This wonderful photo made me want to know more about Houghton, Michigan, so here’s an edited profile of Houghton via Wikipedia:
Houghton is located on the south shore of Portage Lake, across from Hancock. (see map) Native Americans mined copper in and around what would later be Houghton thousands of years before European settlement. French explorers had noted its existence in the area as early as the seventeenth century, and in 1772 Alexander Henry had prospected for copper on the Ontonagon River near Victoria. When Horace Greeley said, “Go West, young man” he wasn’t referring to gold, but rather the copper rush in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.
The city is named after Douglass Houghton, physician-naturalist on Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s Lake Superior expedition whose 1841 report on the quantity and superior qualities of UP copper earned him the title of “father of copper mining in the United States.” The news brought many Cornish and Finnish immigrants to the area, along with smaller numbers of French-Canadian immigrants arrived in Houghton (or Copper Island as they called it) to work in the copper mines. These groups have had and continue to have a great influence on the area’s culture and cuisine.
In Houghton’s first days it was said that “only thieves, crooks, murderers and Indians” lived there. The post Civil War boom and increasing demand for copper wiring fueled the development of Houghton in the 1860s and 1870s. The Keweenaw Waterway, a dredging and extension of the Portage Lake, the Portage Shipping Canal and Lily Pond that turned the northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula into “Copper Island” was completed in 1873. By 1880 Houghton had become “a burgeoning city” and in 1883, the railroad was extended from Marquette.
The last nearby mines closed in the late 1960s, but in 1885 the Michigan State Legislature foundedthe Michigan College of Mines to teach metallurgy and mining engineering. The school continues today as Michigan Technological University – the primary employer in the city.
Houghton has the distinction of being the birthplace of professional ice hockey in the United States when the Portage Lakers were formed in 1903, and Houghton’s Dee Stadium (formerly the Amphidrome) is the home of the Portage Lake Pioneers Senior Hockey Team.
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More Houghton on Michigan in Pictures.