much smoke that day, that he made the decision right then and there to stop smoking cigarettes...and he never smoked again.

Anywho, my sister owns a cabin on Lake Michigan, and we spend most of our vacations, sitting on the beach and watching the frieghters go by and thinking of gramps. Thanks again for the pics of the freighter..they brought back many a happy memory.

By Shirley Laurin on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:43 pm:

Hi Mary Lou -- No, I don't believe the sea lamprey are a problem and have not been for a number of years. I also knew Jim Wiita, and I'm sure you knew Art & Betty Lassila - just the nicest people. I took the school bus from Gay to LLHS for only one year and then we moved to the Detroit area. Norman Ruonavar, the bus driver, was my uncle and passed away at the young age of 48. It was such a sad time - my aunt Esther raised their four children alone. You must also know many of the Gay girls who graduated in 1951 - Eunice Wuori, Lila Anderson, Phyllis Lantto.

By ILMHitCC on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:49 pm:

Hah!! Thank you so very much, Gus and Carl, for the great pics! Spent a lot of time at those docks as a kid. The dock on the right was still wooden and had the wall, but the dock on the left had already been rebuilt by Sully after the war. He built the entire thing by hand out of concrete - some 600-700 (?) bags of concrete had to be hand loaded off the train onto a truck, and then off the truck and to the dock, all in one day - and when he was done he cemented his boots into the dock wall. They lasted there for decades! He would have gotten a kick out of seeing these pics.

Used to visit the Erkkilas there, too, back when. Nice people. They were neighbors to the Kauppis in Gay and family friends.

Wonder what the names of those boats are?

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:54 pm:

Mary Lou, I worked for the Wiita family on one of their boats for one day with my step-dad. Was his name John? My step-dad didn't like being out on Superior that day, it was a little rough. He told him that we wouldn't be back the next day. We were 'choking' herring. It makes a noise like you're strangling it, taking it out of the net.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP on Sunday, February 20, 2005 - 10:56 pm:

Oh yeah, it was in the mid-50s.

By Wilho Michaelson on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 09:21 am:

by will at wills corner
Hay Carl, thanks for the memories. The memories of the days working on the Sarnian. Carl Kiilunen to me,deep in my heart is a sincere buddie, we've known each other from our teens, is aThanks for the memories Carl is a guy who brings back memories with his shoe box photography, like this of the Sarnian that went aground, busted a hole in her hull and that's where she got left, bobbing on about 15 degree slant. I worked on almost the whole time while retrieving the grain off, of what was salvagable. On that job I was required to apply for my social security, and that's how i'm living on today. Carl Thanks for the memories!! >>>Wilho<<<

By downstate don on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 10:18 pm:

Years ago Fred and Fanny Koski use to have a fish
market off of Pine Street in Calumet. I would
ride with Fanny to Big Traverse to pick up fresh
fish and bring it back to their market. Does anyone recall Fred and Fanny Koski? That was back
in the 50's. Thanks.

By Calumet,MI on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 11:18 am:

Who could ever forget Fred's Fishhouse. Back in the winter of 1960 Keweenaw County was advertising the upcoming 100 year county celebration. I spent a lot of time with Armour Sarkela in those days and of course he would stop in the various bars from the Gay Bar,Bucket of Blood etc. and they advertised these bow ties imprinted with "Keweenaw County Centenial 100 years", something like that on them. Of course I was only 10 years old during the winter of 1960. So I told Armour I wanted one of them. They sold for a buck. Armour said if I wanted to earn some money I could help him clean fish at Fred's fish house with him. I don't remember how much per box he was paid by Fred, but he paid me a dime a box. I don't remember how many nites I spent with him to clean fish but I earned enough to buy a bow tie and still have it today. He use to clean fish for Fred & Fanny to earn extra money in the winter when he could not fish with his boat. Well, in my later years and getting married, I found out that Fanny was my wife's aunt.
All my brothers use to clean fish in those days to earn some extra spending money. Who could ever forget Fanny & Fred

By Nancy on Monday, May 30, 2005 - 07:05 pm:

Hi Carl,
We would love to have a picture of Sully's dock with all of the fishing boats for the commercial fishing museum in Eagle Harbor.
Would it be possible to have a color copy made, I know this is BxW but Color copy makes a better copy on photo paper? I believe that Office Max does this for a few dollars. I would be happy to reimburse you for your trouble.
Thank you\
Nancy Sanderson

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