one day at a time…
Saturday, 13 March 2004

Pix Of The Day: Going Down To The Lakes In Boats
CREDIT: © James W. Herbert/ContinuousWave.com
WHERE: Houghton-Hancock, Michigan, USA. WHAT: lift bridge.
MAP: Gt. Lakes Superior-Michigan-Huron. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Portage Canal Lift Bridge © James W. HerbertThe USA state of Michigan is unusual in that it consists of two peninsulae, joined only by the Mackinac Bridge. The southernmost peninsula lies between Lake Michigan to the west, and Lake Huron to the east. The northernmost peninsula lies between Lake Superior to the north, the largest freshwater lake in the world, and Lake Michigan to the south. Today's location lies on the opposite shore of Lake Superior to yesterday's feature site in Thunder Bay, Canada.

With a marked lack of creativity, these peninsulae are known as the Upper Peninsula, and the Lower Peninsula. Things begin to improve when one discovers that the denizens of the Upper Peninsula, often known simply as the UP, refer to themselves as 'Yoopers', and that the UP has yet another peninsula of its own, much more satisfyingly named Keweenaw. The defeated old Native American chief, who was asked if there was anything he wished for, may have wryly answered that he wished his people had been better warriors, but in the naming of places they had no equal, being far more creative than the overly literal names of later in-comers.

A waterway known as the Portage Canal, or Keweenaw Waterway, separates the tip of the Keweenaw from the mainland, but there is a wonderful Lift Bridge that connects the mainland town of Houghton on the south side to the island town of Hancock on the north side. Once a combined road/rail bridge, it is has now lapsed to road use only.

Hancock was named for one John Hancock (1737-1793), whose name became eponymous with a hand written signature when he writ his name large upon the American Declaration of Independence, in folkelore remarking as he did so, "The British ministry can read that name without spectacles…"

Houghton was named for one Douglass Houghton (1809-1845), Michigan's first official state geologist. Geology is important to the history and development of the UP: you may read about the first American mineral boom of 1843, following upon Houghton's 1841 report on deposits of copper, and iron, in the UP. [NB: DH was 46 at the time of his tragic death, not 36 as stated in the article.] Turnstone Geological Services Limited offer a 'Lake Superior District Regional Geology Tour'.

To explore this watery region, and view the Portage Canal Lift Bridge, what better way than by boat? For this trip our virtual vessel's master is James W. Herbert from ContinuousWave.com whose series, 'Trailer Boat Tales 1998, Northern Michigan and Wisconsin, Eleven days on the roads and waters of the upper Great Lakes', is a wonderful virtual journey through the region.

Many of the miners who came to participate in the mineral boom hereabouts were from Cornwall in England, where the tin mines were in decline. They brought with them the recipe for the pasty, a movable feast consisting of filled pastry. With a flourish that Hancock himself might have envied, we now direct you to Pasty.com home of the Still Waters Assisted Living Community in Calumet, Michigan, purveyors of pasties, and hosts to a live Lift Bridge CAM conveniently packaged, just like a pasty, in bite-size or lunch-box sizes. Looks good even at night.

. . . . . . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . . . . 
Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)