Dec 04-11

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2011: December: Dec 04-11
Building Mackinac Bridge    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos courtesy of U.P. Regional Digitization Center
Heading North    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos courtesy of U.P. Regional Digitization Center

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 08:15 am:

This morning Edie and I woke up in Mackinaw City next to the Mackinac Bridge. (I think that's right with the "naw" and "nac"). We're on the way downstate, which means we had to cross this magnificent structure last night. Every time we drive this span I think of the wonderful collection of photos taken by the Mackinac Bridge Authority during its construction.

So this morning I re-visited one of my all-time favorite websites - the Upper Peninsula Regional Digitization Center - and find that they have revamped their pages to make them even more functional and convenient to explore historic photo collections from all over the U.P. The men in the first photo are working with the myriad of strands that were woven together to hold up this engineering marvel. Makes me dizzy just looking at this scene. The second picture is one of my previous favorites, about 10 years after the bridge opened, Miss Ishpeming and Miss Marquette heading for the trails of their favorite Peninsula.

Well, its back on the road again, heading south through the mitten. But we'll cross the Mighty Mac on the way back next weekend - and again look way up to these towers where those guys worked so hard 50+ years ago.

Have a good week :o)

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 09:08 am:

Those snowmobiles are classics! Made back when snowmobiling fun was the goal, not high speed!

By RD, Iowa (Rdiowa) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 09:11 am:

Here's another view of the workers in about the same spot (from


Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 09:21 am:

That first photo makes the bottom of my feet tingle (fear of heights). I remember seeing snowmobiles like that in the '70s....don't you imagine this photo was 'staged' since there's no snow present?
Charlie and Edie, have a safe trip. God speed!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 09:30 am:

Shirley, take another look at the snowmobiles, they have wheels on them for dry pavement moving.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 09:56 am:

ah-ha, now I see, thanks for that info, Janie. But still looks like the runners might drag on the ground. Honestly, I didn't know that one could wheels on their sm. Live and learn.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:09 am:

I know there were some from "The Keweenaw" that worked on constructing the Big Mac and it would be nice in this weeks or next postings to have their names listed and given due credit.

Cannot find the picture I have of the bridge right now with the last piece hanging and ready to be fitted in 1957. That was the scene that I got to witness one Sunday evening while aboard the SS CRISPIN OGLEBAY downbound for Chicago. A full sunset was below the middle span in its redish glow as it lowered itself beyond Packerland

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:23 am:

Historic pics. Thank you.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:27 am:

Shirley, the wheels under the skis make the sleds mobile on any surface other than snow/ice. While the track gives traction.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 11:12 am:

I am so terrified of heights that I would have fallen for sure. Terrifying!! I am in awe of those guys who were able to do that! And I'm also very thankful to them. What an awesome bridge it is!!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 12:10 pm:

Now, if they could only figure out a way to put skis on a Goldwing.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 12:27 pm:

Alex, I wouldn't think you'd want to take the Goldwing out in that kinda slushy, messy snow. I even hate to take my car out in that stuff.

By James W. Hird (Wvyooper) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 03:19 pm:

Hay! Wheels on sm's what an inovation. Need to bring that back. Just right for those that want to stretch the sm season. Who needs ATV's.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 03:41 pm:

Even wheels are a very temporary help for snowmobiles on grass/pavement. The hyfax glides will wear out and you will be going no where. ATV's are very much needed.

By Therese (Therese) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 05:39 pm:

It cost $1.50 to drive the bridge 60 years
ago. You could buy a lot of gas for that back then. Bridge fare
isn't much more

By Hilarie Alwine (Halwine) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 07:29 pm:

It doesn't look like the workman are teathered or harnessed in to anything. Is there something I'm missing?

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:22 pm:

Hilarie, in the first photo it looks like the fella on the right is wearing a heavy-duty belt of some sort, can't see the others, but in RD's photo it doesn't look like the guy standing on the pipe is attached to anything. I would think that was a requirement for that type work. Of course OSHA wasn't around then to demand it.
I remember reading some info about a certain tribe (Navajo ?) of American Indians did a lot of the construction on skyscrapers in NY, mainly because they didn't fear heights and were surefooted.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP (Kenjamimi) on Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:32 pm:

My step-dad and mom went to Detroit when the bridge toll was $3.50. He paid more for the toll than the gas to get to Detroit. The car was a Renault Dauphin. I think it was in the mid 60s. The price of gas at that time was around .28 a gallon.

By Dale Beitz (Dbeitz) on Monday, December 5, 2011 - 09:45 am:

Charlie: I woulda figured that after all your time atop Quincy #2 working with network equipment, heights wouldn't be an issue anymore.

Snowmobiles: As Janie T, pointed out, some sm's have "glides" as track supports, which are nylon (or some other material) and need the snow for lubrication. I'd heard of some racers rigging up dish soap drips so they could run in low snow conditions. But the sm's we had on the farm used bogies, which are wheels with bearings that don't require snow for lubrication. On the sm closest to the photographer you can see the round bogies under the track, since the other sm looks to be the same model it probably has bogies, too.

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