Jun 09-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: Jun: Jun 09-03
Fire on Eagle River Dam    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Jonathan Hopper
Hosing it down    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Charlie Hopper

Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 07:26 am:

On the way to the mailbox Saturday afternoon we noticed some flames along the top of the Eagle River Dam, where a cluster of drift wood and old timbers had caught fire. Deputy Rick Olson happened along and assessed the situation. If the fire were to spread down into the wall of the dam, it could be quite a loss. To be safe, officer Olson put in a call to the Ahmeek department, who promptly sent trucks and men for the job. A bit of a crowd gathered to watch the commotion, as the flames were quickly put out before any serious damage could be done.

Summer is just a couple of weeks away, a beautiful time of year in the Keweenaw. By the way, if you are keeping up with Toivo's travels, he asked for a few days off (guess he had quite a bit of laundry stacked up). We'll have to see where his North American tour goes from here.

By Mark, Ellsworth, MI on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 08:41 am:

And just how does a fire start in a place like that? Must have been mice playing with matches. Over the 13 years I've been a firemen I've helped put out some fires with very strange origins, never put out a fire on a dam though.

By Andrew, Knoxville, TN on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 11:15 am:

Was browsing through Toivo's travels throughout the country and noticed part of a secret message embedded in each state's write-up...what's up with that?

By s, illinois on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 12:03 pm:


Toivo, our mysterious traveler, colored one letter for each state for us pasty.com viewers to try and figure out who exactly he was. but only, we found that "Toivo's real name is a secret. he is actually a nice guy haha!" LOL!

By pegg, fla on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 12:32 pm:

Must have been bears and beaver with Bic lighters, moose with matches, or crazy humans with charcoal lighter. Unless it was lightening. Why would anyone do such a thing?

By Dave - Colorado on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 12:39 pm:

Those timbers look as though they may have creosote on them... under the right conditions fires can start spontaneously from heat generated by the decay of organic matter (creosote, wood, leaves)... but of course one has to wonder if this fire was not caused by humans... I would hope not...

By stew bum on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 01:19 pm:

Too bad. This is a landmark for anybody that knows the Copper Country. For a little background, anybody know when the dam was built? Who built it? I'm guessing turn of the century at least. It seems to be something that was just always there. A feat of engineering when one thinks about how long it has been there.

By gopher gage, the territories on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 02:49 pm:

that dam was torched. might look around for S.K.

By Troll in E.H. on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 03:59 pm:

I HEARD that years ago there was a fellow named Muskrat that tried torching the same dam. Anyone remember anything about that?

By Missin the UP from NJ on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 04:53 pm:

And yet ANOTHER mystery in the UP. One of the many, many reasons I keep tuning in to Pasty.com! Sure hope the fire wasn't arson. It could be the creosote. I remember seeing a documentary showing how a rag that had paint remover on it that was left all balled up actually burst into flames. It was right on a camera set up to record the event. (you can be sure I never leave painting rags inside the house or garage!) Let's hope the investigation shows a natural fluke of science with the fire at the dam. But it is another UP mystery, so we may never find out!

By Bill Penprase on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 05:39 pm:

According to Clarence J. Monette in his book, THE HISTORY OF EAGLE RIVER MICHIGAN, page 23, the Eagle River Fuse Company was established on December 2, 1862. That's when the dam was built. I think they used just regular square timber in the construction. Mining men certainly knew how to build with square timber.

By Tom T.C. Mich on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 06:25 pm:

Guess it pays to go back in your archives.....don't have the date handy....check photo on 1st friday in March 1998...The mystery of Toivo's travels is solved...it's a hoax...there was no toivo.......besides he missed several countries in the lower part of North America...Panama...etc. Sure was fun tho-

Tom - - Are you sure about that??


Paul in Illinois on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 06:54 pm:

Don't know when the present dam was built, but my guess is it is not the first one on the site. It probably was built in the 1890 -1910 era. Anyone know for sure? While the timbers are dark colored, creosote was not used on them as far as I recall in my explorations. One can find the remains of at least two more dams on Eagle River. The one at Phoenix is pretty obvious. There are some timbers (logs actually)and an earthen bank in the general area of ten foot falls. These were left from one of the many mines and mills along that section of the river. If, or rather when, the Eagle River dam goes, it will seriously change the scene downstream. The reservoir appears to filled with stampsand and silt, if that is released, it will find its way downstream and into the lake. Since this is most likely to happen when the river is running at its highest, the force could be considerable. The perpitrators of this mysterious fire need to be caught and proscecuted. Arson is arson and in this case it would cause more than the loss of a landmark, it would have a serious environmental impact and would endanger anyone who would happen to be on or below the dam tring to save it.

By wright mattingly lily ky. on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 07:28 pm:

Sure would like to see a picture of the Big Boy Market in Tamarack Mills,its across the street from Marty;s bar,A time in 64 i miss.

By darrell oinas/dewitt michigan on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 08:28 pm:

It could be a natural occurance, but most of that happens when the chemicals are new and I am no expert on the subject, but I think I would be looking for a kid around 9 to 12 years old that has a bic or matches and it just got away from him. or a lighting strike.?

By MG Michigan on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 09:08 pm:

The paint rags that Missin the Up mentioned would have had Linseed Oil on them. Linseed oil can be in any number of paint products, thinners, stains, etc. so check the ingredients, and be careful what you do with the rags you use to clean up with after staining your deck or whatever.

By WS on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 10:20 pm:

It wa s Bin Laden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Ken from da UP on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 10:25 pm:

wright mattingly lily KY, Do you mean Reddings Store? I think that was the name. Marty's Bar was across the street. Lived in Albert LeBlanc's house in Tamarack from the middle to late 50s. I used to have to RUN up there to catch the school bus. :>) Sometimes I used to lounge around in bed a little too long.

By bser on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 10:29 pm:

I believe I've caught a mistake. The firefighters you saw were from Allouez Township V.F.D. and 1st Responders. They cover Allouez and Houghton Townships (under contract to Houghton Twp.) Ahmeek only covers Ahmeek Village unless called to assist another department.

You are absolutely right. Don't know what I was thinking when I said Ahmeek.

Allouez Twp

Ken from da UP on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 10:35 pm:

Missin the UP from NJ, Drove by Norway Lake this aft. Grass so green and trees getting all filled out with leaves. Really pretty! Blue skies and white little clouds, beautimous! Sorry, no camera. Had been out to Ewen to play for a wedding dance on Sat evening, and went to the Eagles in South Range for a dance that Mimi and I could dance to Sunday evening. Was nice. Been many years since I swam at Norway Lake.

By Phil on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 12:51 pm:

To Troll In E.H.
I remember hearing about Muskrat lighting fire to that dam but I don't remember any dates. He was one of a kind, you may hear other stories about him in time to come.
I'll be up there in about 2 weeks to catch up on the latest, maybe even a couple of Muskrat stories. God bless his soul but he is not here today to tell you stories himself.

By Fort Wilkins Laundress on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 12:57 pm:

You've got me thinking too much about your laundry again. Don't tell me the last time you did your laundry was on day 46 (on 4/24)in Arkansas. Man how much stuff did you take with you? Did you turn things inside out or go without? Or did you just keep buying new stuff?
Come up to the fort, we charge a dollar per man, per month.

By Tom T.C. Mich on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 05:28 pm:


By fish slayer in the up on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 05:57 pm:

I think the dam was torched by osama bin o maki the finnish terrorist,to upset the flow of the mighty " eagle river ". He was also sent here to catch Orcala the Killer Trout. I am pretty sure of these facts. If anyone knows more about this than me, please let me know.

By Frank, St. Charles IL on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 09:31 am:

Charlie, are there any further developments on the cause of this fire?

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 09:56 am:

No, Frank, it remains a mystery.

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