Outside looking in showed carvers working their gourds with whimsical precision on tables well covered with newspaper and plastic. The crackling of logs on the fire sounded exactly like we were in the middle of a journal. Candles and oil wick lamps were placed in such a way as to enhance the camp atmoshere. Those books referenced in his writing were within hand's reach. Let's not forget the hot pumpkin pies as they slid from oven to plate .... forget the cooling part!
Meeting new Keweenaw residents, catching up on familial news with folks from my era, and learning names while wishing the forgetfulness part of age wasn't wisping in and out of my brain. The generations: "I babysat you!" "And, I babysat your children!" Meeting a new Calumet High School freshman (2008) her brother, Quick Silver (and future Eagle Harbor fireman...Start it. Put it out with experienced assistance), and their delightful mom. Of course, their paternal grandparents have a home in Idaho which puts these gigglers at the top of my list. They are the new "carry on" generation that will echo from the hills and ridges of the Keweenaw as generations before them echo today.
The full moon eclipse was hidden by rolling clouds as fully carved pumpkins marched to their display area. When this is read, the gourds of 2004 will have become deer fodder.
Thank you, George, for creating another small adventure where we were able to be willing participants."
Firstly, I would like to commend George Hite for his great insite, for creating this Web Site, and for his interest and committment to maintaining it over the years. ( I know what it takes to keep things going, I have served as the City of Hancock Photographer/Digital Imager for the City's Web site since it's inception at the beginning of 1998).
I first started coming to the Harbor in the WW2 years, to my Grandparents cottage, 1/2 mile East of 7th. St. off of M26. The Percox were our east neighbors, and the Odgers were our west neighbors. Through my high school years, college years, and business years (WHDF), along with my wife, we summered at the cottage. Those of us, now a bit older, remember the old 'L' shaped public dock that extended out from across the street from what was then the Westlake cottages (remember all the tall trees!).
And of course, the forays up to, and thru, Pine Grove Cemetary. many school and Eagle Harbor acquaintainces remain in the area. Remember our summer treks up to 'Old Baldy'. The Frisbee years, with Tim Healy and family, along with Jon Davis, and others (I take some pride in being one of the national/international wire service story providers), were, and always will be, one of my better memories of E.H..
But, of course, the best memories,are of the people...the beach get-togethers, the card games, the sun burns, and those we saw every day...(like Jean, Barbara, Ann, Jim, and others I will remember forever, the crazy water skiing (hi Jim B.)..(I still remember an incident concerning the then MI Senator Leo Roy...for those who were involved).
The lazy, hazy, crazy, days, of summer. Those summer days in Eagle Harbor, before the realities of life after school became really important, when the only important fact was whether we could hit the beach, or not. I was in CHS Class of '56. The Cold War was then hot, Korea was just over, and no one knew what was coming next. But Eagle Harbor, in the summer, was exempt from all that, it was our youthful refuge, in an age where some innocence had been lost, but we were not aware of the next 50 years. Only, do we go to the main beach, or, across the harbor. And, where, at night?
It was before property values began soaring in the 1980's, as increasing populations, corporate jet availabilitys, (great ILS system at CMX), (and with soaring property valuations came soaring MI property taxes...which led to land holding companys having to sell off long term holdings), that have brought us to a new Keweenaw land holding situation.
I wish Eagle Harbor the best, ( and the Keweenaw). I was a long time part of it. My best wishes to all who remember me (and my wife, Mary). For me... I wlll in my mind, and heart, be a part of the Keweenaw, and especially Eagle Harbor, forever.
Roland Bruce Burgan, Hancock, MI firstname.lastname@example.org
We never caught many fish but I will always remember walking down to the dock at Anderson's and watching the commercial fishermen come in for lunch or whatever. The lunch menu consisted of sardines a la can, bread ( not sliced) and sweet onions ( sliced ). To make sure everything was digested, a little beer was always consumed. What impressed me the most about these men, who were so close to Mother Nature, was that their life style was hard work, but they enjoyed every minute of it.
Years later we would return to Anderson's and try unsuccessfully to catch fish. But every time I walked down to the dock, I would remember the impression that these men made on a kid from the city that took everything for granted. Now, the commercial fishing has almost disappeared, as are the people whose lives depended on it. But memories of the lifestyle of some hardy individuals in the Keewenaw will always stay with me."
We lived in the big white house next to the light house. I remember playing in the basement of the house and there were these big tanks of something (gas or oil maybe?) that my brother and I used to hide near. I also remember the house being very cold in the winter. I have never seen as much snow as I remember when I lived there. The plow would come right to the back door of the house when it plowed and oh the drifts along the driveway that it created! We had endless hours of fun in the snow!
There was a small rock 'beach' on the property that we would collect bits of smooth glass and copper from. And the small inlet next to the light house always smelled of dead fish in the summer months! There were tons of washed up, dead fish laying all over the rocks. I can remember like it was yesterday how clear the water was and how far down you could see to the bottom. My brother and I would climb over all the rocks on the shore and hope that we didn't fall in! Oh and how cold the water always was! I remember swimming at the beach--but not very often!
I know that the nearest school was 45 minutes away back then. We would walk to the beach and sit on top of the little 3 tiered, merry-go-round to wait for the bus. I was often late for school because of the weather! It was always dark when we left for school too!
From the pictures on the web site(s) I can see that the town hasn't changed much. I have told my husband all about Eagle Harbor and I hope to someday bring my family up to see it. Is the small hotel/restaurant still there? I think there was only 1 of them. Also, is the Coast Guard station still in operation?
Thanks for all the memories that your pictures have brought back. I will hopefully see everything in person sometime soon!
I grew up in Copper Harbor in the house that my father grew up in. My dad, William Howard Bergh (he went by his middle name) was about 12 or 13 years old when the City of Bangor ran aground on the Peninsula quite a bit north of the Copper Harbor lighthouse. The men on the boat were from Detroit and most were not dressed for Copper Country winter. They were wearing loafer shoes and their coats were not warm enough. They were able to get off the boat and waded through hip-deep snow drifts until they got to the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper then walked from the lighthouse to the west end of Copper Harbor to my grandma and grandpa's house. My grandpa was outside and heard the swish of the lighthouse keeper's oil slicker pants as he walked, knew who it was from the sound, and knew there was trouble. My grandparents had just butchered a pig for meat for the winter, so had enough provisions. The crew of the Bangor came and stayed at my grandparents house, lying all over the floor as they thawed and melted. My grandmother tended frostbite and hypothermia, and made sure they were well fed.
Later on, they were able to get most of the cars off the boat and drive them over the ice, through the Harbor to land. Some of the cars were washed overboard. My dad was able to help drive some of the cars. That was one of his favorite stories to tell about his memories of growing up in Copper Harbor. Our family has some great pictures of the long lines of cars being driven across the ice and of some of the cars on the deck of the City of Bangor. They were so covered with ice they had to be chiseled out!
The book by "Mac" Frimodig, "Keweenaw Character" has a story on my grandmother, Ida Bergh, who was Sherriff of Keweenaw County when my grandfather died suddenly, just hours into his second term as Sheriff. She was then re-elected to a second term. My dad was working in Detroit at the time of my grandfather's death. He quit his job in Detroit and came back to the Keweenew to help his mother. He served as her Deputy while she was sheriff, and then moved with her back to Copper Harbor and built the housekeeping cottages that are now Bergh's Resort, as a way for my grandmother to help support herself.
My father passed away March 28, 1999 at the age of 85."
Martha (Bergh) Lantz
(Editor Note.) The Keweenaw County Historical Society recently acquired perhaps the last surviving salvaged City of Bangor car, a 1927 Crysler touring car. The car and a photo story of the wreck and salvage operation will be placed on display at the Eagle Harbor Light Station this summer.
As the snow swirled outside I heard, "You have a choice of Strawberry, Vanilla, Maple Nut, or Chocolate ice cream for desert." I looked around expecting to see Mary Francisco's patient face reciting that litany. "Two scoop Maple Nut cone, please!" "Only 1 scoop comes with supper and it's in a dish." "That will be fine." "I bet it isn't a nickle a scoop, huh." No, ma'm, it comes with your meal."
I know that fresh faced spud farm student didn't have a clue why her tip was a bit more generous. The rest of the drive through Island Park, West Yellowstone, and up the Gallatin Canyon to Big Sky skimmed along bouyed by those echoes from the past...."A two scoop maple nut cone, please."
(Liz Boorman Benson, Pocatello ID)
Thus started another facet of my Eagle Harbor saga. A young girl, by the name of Jean Brown, was employed at Tom and Katherine Jilbert's restaurant. We dated very casually. Then when I was discharged from the Navy in June of 1946 we culminated another Eagle Harbor romance by getting married. We spent our honeymoon in the Rhines cottage for the summer and then ended up with Jean waiting table and Bob washing dishes at the Lake Breeze Hotel. Jean spent the next three years helping me to struggle through to my BS in Electrical Engineering at Mich. Tech.
We have spent 53 years without missing spending some part of the each summer at Eagle Harbor (or Agate Harbor). We bought our own cottage in 1969 up in the Pines near Eliza Creek, and then as retirement loomed in the future we decided we needed larger quarters. We were lucky enough to find a lovely cottage located on the shoreline at Agate Harbor, purchased it in 1979 and have been here ever since.
I haven't mentioned my winter stay on Isle Royale. Oh well. That was my mother's claim to fame. I Iive in her reflected glory.(Bob Simonson)
Editor's Note:Bob's mom taught school at a fishing station on Isle Royale in 1932-1933 and subsequently published, "Diary of an Isle Royale School Teacher". I've encouraged Bob to share with us HIS recollections of spending a winter on the Island as a six year old boy.
I always take my Labrador, Abbey, with me everywhere. We decided to visit the Copper Harbor cemetery very early in the morning as no restaurants were open for breakfast yet. We exited the truck and I began to read and appreciate the history from the inscriptions on the grave markers. All of a sudden Abbey pulled hard on her leash and I pulled her back quickly. Everything was quiet and I was a bit concerned so early in the morning about a bear passing near after its visit to the local trash bins at the cottages and restaurants. The sun was barely visible to greet the day and I was totally alone. Abbey glared intently down the dirt road toward the entrance of the cemetery. After expecting a large bear, what I saw was a "red dog" strutting up the dirt path oblivious of the fact that there was a lady and her "ferocious" pet blocking its direction. I noticed that it stared intently at Abbey and wasn't a bit nervous about its plans and approaching mission. Either was my "ferocious" pet, Abbey!
I dragged Abbey to the truck and physically put her inside with me jumping in right behind her. Feeling a bit more secure, I rolled down the window and looked to see what the morning visitor was going to do. She was a beautiful red fox and came within 3 feet of the truck, sat down, and stared into the cab in a confident,nonassertive manner. I thought, "What now?" After a stare-down between the fox, myself, and ferocious Abbey the Lab, everything became calm.
I decided to wait out the fox to see what she would do as it was clear she controlled the situation. I wanted to read the other head stones far back in the cemetery, but I didn't want this "keeper of the cemetery" to be within the premises to entice the wrath of Abbey who is no meaner than the wag of her tail! So . . . I decided to play the waiting game. After a few minutes of Red Fox sitting by my truck, I thought I heard some noises. I wasn't sure so I listened more intently. Sure enough, I heard young mewing and I ealized that "Red Fox" was a new mother and was protecting her young who were waiting by one of the old gravestones for her nourishing return.
I felt like an intruder and humbly backed slowly from the cemetery. I feel confident that whomever is buried at that site would find pleasure that his grave was ground for new life.
Looking forward to 5 weeks at Copper Harbor this summer and the chance to renew my soul! :>) (Mary B. from Toledo, Ohio, and Abbey the Labby!)
Grandpa and I used to stop at the dump and watch the bears rummaging through their domain. We used to sit in the car and laugh at the bears licking out of cans, standing up with their paunchy bellies sniffing for some little tidbit.
I now live in Minnesota north of Duluth and I love to go down to the waterfront but there is no place in the world like Eagle Harbor. My mother made a special trip there with my father to take a photo of the light house and that photo hangs in my home reminding me of summer, childhood days, Tom and Catherine Jilbert, trips to the Eagle Harbor store with grandpa, Fourth of July fireworks, and a visual panoramic view of Lake Superior that equals no other on this planet. I have been to Florida, California, Washington and a lot of states in between but there is no place like Michigan, my Michigan. (Kathleen Jackman Hiltunen)
He was not thrilled to see us arrive mid-morning, but eventually, agreed to talk with us (as he peeked out the cabin door). We were told that the way to Bill's heart was to bring gifts, so we did. We brought batteries (most prized - to run his transistor radio - on 24 hrs a day), some cans of soup and some tobacco. He accepted the gifts, but complained that we should have brought him some wine.
We were invited into the cabin to sit awhile. What a place, walls covered with pages from various magazines and on the ceiling too. He gave us a tour of the grounds, his outdoor sleeping hammock, the well, and some of his stuff. The most interesting item that he showed us was a failed invention he attempted to perfect. He had taken an old rotary lawn mower without an engine, and on it, he mounted an old phonograph player he had. He "claimed" that it almost worked, but the blade would not turn fast enough to cut grass. I'm not sure about this - since Bill had no electricity - but we enjoyed the story. Bill told us some bear stories and introduced us to a cat he had. His most recent dog had just passed away, and he was a bit distressed about that.
We ended the visit, and that was the last we saw of the hermit (as he was known to us). In future years, we always stopped and put some stuff in his M-26 mailbox, but never went to visit again. (Jim and Barb Wachowski, 3/99)
The flashback was of course to the pre-boombox era. (If my brother reads this, he will claim he can't remember that far back but he really can.) The beach would be spotted with bonfires and as the evening wore on, people (mostly kids) began to sing. Either we were in better voice then or the songs were easier to sing or (probably more likely) we were all so tone deaf that we thought we sounded pretty good. Harbor Lights was always a favorite; Moments to Remember another. I wonder how many people of a certain era could recall the words to Old Cape Cod if asked. When we ran out of current songs, we reverted to those from summer camp: White Coral Bells, In the Evening by the Moonlight, Moonlight Bay.
Sand in the shoes, the probability of being thrown in the lake, smelling like bonfire, and the sounds of singing--all part of the summer magic we treasured.(Jean Ellis)
The mixture of fulltime residents and summer folks made for alot of fun..bonfires on the beach with Mark and Gigi Scrutton, Timmy Ellis, the Healy's ...and all those kids whose last names didn't seem important...Chris from Ludington, Thea, Daphne and Katy, the big brawny kid we called Yogi....what a great time. And all under the watchful eye of *Constable* Timmy Mello. Does anybody know these people?
Back then the mine dumps were still fresh and huge, the bear pit at the dump near the delaware road was a main source of entertainment at dusk, and the firetower on Mt Bohemia was relatively sound.
I was part of the *team* that recovered the huge ship's rudder from the harbor entrance that resided in front of Raley's place at the foot of the dock for years..is it still there? I was there that July 4th when the beaver dam broke loose above Copper Falls and washed out M-26 at Jacob's Falls...wow!!
I remember sitting on the dunes at Sand Bay one summer night when I was 13 or so, mesmerized by the Lake, and awed by the spectacular show of northern lights. I thought to myself, "this surely is the most magical place on earth"...I have since been many places, but have yet to find one that could supplant that particular moment as the most special....
Your web page is wonderful....refreshing the dusty memories of a time *long ago*. I have only been to EH once since 1978. I brought my family through on a *whirlwind* tour in '92, and was surpised to find the mine dumps leveled, the bear pit gone, the lighthouse a museum, and the Leaning Giant of the Estivants felled by some passerby with no sense of pride in the Keweenaw..some things necessary, some not. Bud and Gratia were there, their place relatively unchanged, and that Kawasaki still looking like it did in 1972!! One thing I do know for sure. After all those years, I still long to while away the summer days in God's Country!!!Tom Voytovich, Tulsa, OK, VOYTO@aol.com
But of all the things that made the Harbor special, the best was the way new people were made welcome and included. There's no doubt that Mary Kay Carlton was the leader in this. How often we would hear her say, "There's someone new visiting at so and so's (or the hotel cottages, Westlake's, etc.). Let's go get them." And off the bunch would troop to knock on a door and invite the new kid to join the mass of Harborites.
This added a wonderful dimension to being in the Harbor. During the winter, we wrote (sporadically, in my case) to people from Texas, Alabama, California, the Midwest, and other places. All these people extended our acquaintances and enriched our lives in one way or another. It also clearly made a more pleasant vacation for families who would have been stuck with unhappy teenagers. Some of them probably contributed new ideas on some of the pretty stupid things in the first paragraph.
What a wonderful thing to learn, especially as an adolescent--to reach out to new people, include them as friends, learn from them, and have everyone grow from the experience. Thanks, Mary Kay. May the Harbor people always follow your example. (Jean Ellis)
The picture is one of profound solitude reinforced with a striking sense of peace, evoking an intense flow of personal emotions. This picture brings me down a winding path framed by thimbleberry bushes, over the heap of driftwood which plays home to field mice and bears the immortal mark of the love I share with Billy, as our names are carved deeply into its veins. It brings me to the rocky shoreline of Lake Superior, where I carefully watch my footing as I navigate to my destination... a theater where I see the infinite blue waters swallow the sun at nightfall from the my seat in the audience: the rock I call "my thinking spot."
My rock is a place where I am not only a part of the world, but the world is also a part of me. The waves below roll through my veins, crashing onto the rocky shoreline of my soul, still managing to splash me somehow. There is music all around me. That powerful crash and the bell buoy's chime, synchronized with a faint rustle of wind through the oaks, keep time with the proverbial metronome ticking within my chest. The wind is biting, but the fire in my soul keeps me warm. This is my moment... one that has no worldly significance, but will never fall into obscurity.
My rock is
a place where I am alone. Alone with my thoughts. Alone with my dreams.
Alone with God. A place where being alone isn't lonely. In solitude we are
least alone. (Jessica Lishinski)
Young Jessica, still in her teens, died from injuries sustained in a skateboard accident not long after submitting this precious memory of her happy days in Eagle Harbor. A tremendous loss to all were touched, even briefly, by her beautiful presence and wonderous spirit.
"Lake Superior Christmas Memories." by Liz (Boorman) Benson
"A Slow Day At Eagle Harbor." by Elaine Johnson
"Shore Breakfast at Esery Park." by George Hite
"Making Thimbleberry Jam" by Sharon (Kellow) MacKenzie
"How About Some Ice For A Drink" by Fred Kellow
"The Sure Cure" by George Hof
"The Popeye Run" by Michael Lothamer
"Remembering Grandparents", by Jennifer Ellis.
"Frolicking On The Old Dock", by Fred Kellow
"The Prelude To The Grand Dance", by Tim Ellis.
"Surfing The Rocks", by Marilynn Ehrenreich.
"Jumping Off Lighthouses", by the Szefi (McCarthy) family.
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