Sep 02-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: September: Sep 02-02
Big ship on the Big Lake    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Ben Kilpela

Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 06:53 am:

I was delighted to find this close-up in our photo inbox:

Hi, Charlie. Here's a shot of the Edgar B. Speer 7 miles off Copper Harbor one recent night on the Isle Royale Queen III Sunset Cruise. The Speer is 1000 feet long, one of the largest ships in the world. It is a regular visitor to the waters off the Keweenaw, mostly carrying iron ore. This night, the Spear had a load of 63,000 tons of coal headed for St. Clair, Michigan south of Port Huron. ...Ben Kilpela
Thanks, Captain Ben, and have a pleasant Labor Day.
Brian in Hancock MI on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 08:49 am:

Thanks Ben for the close-up. It is such a close-up that I was curious how it looks a bit farther away. So... being a holiday and having some time to kill I decided to do a search. Here are some links that show pictures of the Edgar B. Speer that might add perspective to this giant. It must have been impressive to be so close.
Impressive view here:
Here's one with the ship covered in ice:
This site has a slideshow but can take a while and has a lot of similar pics.
Don't bother with the last one unless you are either obsessive or have a cable connection.
Have a great Labor Day everyone.

By Sherry Chapman, Michigan on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 10:55 am:

What a great picture!
I have a question that I hope someone can assist on. This may not be the right forum for it, but I don't know where else to ask.
I was reading the book of the diary of the schoolmaster who worked at Cliff in the 1800's. He talked about the Cliff cemetery, which sparked my interest in going to see it. I'd ridden by the brown sign marker many times. So last summer we decided to take a look at it. When we pulled in, the brush was so dense my husband had to get out with a SAW and clear our way thru. Then the road had such a huge hole in it, we saw we could go no further. So we got out and walked. We walked down this nice path a long ways and still saw nothing. I started thinking about bears, and we decided to give up and turn back.
Does anyone know how far the cemetery is on the path? (We walked to the right after getting so far in with our van.) I assume it's still back there (?). I wish the road sign would have had a little more info on it. Does anyone have any photos of it?? Any replies would be much appreciated - either on here or e-mailed privately. Thanks! - Sherry Chapman

By Candy, CA on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 12:05 pm:

Sherry, these might get you started on finding out exactly where the cemetery is. I've been there several times, but it's been a while and I don't want to steer you in the wrong direction. You might want to contact the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce ( in Houghton or the Keweenaw Historical Society ( with several locations. Also, the Keweenaw County Sheriff Department (906-337-0528) can probably tell you exactly how to get there. Meantime, check these links:

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 12:10 pm:

There are two Cliff Cemeteries. The Catholic Cemetery is right off US 41. It is a short walk through the bush and there is a relatively easy path to follow. You will find some old plot fences, some downed headstones, some restored headstones, and the foundation of the Cliff Catholic church which was moved to Phoenix. This one is in low ground and can be very wet. My Grandmother told the story of water rising out of the hole when they buried "Mutter" Long next to Joseph Long. My cousin Alan Long said that when some bodies were moved during the '20's and '30's, they were petrified due to the high mineral content of the ground water.
The other, the Protestant Cemetary, is off the Cliff Drive where it is marked by a sign. Take the "road" (trail) north - up hill- and if you know where to look there is a path to the left that will take you to the cemetary. It is in much the same shape except there has been less restorations. If you get into some steep and eroded portions of the first trail you have gone too far. The trail will take you all the way to the mine on top which is a nice walk but you won't find the cemetery.

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 01:21 pm:

photo by Jonathan Hopper
I had an adventure across the road from this sign, with a man who grew up at this very spot. One day back in '97, one of our Still Waters residents, Charlie Paaloharvey, asked me to drive him to look for the foundations of his old home. We went into the overgrown field across from this sign, and found the spot where his home stood back in the early 1900's. I wish I had recorded that conversation, as he described the Cliff Mine, and what it was like to grow up with the other miner's kids. He went on to become a miner himself.

Charlie told me about the 2 cemeteries located here, one in the direction the sign points, a place we have hiked many times, and another cemetery behind where his house once stood. The sign above is the one on Cliff Drive (from the Pasty Cam archives, June 23, 1998.)
By Melissa, Grand Ledge, MI on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 05:09 pm:

I visited both cemeteries a week ago and there is now a sign on the trail to the Protestant one, after you branch off the main road to the left. The trail forks and a sign points left to the cemetery and right to the mine.

What a neat experience that must have been Charlie, to help one of your residents find his childhood home.

By Janie on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 05:52 pm:

I can relate to this photo of the Speer even though I live in Cedar Rapids, Ia.! A couple of years ago my husband and I took in a sunset cruise under Capt. Donny and chased downed the Misabi Miner another 1000 footer. One of our best vacations ever! If anyone can grab a chance at this cruise...take it!

By Marc, offshore GoM/Tamarack City on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 02:32 am:

Captain Ben, thanks for the great shot! Also thanks to Brian for the great links!! I spend 6 mos/yr at sea and see the great oil/LNG tankers steam by me every day but it's the ships I see at home in the Copper Country that are really exciting. Nothing like seeing a "Big One" cruise thru the Portage or shelter in the Lily Pond:)

By Donna on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 05:12 am:

AWESOME links to boats and to cemeteries! Thanks folks!!!

By Julie IN on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 09:46 am:

Wow, I, too, checked out the Cliff cemetary in late July. I drove up some road, crossed a creek and up a hill then followed a trail. I guess I came across the protestant cemetary, it was pretty small. My question is, how do you get to the mine? How far up the right fork of the trail do you go?

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 04:27 pm:

Julie, here's a shot of the old Cliff mine entrance, as seen on the Pasty Cam back in 1998. You take the first right cutoff past the creek, then turn left at the row of trees. Cody thought he heard a bear in there.


Sherry Chapman, Michigan on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 06:32 pm:

Wow! Thanks for all the neat information! I didn't know there were two cemeteries, and didn't know the mine was there. Sounds like we have some exploring to do next summer! Does anyone have any pictures of the cemetery(ies)? Thanks so much for the links, the story from Paul which I loved, and everyone's response.

By Lachlan MacDonald, CA on Wednesday, September 4, 2002 - 12:40 am:

My grandfather, Nicholas Schick, took me to his father's grave (Joseph Schick, fatally injured in Cliff Mine)in the Catholic Cemetery behind Paaloharvey's house, when I was five (1934). It was swampy even then. In the 1950s he could no longer find his way to the cemetery. I came from Alaska on a visit and used a double-bitted axe to cut a trail from US 41 to the cemetery. Later a sign was placed on the highway. William Gilbert inventoried the stones and sites for a genealogy website of Keweenaw cemeteries. (That led to our discovering that we are cousins.) Please respect this historic location, and keep the trail free of trash.

By rwj--ill. on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 12:07 pm:

edgar b. speer does not haul coal--ship is designed to haul iron ore pellets only.

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