Scrapbook VI

As I requested, Gordy came through with those photos of Gay that I had so embarrassingly called for a few days back. I thought we’d wrap out the week by sharing them with you all. The photo above was taken in 1953, which I deduced from some extensive research. At this time the mill had been closed for several decades, and the reason for the town’s existence in the first place (logging) had returned to take its place. You can make out the sands to the right and Lake Superior beyond that. As for what tall structure this was taken from – no idea.

Another shot, this taken a few years later. Those log piles had grown substantially in that time, and we can see a line of train cars loaded up and ready to go. These logging trains were operated by Copper Range, which utilized the same Mohawk-Gay line the mills took advantage of decades earlier. This line was abandoned around 1964.

Another 1955 shot of the log staging area. While this picture isn’t the greatest, I find it interesting because it shows the old Gay School in the background (I pointed it out with an arrow). At this time the school was still in use, closing around the same time the railroad was abandoned.

Now we move a few decades ahead in time (1970’s perhaps?) and get some shots Gordy took of the Mohawk Mill ruins. This one is taken out along the sands, and shows that old wooden launder that I featured a few days back. There was a lot more of it left then.

And here’s a shot showing the mill after it was restarted in the late 70’s. Or at least the stack was used again – this time to burn tires I believe. (Hey if your town has a several hundred foot tall concrete stack at its disposal, why not?)

Jumping ahead again (80s this time?) we see the ruins of the mill without all the ugly trees and nature in the way. This is the way these ruins are meant to be seen – naked and vulnerable. The entire complex looks much larger here then it does today, covered up as much as it is by trees.

And the piece de resistance, this fascinating aerial shot of Gay and the Mohawk Mill taken by Gordy himself. (He wasn’t the one flying the plane however) You can make out a great deal of detail in the ruins, including that concrete hopper I just featured. (off the top right corner of the mill). It also gives the town a very well-thought-out look, complete with green lawns and parallel roads. It actually looks rather nice.

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  1. Very cool! I like gay photos!

    (There Mike, thought I’d help you out a bit…)

    Also, in the aerial photo, any clue what those “bales” are in the bottom right, on the lakeshore?

  2. Very interesting photos!

    The 1980s shot of the ruins is a good one. Just a few cedars, balsam, and hardwoods not at all obscuring those pretty ruins.

    The height of that stack is pretty amazing. It must have considerable draw. Anyone know which stack was tallest on Keweenaw Point?

  3. That first photo was taken from the top of the wood piles.

    Those what look like bails are/were just piles of dirt, that nice red colored dirt the UP is famous for. Looks like it was from dump trucks. When I was a mere little kid, that hill above those piles was all sawdust from the sawmill that was built where the log piles were in the 1950’s.

  4. I went and copied this from the original story a while back about the stack, I posted it so why not. This stack was built in 1921 when inspections showed the steel stacks were in danger of early failure due to corrosion and also insufficient capacity. The stack is 239 feet tall, 225 of that above ground, internal diameter at the base is 13′ 4″ tapering to 9 foot at the top.

  5. The measurements of that stack is quite impressive. I wonder how much of a base it sits on? Did they go down to bedrock?

  6. We can only wonder Herb, unless Tech has the information in the archives. 14 feet of the stack being in the ground is impressive enough for this being built in 1921, I would not want to be the guy with the shovel.

  7. I’m totally guessing now, but 14 feet down could make it rest on bedrock. The sandstone (Jacobsville?) is pretty shallow on that side of the peninsula. We were camping on “Phoenician Bay” north of Gay and along the shoreline the sandstone was like a sidewalk on the beach. Those stacks are true monuments and I hope they stand forever.

  8. From my research into the new site I uncovered a lot of rumblings out there about the creation of a township park at the Mohawk Mill ruins. The land is supposedly already under Sherman Townships control and its just a matter of funding and labor to clean it up and do something similar to the new park down at Tamarack City (next to the old Ahmeek mill ruins).

    Hopefully it will come to fruition.

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