July 03-11

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2011: July: July 03-11
Cliff Mine    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos courtesy MTU Archives
Closer Look    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos courtesy MTU Archives
Where the building stood    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos courtesy MTU Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 07:59 am:

During this Sesquicentennial month of Keweenaw County, we want to explore some of the area's historic sites, beginning with its oldest profitable mine. On the Pasty Cam yesterday, Barb Bouwkamp's excellent shots from the recent Cliff Mine Archeology Project revealed the exact location for some of the operation's key buildings. Thanks to the MTU Archives we can see the remnants of these structures, before the ravages of time leveled them into the land.

A few years ago - when Pasty Central was still operating in Stillwater's Elders Home - one of the residents there took me on a ride to the old neighborhood across the road from the Cliffs. One Sunday afternoon, Charlie Polaharvi and I drove his Thunderbird to the spot of his childhood home, back before the Great Depression. All the houses were gone, but Charlie could still point out the place where the old homestead stood. He told me what is was like to see the mining buildings in the hillside of the Cliff, and how they were already old when he was young. In the 1920's, according to Charlie, Calumet and Hecla did a lot of drilling and digging, trying to find a big enough vein to revitalize the operation. It just didn't happen.

Charlie Polaharvi passed on a few years ago, but I'm glad for the times we spent together around his old stomping grounds. Wish I had recorded those conversations we had, as he told of being a kid at Clifton. I don't even know if I have a picture of Charlie. Guess I'll have to dig out my shoebox for next week.

If you haven't already ordered a few Keweenaw County Commemorative 150th buttons, better hurry, 'cause their going fast. You'll save the mailing charges if you pick them up locally at Keweenaw County Courthouse here in Eagle River, or Lassila Insurance in Ahmeek.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July, and have a good week :o)

By Donna (Donna) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 08:03 am:

WOW....How wonderful to have had that experience Charlie! WOWOW!

What soles have trodden where our souls are now!

By DEAN SCHWARTZ SR. (Lulu) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 08:13 am:

Wonderful information, history of the copper mining is so intersting, just think of the lives the mining has touched in the past and also now. Everyone have a safe and happy 4th. Also keep in your prayers and thoughts of the men and women who are serving in the military so that we can enjoy this holiday, also those who have served in the past. "Hug a Vet and thank them".

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 08:40 am:

Interesting read today! In agreement to Thanking a Vet is a must. We can only imagine what they actually witness. My nephew is on his second tour in Afghanistan. A few weeks back he saw way too up close a lone suicide bomber blow up before his eyes. War is not pretty!

By RD, Iowa (Rdiowa) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 09:03 am:

The history of Cliff mine at the Archeology site gives a good overview that goes along with the old gentleman's observations. (See Cliff Mine History)

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 11:28 am:

Charlie continues to be an passionate but unsung chronicler of Copper Country history, bringing us the not so well known facts and histories of times and peoples past. Thank you!

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 11:52 am:

I agree with you Mrbill, however I don't believe Charlie's 'work' is 'unsung'.....from what I read and recall, pastynetters often 'sing his praises' for the fine job he does. And I do join you in thanking him!! Hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable weekend!

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 01:23 pm:

Great pics today and great follow up to yesterday. Thanks!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 03:33 pm:

Got to love the historic photos from the mining era on the Keweenaw!! I sometimes believe I was born in the wrong century; how wonderful it would have been to witness the birth of copper mining on the Peninsula and see it through the end. To be able to watch the native copper be mined out of the ground, processed, smelted, and cast into ingots for shipment would be a dream come true! I have seen the large openpit mining operations where they get copper from the SX/EW process which is interesting in its own right. I guess the closest we can ever get is "Quality Control: From Ore to Finished Product"....

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 05:13 pm:

Have to agree with MrBill and Shirley. I've learned a lot from some of the stuff Charlie has put on here. Thanks to him for all of his harde work!!

More interesting reading today!!

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 07:15 pm:

I'm so pleased that I inherited from my mother such treasures as pillowcases tatted and embroidered by my grand and maybe even great-grands. But my most treasure piece I believe my grandpa Slattery formed at the C&H in Hubbell. It is the shape of a small anvil of solid copper! I think of him and those days every time I dust around it. The more I read about the history of copper in the UP the more I wonder how I could have lived in those times.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 08:12 pm:

According to my father, those were very rough times. His family was relatively well off for a miner's family. But he was always proud of letting us know that there had always been food on their table.

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