Rainbow Reflected

Rainbow Reflected, photo by Eric Hackney Photography

My position is that should take your rainbows as they come – here’s a beauty featuring the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton taken this Sunday!

View the photo bigger and see more in Eric’s Chasing the Rainbow album on Facebook.

Many more Michigan rainbows & more rainbow science on Michigan in Pictures!

Super Moon over the Lift Bridge


Super Moon over the Lift Bridge, photo by Eric Hackney

Marvelous shot of the nearly full Supermoon over the Portage Lake Lift Bridge that connects the UP cities of Houghton & Hancock.

View Eric’s photo bigger, see more in his 11-13-16: Supermoon Rise slideshow, and definitely follow Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook!

More from Houghton on Michigan in Pictures!

High above Houghton, Michigan

Houghton Michigan

goodnight, pretty little town, photo by brockit, inc.

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.

Click for more from Wikipedia and please feel free to share tidbits in the comments.

View Adam’s photo background bigilicious on Facebook and definitely follow brockit for tons more cool photos!

More Houghton on Michigan in Pictures.

Heavenly curtain at the Phoenix Church

A special Sunday “I changed the cover of the Michigan in Pictures Facebook” edition of Michigan in Pictures.

God is Light

God is light, photo by Jiqing Fan

The Keweenaw County Historical Society page about their Phoenix Church in Houghton explains:

St. Mary’s Church was built in 1858 to serve the Catholic residents in the nearby mining community of Cliff, scene of the area’s first major copper discovery in 1844. Services continued until 1899 when the church was dismantled and reassembled in Phoenix, where it was renamed The Church of the Assumption. Masses were held until 1957, when the last service marked a century of providing spiritual guidance to mining families and their descendants.

In 1985 the Keweenaw County Historical Society took over the property and began extensive repair and restoration work. The church now appears much as it did when folks from another century knelt in prayer, a fitting memorial to one chapter of Keweenaw’s proud heritage. Although now deconsecrated, the church is still used for weddings and memorial services.

More on Pheonix Church from the Keweenaw County Historical Society.

View his photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Houghton & UP Mich slideshow.

More northern lights and more churches on Michigan in Pictures.

Heikki Lunta alias Hank Snow alias the Guy Responsible for the Snow

Houghtons Heikki Lunta

Hancock’s Heikki Lunta, photo by Mark Riutta / Defined Visuals

I know that many folks in southern Michigan are wondering where the heck all this snow came from. Last night I realized that a friend of mine was actually responsible!

Yooper Steez tells the Legend of Finnish snow god Heikki Lunta:

The name is now often associated with an annual winter festival in Negaunee, but it’s creation is linked to an annual snowmobile race held in Atlantic Mine. In 1970, the U.P. was having one of those winters where it doesn’t snow as much as we might like, which was threatening the success of the race. To increase support, radio salesman David Riutta wrote the “Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song.” This song created the fictional Heikki Lunta as a creature that lived in the backwoods of Tapiola, twenty miles south of Houghton, and would perform a dance to make it snow. The song went on U.P. airwaves and was a success, and incidentally it did snow that year, causing the snowmobile race to be postponed on account of too much snow.

The song gained popularity enough to be mentioned on “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show,” and the radio salesman was even invited to sing the song for winter events in California.

As anyone who has been through an Upper Peninsula winter knows, the snow can become relentless, and by the end of that winter, Riutta wrote “Heikki Lunta Go Away,” which is now often paired with the initial song.

The name Heikki Lunta comes from the Finnish translation of the name Hank Snow, like the popular country and western singer.

Read on for more including videos of the Heikki Lunta Song by Da Yoopers and also see Heikki Lunta – A Modern Copper Country Folk Hero at Pasty.com. If you want to go in depth, Hilary Virtanen presents a detailed and fascinating history of this distinctly Yooper phenomenon from 1970 to the present day with press clippings and more in Not Just Talking About the Weather: Tradition, Social Change and Heikki Lunta (use the dates on the left to navigate).

View Mark’s photo bigger and see his work at Defined Visuals on Facebook.

PS: When he’s not making it snow, Adam is also a fantastic photographer. See his work, some of which is potentially NSFW depending on where you work, at brockit.com.

The Houghton Blitz: Lighting the Quincy Mine


2014-houghton-blitz-2978, photo by Christopher Schmidt

“Our children were born here and now we have five grandchildren to celebrate also. We have proud geological roots here. We think the shaft should be bright on our birthdays, and this would be a good way to support geoheritage and the QMHA. We hope other local families will consider doing this.”
~Bill and Nanno Rose

Apparently, you can make a donation and have the Quincy Mine Shaft lit up in honor of a loved one. Click the link for details!

The photo above shows the Quincy Mine Hoist, part of the Quincy Mine complex, an extensive set of copper mines near Hancock. The mine was owned by the Quincy Mining Company . The Quincy Mine was known as “Old Reliable,” paying a dividend to investors every year from 1868 through 1920 and operated between 1846 and 1945. The Quincy Mine page on Wikipedia says (in part):

The Quincy Mine was founded in 1846 by the merger of the Northwest Mining Company and the Portage Mining Company. Due to poor communication between government offices, these two speculative mining companies had purchased the same tracts of land during the mining rush of the early 1840s. The directors met and decided to merge, with significant investment coming from Massachusetts (the town of Quincy, Massachusetts lent the mine its name). While many other copper mines were founded at the same time, the Quincy Mine became the most successful of the 1840s-era mines, and was the country’s leading copper-producing mine from 1863 (when it exceeded the production of the Minesota Mine) through 1867 (after which it was exceeded by the Calumet and Hecla).

The mine was the first Michigan copper mine to switch from fissure mining to amygdaloid mining, when the recently discovered Pewabic amygdaloid lode was found to cross Quincy property in 1856. High-grade fissure veins contained large, pure masses of copper, but the masses could take days or even months to extract, at high cost. Amygdaloid mining consisted of extracting lower-grade strataform orebodies in the “amygdaloid zones,” the upper portions of basalt lava flows. Rock bearing small pockets of copper could be blasted out immediately and processed elsewhere at much lower cost. Amygdaloid mining proved much more productive than fissure mining, and the size and richness of the Pewabic lode in particular allowed the Quincy to produce profits for 53 consecutive years. The Quincy company expanded laterally along the lode by buying out adjacent properties. The company bought the Pewabic mine in 1891, the Mesnard and the Pontiac in 1897, and the Franklin mine in 1908. This helped the mine survive longer than almost all other Keweenaw copper mining companies, except the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company and the Copper Range Company.

To attract a better class of worker, the Quincy Mining Company built and maintained housing for the workers. Over the course of operations, the types of housing ranged from simple tents in the early days, to complete three story houses shortly before the mine’s shutdown. The executives on the east coast wanted to build more elaborate and fancy homes with amenities such as electricity and running water. However, the on-site managers didn’t think it was necessary for the miners to have such high-class dwellings. But the east coast executives realized that if they offered nicer homes to the workers, the miners were more likely to stay, raise families, and be less likely to leave the area or transfer to another mining company. This strategy proved effective and helped the Quincy Mining Company retain its status as one of the premier mining companies in the region.

View Chris’s photo background bigatacular and see more in his Keweenaw Lightning slideshow.

More about the Quincy Mine on Michigan in Pictures including the second picture posted!