So--are you ready for another installment?
Amazing town. They are in the process of up-grading the downtown area; redoing some of the store-fronts, laying new brick pavers in the streets (one of the merchants made the comment that she thought the town was crazy for putting these in...with the tremendous amount of snow they get in this area every year, they would be destroyed very quickly!--This is one of the many things that the town of Houghton has decided to do with the "stimulus" money from the government!)
The town has a nice "river-walk" that meanders quite a distance along the bank of the river; allowed me to get close enough to get some photographs of that abandoned copper-mill that I mentioned earlier (Jillian...you would have had too much fun photographing this place!)
We decided to park and venture along some of the shops in town. As we strode down the sidewalk, we passed by a print shop, that had old photographs and other memoralbelia from the area displayed in their front windows. This was to be our first history lesson from one of the "locals", about the area. We learned more in that short visit with the gentleman who worked there, that you would ever get from any brochure!
He talked to us about the "mine" (whose rusty shelton was across the river--this mill was once one of the most prominent in the area) He politely explained about pouring copper ingots, so they could be transported. He told us of the trains and ships that frequented the area, moving not just "ore" but timber as well. He told us of the mass exodus just after WWII--people moving to Detroit for the jobs in the automibile industry. He told us about the "old-money" still living in the area.
This was a wonderful history lesson...and he was so polite in answering our questions. (I purchased an old photograph depicting the trains being loaded at that copper-mill...I have a thing about trains too--my grandparents worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad).
We left the print shop, wandering to the "surplus" store a few doors down. Talk about walking back into a piece of history! This store had a little bit of everything--a mixture of hardware/hunter outfitter/sporting goods all rolled into one place--(there's something about the ambiance of an old-store that's often difficult to describe!) I wandered down into their basement finding an array of pants, flannel shirts, and snow-mobile attire--along with "loggers-jeans"--of which I purchased a pair; (if you are not familiar with what these are--try looking them up on the web.) Normally, these jeans can cost a small fortune--I know this because, I have looked at getting a pair for YEARS! (This is normal clothing for this area!) Of course, we also looked at the sweat-shirts and T-shirts bearing "stuff" about the UP on them!
We left Houghton later that morning, heading south again (Hwy 41 then Hwy 141) towards Iron Mountain...we had hopes of making it to Escananba (Lake Michigan) before nightfall.