The Carroll Foundry rests atop land partially created from the tailings of the Grand Portage Mill, which sat just to the west of it at the end of town. To the east of the foundry was located another mill, this ... More »
A short break from our downtown Houghton tour to take a look back at what it once looked like, thanks to those hi-res images courtesy the Library of Congress Prints and Maps division. The shot above l...
When the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad arrived to Houghton around 1883 the line’s terminus was at the eastern outskirts of the city, several blocks distant from downtown. This small...
While the neighboring 500 block’s claim to fame was its upscale Douglass House hotel, the 600 block’s iconic status would be sealed by the arrival of Houghton’s first stone business ...
The transformation of Houghton’s Shelden Avenue from residential district to commercial thoroughfare was rather slow and tedious. The streets origins can be traced to a trio of up-scale hotels t...
The Houghton waterfront of today looks far different then it did a century ago, as today the majority of the lakeshore is now home to green spaces – public parks, marinas, and trails. Traditionally, however, the waterfront was primarily the ... More »
When the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad arrived to Houghton around 1883 the line’s terminus was at the eastern outskirts of the city, several blocks distant from downtown. This small wood-framed structure sat along the line at the MH&O’s main ... More »
The first railroad to find its way to Houghton was the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad, which in 1883 built an extension of its line into the city from its former terminus in L’Anse. Unfortunately this was as far as ... More »
Before the arrival of the first swing bridge over the canal, the waterfront area along the 100 block of Houghton’s Shelden Ave was nothing more then a back alley. At that point almost all of the land seen above didn’t ... More »
A century ago the east end of the Copper Range rail yard was a center of activity, home to not only to the railroad’s passenger depot but its freight depot as well. While the Copper Range may have been a ... More »
The Copper Range depot was built at the far eastern end of its rail yards, just a short distance from Houghton’s downtown and the bridge to Hancock. While close the depot had a geographic disadvantage – it was located at ... More »
When the Copper Range reached its northern terminus at Houghton it built itself a sprawling lakeside rail yard just west the city. It complimented that yard with a passenger depot, but not just any depot. While along the rest of ... More »
The Copper Range railroad was relatively late to the party, having been preceded by three other railroads by the time it had begun laying track to the south of Houghton. The railroad didn’t waste any time, however, erecting itself the ... More »
Most people know it simply as “Chutes and Ladders”, a massive mountain of slides and stairways overlooking the Portage on Houghton’s west side. The park’s official name is Kestner Waterfront Park, a large green space that besides the playground also ... More »
A pioneering New Yorker by the name of Ransom Shelden was one of the first white settlers to arrive to the Keweenaw – first taking up residence at the mouth of the Portage River in 1847 – a good decade ... More »
There was much money to be had in in the Copper Country at the end of the nineteenth century, especially for those enterprising souls that could take advantage of a region in its infancy eager to embrace the modern age. ... More »
In a region where Calumet was home to no less then six separate Roman Catholic churches, it seems odd to discover that Houghton could only muster one such house of worship of its own. But that thinking is based on ... More »
The old wood-framed church that served Grace Methodist Episcopal Church was nothing more then a room with four walls and a roof, hardly a structure representative of the region’s premiere Methodist congregation – known as the “mother church”. Thus plans ... More »
The great metropolises of the Copper Country were really limited to just two, each directly fueled by the region’s richest and most powerful mine companies. To the north the great C&H helped grow Red Jacket into the peninsulas most populous ... More »
The Keweenaw Peninsula garnered its name from the native population who referred to the long finger of land as “Kee-wi-wai-non- ing”, roughly translated as the “place where portage is made”. Those early people would forgo traveling around the long finger ... More »
Andrew Carnegie’s first experience with the industrial revolution occurred in his youth, back at his home in Scottland. His father – who was in the textile business – had been taken off guard by the mechanization of his industry and ... More »
The Michigan School of Mines was established at the dawn of the Copper Empire’s reign across the Keweenaw, born from the burgeoning demand for trained engineers and mining professionals. In the beginning the young school was limited to holding classes ... More »
By now I’ve come to the realization that fellow reader and Copper Country enthusiast Paul Petosky has almost every single postcard of the Copper Country ever made, and he’s generous enough to share them all with the rest of us. ... More »
Houghton County was first established in 1845, comprising at the time of almost the entirety of the Keweenaw peninsula. The county’s first seat of government was established at the centralized located port town of Eagle River, which thanks to the ... More »
The old Houghton Fire Hall has served many purposes in its life. Originally it was built to house the city’s volunteer fire department – Continental Fire Company No.1. Its second floor became home to the growing cities municipal offices, but ... More »
With a full time population of over 8,000 people and another 5,000 part time college students, the city of Houghton is by far the Copper Country’s largest population center. It also happens to be the region’s commercial and industrial center, ... More »
The city of Houghton sits along a rocky ridge defined by the Pilgrim River valley to the east and the Huron Creek gorge to the west. While the ridge descends rather steadily towards the Pilgrim River, it drops more precariously ... More »
By the end of the nineteenth century almost every Catholic church in the region had a complimenting parochial school. These schools – controlled and operated by the church – infused religious teachings with a standard grammar school lexicon. Usually limited ... More »
If you take a stroll along East Lakeshore Drive in Houghton in the area once occupied by the Carroll Foundry, you’ll find a line of old houses along with this interesting stone structure. Not so much a structure as a ... More »