Feb 09-04

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2004: February: Feb 09-04
Lac La Belle and company    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Rick Anderson

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:08 am:

Not too long ago someone mentioned wanting to see a picture of Mt. Bohemia Ski Hill, up at Lac La Belle. As many of you already know....we here at Pasty Central deliver! (Not just delicious U.P. Pasties either :o) Rick Anderson, from Skypixs, one of our Pasty Gallery regulars and a pilot to boot, helped us fulfill this wish. From the looks of it, not only the ski trails have been busy, check out the tracks across the lake.

By ABGMan on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:11 am:

Nice shot

By Peter , Victoria, Australia on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:19 am:

Just a short note to say what a pretty part of the world you live in over there , although much colder than our winter . Currently summer here and exceeded 100F yesterday so a huge contrast to your weather presently. I thoroughly enjoy checking out the photos from time to time and since we are 16 hours ahead of you, I have a distinct advantage in getting an early look. Best wishes to my friends there from the land downunder.

By R.Ball,Miss on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:33 am:

Great Pic! Never did get to ski that area,as it was developed,ater I went South.I remember climbing a fire tower in that area,is that the location of the fire tower?
I would appreciate any info.The tower was no longer used for that purpose,and alot of the steps were missing,so you had to depend on the shaky handrail,for support.
I appreciate the pics of home.

By Sharyn on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:38 am:

Wow! What a view!

By Sarah, stuck in Ohio on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:46 am:

Hey Rachel from Little Betsy, I'll race ya to the top!

By wright mattingly Ky. on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:58 am:

Yes, I finally got a picture of the Big Boy Market from Rick Anderson. I lived there in 63&64. Marty's bar next door sure has had a make over.I know he's not there now,that was my first beer in a bar when I turned 21. You talk of the land up there becoming expensie now, I remember my uncle Carl Tuovila buying 40 acres at Delaware for $1.000.I still plan on a trip back up some HOT summer time.

By Dave C. ,Il on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 08:32 am:

Bob W.,I can remember us climbing the fire tower on top of this place. I think we were with your Mom and Dad.I want to say around 59 or 1960. It was a great view from the top.

By Lee, Mi. on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 08:38 am:

Wonderful shot Rick! I have many good memories of LacLaBelle and it's colorful characters.
Warjakka's, Andersons, Karna's, Klevin's just to name a few of the neighbors.My Uncle "Flurp" had a camp around the bend from Bohemia.I remember being a child during Keweenaw Countie's Centennial celebration and being on a floating raft that made the trek across the lake from Sand Point to Warjakka's dock. The block ice storage building at Warjakka's always awed me.

By Steve in VA on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 10:12 am:

It's nice to see the place during the winter. Our family camp is on the hill behind the falls and old stamp mill. We only get up there in the summer now, so it looks quite different, then.

By Jim Copper Country on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 10:31 am:

The Mt Bohemia tower was taken out of firespotting service years ago. I remember climbing it for my first time in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and there were Conservation Dept or DNR apparatus and paperwork still existant in the tower, but it may have already been out of service even then. Later, everything was cleared out of the tower, but the structure remained there itself until sometime in the latter 1980s or early 1990s. I climbed it many times, taking visitors to the area on tours of the Keweenaw. There was an old "tower access road" that sometimes was driveable all the way up, but usually one could drive about halfway up with an ordinary vehicle.
The tower itself was very climbable for timid folk like me, an interior zigzag stairway instead of one of those straigt-up-the-outside-wall spindly metal ladders (those kind were NOT for me!). You were already high up on Mt Bohemia ground level, so the tower only needed to be higher than the treetops, and not REALLY high and just to enable a view over higher ridges, etc.
There was a move to "save" the tower for a scenic view and tourism highlight, but unfortunately nothing ever came of this. Ultimately, of course, the tower was sold and razed. Perhaps someone else has better recollections to fill in some of the details.

By Dave of Mohawk on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:03 am:

The tower was so old and in poor condition that it was dangerous. Of course it was a liability headache for Lake Superior Land Co. That I'm sure was the reason for taking it down.

By m.obrien, ne. on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:07 am:

thanks for responding. MOB

By James, Los Gatos, CA on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:08 am:

I have a few photos of the tower in my photo guest gallery. They're old and were scaned but give an idea of the tower for those who never saw it.



By JAD, Oskar, MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:23 am:

Another nomination for the 2005 calendar. I really love the stuff that is typical of the Keweenaw. -- Halfway up the road from Lac LaBelle to US 41 is a horseshoe-shaped trail that heads West,loops behind Haven Falls and emerges on the snowmobile trail that begins just up the hill from the Little Gratiot River (That trail goes straight West along the North of Gratiot Lake to the end of the lake and then veers north to Delaware). I've skied it several times and one gets a beautiful view of Mt. Bohemia along the way. The horseshoe trail is not a groomed trail--either for machines or skis, probably best for snowshoeing.

By Rachel, Little Betsy on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:02 pm:

Sarah, stuck in OH:

I don't think I can handle the Triple Black Diamond runs on Bohemia. Think I'd rather wait and take the truck up in the summer!

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:09 pm:

Yep...that tower WAS a safety hazard...I climbed it in 1989 and it was really dangerous. The Kingston Shafthouse was a safety hazard too...climbed that in 1990...glad they blew it up.

Ya know, that durn Painesdale and Quincy shafthouse are safety hazards too..we should knock them down too...and maybe that darn siderail on Brockway...ya might hit it with your car. Ya know, da Calumet Firehouse and Theatre are really really old, we should knock those down too so no one gets hurt...

What...RESTORE? Nah...we need more Walmarts, McDonalds and Microbreweries up dere...

Oh yes, I saw a brick that had fallen off da Eagle Harbor Lighthouse....hmmmmmmm

By Vanessa G, Calumet, MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:12 pm:

I just LOVE Skypixs!!! They have such a great site, with pictures of our area :)!

By Troll, Lower MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:15 pm:

Peter, Victoria, Australia:
My mom was faciniated with Australia and always wanted to visit but sadly, never got to visit your lovely country or Finland, the land of our ancestors. She has since passed. Hopefully someday I will visit for her.

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:27 pm:

Sorry, all, about the not-so-veiled sarcasm in my previous post....just getting tired of all the local folks being so nonchalant as the history is torn down and vanishes, never to return...people need to stand up against the creeping intrusion of apathy to the past.

By yooper, MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:38 pm:

This is for ric, WI It sounds like your're not to happy w/ the U.P. and what the U.P has to offer. Hey!!

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:47 pm:

I owned a house in the UP (Keweenaw) for the better part of 16 years of my adult life...

And it's just sad to see it going away...call me sentimental, but it wasn't so bad without the no trespassing signs and all the creeping modernization...

I LOVE the UP...go up ther every year even now, once or twice, and it looks more and more like Door County every time...

I LOVE the clean air, the beautiful shorelines, the INCREDIBLY friendly people and am sorry I ever left.....

By Dave of Mohawk on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 12:56 pm:

It's always nice to see things preserved and restored. It would be nice if we could do more of that kind of thing; the problem is it takes money, and lots of money to do the restoration and preservation that we would all like to see. A lot of these old buildings are privately owned by people who do not have the financial means to be able to restore them. Anyone who would like to see more preservation please get out your checkbook and make donations to the Keweenaw Historical Society, a wonderful organization.

By Sarah, stuck in Ohio on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 01:17 pm:

Rachel from Little Betsy:
We'll go four wheeling up the back of the mountain. I don't think the truck could go up the steep face! Anyone else from Little Betsy going to join us? Norma? Mike? Chuck?

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 01:32 pm:

We used to take my Subaru Brat up the back side of Bohemia and explore the old mine shafts and the tower...it was a drive in the later years not for the faint of heart, as the road was deteriorating badly....The hike to the top from the road was nice also....one year we saw a red fox on the trail and prcupines used to be numerous there also....It was best in Fall with all the colors....

By David S. - CA. on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:18 pm:

Everything changes including the U.P. However, the Keweenaw does not change as fast as the rest of the country because of it's location and economy. But I do feel the the U.P. faces some very big changes in the near future simply because a lot of people are looking to retire in this area. About 40 million baby-boomers are coming of age (retirement) and they are definately going to be leaving the big city rat race, myself included. Small towns and communities should be getting ready for this now; it's going to happen.

By Bob, Hubbell on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:34 pm:

I can't remember what year it was, but My wife,
best friend Dave and I were the last people
to climb the tower for a great view of the Keweenaw.

We just happened to drive up the MTN, the last
water hole was always a bugger to get through,
as a man from Wisconsin who had purchased the
tower was beginning to dismantle it to move it
somewhere in Wisconsin.

He let us climb up for one last look, then we
proceded to sit at the bottom and watch him take
the top apart..

was sad to see it go, it was one of the best views
in the keweenaw.

Now we take our tourist friends on a hike up
lookout mtn just southeast of lake Baily for a
similar, tho not quite as high, view.

By Jurmu on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:36 pm:

Makes me glad I left.

By Rachel, Illinois on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:45 pm:

To Peter from Australia,

How did you hear about the UP and the Pasty.cam?
From Newsweek? That's great that the UP draws interest from so far away.


By Yooper in Wisconsin on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:47 pm:

That answers why everything is private and people tear the past down.....Baby Boomers, it is good they are retiring we will be able to work and play without the worry of a law suit.

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 02:55 pm:

Is it still possible to get to the bluffs above Copper Falls?

Just curious....that also was one of the best views....

By Al So.Cal on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 03:12 pm:

Peter, Australia, Didn't realize it got quite that hot so far south. Made it to Sydney & Perth in the late 60's, really enjoyed the country, weather & people. Of course, we were never far from the coast either. Al

By kewgal on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 04:01 pm:

ric- WI, Yes, it is still possible to get to the bluffs in Copper Falls, was up there during deer hunting, Great View from there! It might be private, because they did sell some land up that way, will have to check into that though.

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 04:24 pm:

wow, cool....used to camp up on the bluffs and watch the stars, ore carriers, northern lights...

Those were good times! used to be some prime apple picking areas up there too.....

By kewgal on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 04:34 pm:

ric-wi, When I was up there during deer hunting, there were four ore carriers and bitter cold too, the wind didn't stop blowing! Lots and lots of apple trees up in that area!

By steve, wi on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 04:38 pm:

Nice picture. Was there recently, snow was great.

By Peter ,Australia on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 04:50 pm:

G'day again . It is Tuesday morning here and I noticed a couple of comments /queries addressed to me so I thought I will answer briefly as work beckons.
I discovered Pasty cam through MTU Cams which I found accidently. I have been to Marquette and Mackinaw Island in the hot summer of 1988 and loved it ( brief as it was ).It does get hot here, but not day after day and humidity is low. To Troll , Lower Mi ,the long trip here is very worthwhile. Enjoy your fantastic community forum in Pasty.Com

By ric, WI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 05:26 pm:

Kewgal...u can be right about that wind on the bluffs...one time I, my son and 2 friends were camping up there, there was a thunderstorm, and the tent blew down on us! We retreated to a more safe area...after we returned the tent was located 200 yards down the hill in a tree...


By Uncle John on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 05:55 pm:

Youse who missed the great view of the Huron Mtns across Keweenaw Bay from that rickety old fire tower on Mt. Bohemia missed one of the very best and inspiring views in all of the CC. Youse who didn't know what I mean.

By just curious on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 06:27 pm:

What is the lake in the upper right hand corner of this picture behind the ski hill?

By robert MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 06:39 pm:

i dont have a clue either hard to tell

By Dave of Mohawk on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 06:39 pm:

Lake Medora.

By Bill P, Ca on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 06:39 pm:

My aunt and uncle built the Red Sands Resort in Lac La Belle and my family spent many vacations up there. We often climbed up the fire tower to talk to the fire warden on duty. One day as we talked we heard two other people talking and the ranger explained that under certain conditions the conversatios of people in the small boats carried up to the tower. We listened to fishermen discussing bait and lures. The most interesting conversations were between young lovers who thought they were alone..Anyway the secret is out and I often wonder if the phenomenon still exists. Do the skiers on top of the hill hear voices????

By robert MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 06:41 pm:

thanks dave

By Liz C., Ohio on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:21 pm:

I'm with you, Sarah...stuck in Ohio! I'd love to race you to the top of Bohemia. This picture brings back thrilling memories of skiing down it just this past winter. What a rush! I miss the beauty, but I'm enjoying the mild temps down here. Thanks, Pastycam and Mary, for your beautiful pictures every day. I appreciate you!!

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:48 pm:

JAD, the horseshoe road you describe is the old railroad roadbed that came down from the Conglomerate Mine in Delaware to the stamp mill at Haven Falls. The mill was the source of the "Red Sands". It was first built as narrow gauge about 1880. Later the Keweenaw Central used the same roadbed for its standard gauge operations. The track did go all the way done to the shoreline. The KC didn't run very many freight trains down there once it was built, but did run summer excursion trains down to Lac la Belle, these were popular trips. The grade was so steep, my Grandfather told about the bit of Copper Country humor where young guys riding the train back up the hill would jump off on the lower portion of the horseshoe and walk across to the upper leg to taunt the locomotive engineer about the slow pace. It was easy to reboard their cars as they passed by.
Since Thomas Hoatson was a big shareholder of the KC and his summer home was at Bete Gris, I suspect that was a reason the line stayed open as long as it did.
Notice the sled tracks way out on Lac la Belle - must be good ice this year!

By Anmarg67, Royal Oak, MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 07:52 pm:

To Peter, Australia. My trip to New Zealand and Australia in 1994 was the most memorable of my many travels throughout the world! Highlights in Australia included snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and a dinner in the Australian Outback. After a sumptuous meal which included both emu and kangaroo, all the lantern lights were shut off and we sat in the dark marveling at the absolute stillness and the beautiful Southern Cross and other stars which seemed to hang right over our heads. Oh, another adventure was a camel ride near Alice Springs. Would love to go back again some day to hear the didgeridoos and the Australian accents of our tour guides. Hope you can return to Michigan's Upper Peninsula again soon. The Yooper accent is interesting too.

By yooper, Racine on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 08:20 pm:

ric, i'm with you. Good answer to all, giver!!

By Doug the Troll on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 10:37 pm:

Lac LaBelle holds a special place in my heart. Many a summer vacation spent here. So nice to see it in winter.

By JAD, Oskar, MI on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:58 pm:

Paul in IL--thanks for the info. Clarence Monette's booklet on Lac LaBelle has a map (p.51)showing the layout of the railroad. Also included
are great historic photos from the Keweenaw Hist. Society and the MTU Archives: the stamp mill (including one photo with the stack), the tower (he dates the day of dismantling as Labor Day, 1983 at 8am!), RR tracks along what is now the road, remains of Don Olson's gas station, the docks at the resort, a 1846 line drawing of the Mendota Mine site, Uno Isaacson in the store,the "oldest home" in the Keweenaw, the Lac LaBelle PO (It is now 2 stories if you know what I mean), and much more.

By Jack in CT on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 08:40 am:

I've read in a few different places about Clarence Monette's books and was wondering if the whole series was available somewhere. I saw one web site that listed over 40 books but it was just a list.

Editor's Note: Copper World, one of our sponsors, has a special page of Clarence Monette's books for sale.

By Debbie - U.P. on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 10:20 am:

To Jack in CT:
The Copper World in Calumet has quite a few of Clarence Monette's books. I have also been lucky enough to obtain a few at the Backroom Bookstore in Houghton. I would try a search to see if either have websites that you can contact.

By Kathleen O'Brien, MD on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 01:03 pm:

I climbed the Bohemia tower with my friends, the
Prehodas, two or three times over the course of my
childhood and young adulthood. Thanks, guys. Best
views of the Keweenaw besides the west ridge,
Brockway and Bumbletown. The first time I think I was
around 8 or 9. I was a little afraid as we got closer to
the top, but it was all worth it. I hold the memories, the
images, and that day tight as they are some of my
happiest moments as a kid. I remember thinking I
shouldn't look down but that I should look out towards
the water. Seems to have done the trick. I learned how
conquer a little fear by just doing it. It was exhilerating.
'Course it didn't ever take much to get the Prehodas to
make any day trip an adventure. I couldn't not climb
hills, trees, or anything else high after that first time.
Too bad it's a ski hill - I miss it wild. That was better.
That's my two cents. Keep it all wild - your great-great
grandchildren will thank you for it. Invest in your
families & your heritage - not a Walmart. Limit
development as much as you can.

By Tera on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 03:57 pm:

Jack in CT:
All you have to do is go to amazon.com and search for Charles Monette. I tried to see if he was on there and came up with 141 results.

By Therese Dimet on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 10:15 pm:

His Name is Clarence Monette an I have all his books an they are in the copper world as they have the most an He has redone some an make more pages,

By Therese Dimet on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 10:19 pm:

By the way Rick how come your picture in Hubbell don't include where claire & Art chaput lives as children as i found my house a cross from St Cecilia Church but the pine trees weren't there then an the house sure has changes .Say Hi to Art an Claire

By Scott Wi. on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 12:22 am:

It's one of those circles, the charactor
remains somewhat due to the economy. Some
things go away but not as fast as if there
were jobs and a booming economy. But some
of the old charactor is due to when
the economy was booming. Frankly I'd rather
do with less and have things change slowly.
Things today are so crazy in the cities
like Madison,Wausau or Eau Claire. More Warehouse
stores then anybody needs.

What I'd give for a house on the side of
the Houghton or Hancock Hill with a view.

By Alberto on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 11:23 am:

this picture is sweet. i can see my camp. Bohemia is the best ski hill in the Mid West. Go Bohemia

By Jack in CT on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 05:38 pm:

Thank you all for your many replies. I will check out the places and sites you recommended.
Thanks again for your courtesy and help.

By Mike, MI on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 04:24 pm:

Hey, ric from WI, i agreee, we should take down old buildings and put the new buildings we need and turn this ghost town into at least a small city, as they say, "out with the old and in with the new." the mines and old buildings are unsafe and fire hazards

By EIKI on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 06:48 pm:

GEE Mike are you..BEING SARCASTIC or serious? Did you READ above that Ric was being sarcastic EH.

By ric on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 12:14 pm:

Mike's just a bit out of it, I think.....

By Alex, Michigan on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 10:59 am:

This picture is awesome! I would love to see the people going down the hill and anotherf shot of the lake! Please!!! Thankyou so much!

By Bob Jewell from Farmington Hills on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 09:24 am:

Sunday's Detroit Free Press had an article on Mt. Bohemia.

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