Sep 19-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: September: Sep 19-10
Eagle River late 1800's    ...scroll down to share comments
Public Domain postcard
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Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 08:50 am:

A number of times this summer we have considered a piece of real estate where Eagle River flows into Lake Superior, the present home of Eagle River Inn. Last night I happened to see a postcard of the top picture, which shows this spot in the 1890's, but had it labeled as Eagle Harbor instead of Eagle River. The second photo shows where the perspective is obtained, standing on the other bank by the Eagle River Lighthouse.

If you heard today's Day in History, you know that Sawtooth Reef - under the water just off that beach - has a reputation like the Bermuda Triangle of Lake Superior. Many vessels have been lost on that reef. In fact, when the Commissioner of Lighthouses gave his annual report to Congress in 1911, he claimed that "ten vessels had stranded on Sawtooth Reef over the past decade with resulting losses in excess of a million dollars". (See Terry Pepper's Sand Hills Lighthouse.)

Perhaps I mentioned somewhere back in the archives that I almost drowned in these waters over 30 years ago. My brother and I were snorkeling around the wreck just west of Garden City Creek, when my lungs filled, during a face to face encounter with a giant fish. My brother saw my distress and hauled me out of the water gasping for air. Perhaps my fascination with this little corner of the earth is because it's the nearest I ever came to leaving it.

By the way, don't forget to vote today for Copper Harbor's Ambulance Barn. Not much time left!

Have a good week :o)

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 10:01 am:

What neat cards/photos! Charlie, thank God for your brother! :)

By Donna (Donna) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 10:23 am: kidding! That had to be such a frightening moment....

And yet another lovely email this morning with a story to the Gazette:

POSTED: September 3, 2010

"Copper Harbor hopes to gain ambulance"

COPPER HARBOR - If an accident were to happen in Copper Harbor today, and an ambulance was needed for transport to the hospital, the injured would have to wait about 45 minutes, and endure another 45 minute trip to the hospital.

Residents in Copper Harbor, in conjunction with officials from Mercy EMS, are trying to combat that by bringing an ambulance to the area. Having an ambulance in Copper Harbor would essentially cut waiting time for the injured in half.

"We approached the (Keweenaw) county board for support, which we received, and it's been a long project," said Gerald Primeau, CEO of Mercy EMS.

Mercy EMS is looking at the possibility of relocating one ambulance, from the six in their fleet, to Copper Harbor, he said.

Currently, the goal is to find and train enough people to staff the ambulance year round who live in the vicinity of Copper Harbor, he said.

"We're getting more and more people in that area year round and the chance of injury goes up," Primeau said.

The ambulance would make a permanent home in Copper Harbor, cutting out the long wait.

"On a good day, it could take 45 minutes to get an ambulance up there," he said. "On a stormy winter day, it could be longer."

Primeau said there are first responders in Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor and Lac La Belle and all of the deputies with the Keweenaw County Sheriff's Department are first responders.

"We worked with them to get to that point and now it would be nice if we could make one more step and get an ambulance there," he said.

The ambulance would be staffed with emergency medical technicians and first responders, and it would be a basic life support ambulance rather than an advanced life support ambulance, Primeau said. That means the ambulance would respond to the calls in Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor, Lac La Belle and the surrounding areas, while an advanced life support ambulance would be dispatched from a hospital to intercept with the basic life support ambulance.

"We would actually move the patient in the basic life support ambulance and they will be met by another ambulance for the advanced support patients," he said.

The costs to bring the ambulance would essentially be minimal as they would be using an existing ambulance with Mercy EMS.

"The cost we're looking at is from having part-time employees, and we would pay them on an on-call basis," he said. "It's a very cost-effective way of taking part of our service and repositioning it."

Grant Township has offered to designate a slot in the fire hall to put the ambulance temporarily, however, a piece of equipment is being moved.

"They really need to put up another building," he said.

Mercy EMS is co-owned by Portage Health and Aspirus Keweenaw hospitals and services Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at


And remember, voting is a matter how or where!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 11:07 am:

Good Morning. I just wanted to add a little bit to the article that Donna mentioned. in emergency medicine, at least for many injuries and illnesses, there is what doctors call the "golden hour". The life saving treatments that can be administered in that golden hour can and do mean the difference between life and death, whether it is from extensive injuries from an auto accident, or a heart attack, or whatever. So, getting the patient to the hospital in 45 minutes rather than 90 minutes could well save lives, as well as lessen the long term effects of injuries.

Please vote for the ambulance barn, and vote every day. I voted early this morning. :-)

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 11:46 am:

Charlie, we're thankful for our Lord's protection of you all those years ago!

While you postponed your trip Home, we are grateful to have enjoyed your company in the mean time!

We never know the date or time....

By Sharon I. Smith (Sharons) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 01:15 pm:

Again, thanks to everyone who is supporting the Copper Harbor ambulance barn by voting for it. Together, we can do this thing, and it will be a great benefit to the northern tip of the Keweenaw and everyone who lives and visits here.

Thank you! Keep voting!

Remember, if you have more than one email address, you can register each one and vote from each one every day.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 01:17 pm:

vote cast

By Hank Morgan (Hank) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 01:20 pm:

What kind of fish was it?

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 02:09 pm:

Hank: My thoughts too! lol

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 03:04 pm:

To all who have emailed and posted the question, the fish in my face under water looked a lot like this:

Sturgeon, by Michelle Minor,

Rowdy (Roudymi) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 03:07 pm:

Was the fish acting aggresive? Inquiring minds want to know.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 03:29 pm:

Picture this: You are looking through the murky water at wreckage on the bottom of Superior. Looking down, straining to see beyond the darkness you slowly turn 180 degrees and look up to see this monster's nose right against your mask! Aggressive or not, he didn't stick around when I screamed (not a very smart thing to do under water).

My brother Mark saw when I hit the surface, coughing and gasping. Jumping into action, for a half-minute he stood on the bottom, held his breath and held me up in about 6 feet of water, then helped me to the shore. As close as I've ever come to dying. About 17 years later Mark lost his life in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. I often think of him when I look across the Lake, which has been the view out our window for the past 22 years.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 03:32 pm:

Historic pictures. Thank you.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 04:08 pm:

Cool pictures, and close call, Charlie! That had to be so scary!!! I think you're never truly safe in Lake Superior and always have to be extra cautious. I know that we were this summer when we were out at Misery Bay in knee deep water with the waves coming in over our heads. And it was dragging you ar away from your starting point. You literally had to fight to get back. Fun stuff if you're careful, though. You just have to have respect for it.

By Yooperguide (Huntandfish) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 04:23 pm:

No wonder why you were scared, Charlie, looks just like Rosie O'Donnell.

By Gus LL (Gusll) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 07:04 pm:

Charlie, That fish that you showed a pic of , looks like it could have been a Lake Sturgeon. They look like something pre historic and are mostly bottom feeders They get to be really large. There is no open season on them around here. Some areas have an open spearing season on them. They are caught sometime around here while ice fishing in Portage Lake. The minimim size limit is around 50 inches.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 07:59 pm:

Charlie, so very sorry to read that you lost your wonderful brother, Mark, and in such a tragic way. I'm sure God's rewarded him for the love he showed you.

By Jim (Keweenawpress) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 08:20 pm:

Interesting pic. Does anyone know what the large structure closest to the water was? The river valley seems to have a lot more water in it than in the present day. Any ideas why?

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 11:50 pm:

The large red building right at the shore was the old Cliff Mine warehouse. There also was a dock that extended out into the Lake for lighters to load/unload freight or copper to and from boats out beyond the "reef". There are still a few pilings from the dock right off the mouth of the river. The building and dock went to sea during a storm within my Grandfather's memory, don't know the date, but would guess between 1900 and 1920. The small tower on the building housed a bell which is now at the Bible Camp. The level of Eagle River can vary greatly depending or the rains and melt-off. It also appears that area shown in the postcard may have been kept clear by the residents of the town during the boom era, since some fairly large (20ft+) boats are seen tied up in some of the old pictures. Lake levels will also affect the depth of the river in that area.
My family went "up home" for a Fall vacation back in the 1950's, I was young but have vivid memories of the weather turning, sudden cold, a north wind that drove waves up the river channel as far as the lower bridge, and a trip to one of the entries to see all the ore boats tied up to avoid the storm.
With its record of destruction along the Eagle River shore, Superior is a force to be reckoned with. It was no wonder the old timers were sure the Swank's - the present Eagle River Inn - would follow the old warehouse out to sea. So far it is still there.

By Jim (Keweenawpress) on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 05:23 pm:

Thanks Paul for the info.

Among the destruction of along the Eagle River shore was the tragic death of Douglass Houghton so early in his highly productive life. The anniversary of his death is coming up on October 13th.

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