Dec 01-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: December: Dec 01-03
Sunshine in the forecast    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Z-Man

Toivo from Toivola on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 07:41 am:

Can anybody read the grafitti on that old abandoned builing back there? Looks like it says "Eat light with Beef". Bet that old farmhouse was magnificent in it's day.

Z-man's photoriffic style also scored him 2 months in the beautiful 2004 Pasty Cam color calendar, now on sale at an order form near you - - (with or without pasties).

By Taka @ Japan on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 07:56 am:

I wonder if anybody still remembers me. Anyway.. Infused by the PastyCentral website structure while I was still at MTU, there was a website idea that I had been planning to host. With the help of my friends the website was officially started today - It is a website where people sell and buy photos, and discuss about various topics like the activities of UNICEF and the daily photos (other topics are also welcome). Another goal of the website is to help UNICEF by contributing a part of the profit that will be made on the web. will also provide the UNICEF related topics sometimes on the web, and this will also increase peoplefs awareness with regard to the activities of UNICEF. So I would really appreciate it if you could come and take a look at
I apologize for posting an ad in advance. Thank you for your time!
-Taka (

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:09 am:

Hi Taka! Yes, Pasty Cammies everywhere remember you. In fact 2 of your photos also appear in the new 2004 Pasty Cam Calendar. Good luck on your new photo site.

Taka's mention about UNICEF drew some controversial responses, which have been grouped in a sub-topic. Please direct any comments about UNICEF to that Cam Notes page.

By Sometimes Vegan-or Vegetarian-or Carnivor! on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:25 am:

Good Morning!
What a peaceful picture!
I think you can most certainly EAT LIGHT WITH BEEF! Heheehe! Reminds me of these Cow logo's I saw in Indiana (I think)- there was a picture of a sad eyed cow and underneath it said, "Eat Chicken" So funny when you looked at that cow's face. But, I'm sorry, I go sometimes with Veggies, and the fish and poultry, but can't see giving up on that beef. I do buy Angus, though. And Boy, does Angus chopped beef taste yummy in Pasty! (thanks for letting me go on...) I really loved todays pix, it's sweet and Nostalgic for me.

Taka, it's nice to see your posting after all your contributions to this site. But, Hey! How about a pix of you waving hello to all your fans over here in the U.S.??

By Skylar- Wisconsin on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:27 am:

Yes, I remember you also. Miss your pictures from around the Keweenaw. Hey Toivo, do you have any snow in your area yet? If so how much? Thanks in advance, Skylar.

By Dan U. Silver City, MI on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:38 am:

That building in the background is Ontonagon's old "Poor
Farm". And indeed it was quite magnifcent in it's day.

By Donn de Yampert, PT, DPT. on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 11:05 am:

Z-man has contributed another very good photograph that promotes the life we love in the UP of Michigan.

By Taka-fan on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 11:26 am:

Hi Taka,
Our family was just discussing you and your photos at this weekend! It is nice to have an update. We look forward to checking your website. Blessings.

By Mary Lou on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 11:47 am: there a way we can see the pictures chosen for the new 2004 calandar??...I absolutly loved the "welcome to Houghton" snow scene taken by Taka. It reminds me of many trips the quiet of winter.....with family waiting......with love & goodies.

By Larry-IN on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 12:33 pm:

Vegan....The Cow picture is the logo of Chic-A-Fila chain. They have a hilarious series of ads with cows encouraging everyone to "Eat Mor Chiken"
mispelled in Cow writing. Check out their website for laughs!

By Fran,Ga on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 12:36 pm:

Taka, we sure miss your pictures.I think one of my favorites is the one Mary Lou is talking about. It is a Christmas fairyland scene!

By SDC,Ferndale on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 12:39 pm:

Dorothy D:
You left a message under one of Robert C. Wetton's pictures titled "Grandpa Chester" from Dollar Bay. You said your grandparents were Chechacks from Dollar Bay. If its the same family,I believe they had a farm down the road from my great grandparent's farm outside of Dollar Bay. The Chechacks' farm had burnt down by the time we lived on my great grandparents farm back in 1958.

By Jeanie P, U.P. Michigan on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 12:51 pm:

If I remember correctly, the building in today's picture is the old "Poor Farm" for Ontonagon County. They are the predecessors of today's "Long-term Cares." Maybe someone else can elaborate on my memory of this building?

By Herb_NW_Wis on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 01:35 pm:

I've passed the "old poor farm" building many times
on the road between Ontonagon and Greenland.
Or is it on the road betwen Ontonagon and

Must say that I can't recall which one it is....

It always looks to me like the perfect haunted
house and I'd like to go inside it someday. I hope
they don't tear it down....

I always thought it looked funny on the map how
there are two almost parallel highways leading
southeast out of Ontonagon. But in my reading on
the copper mines I learned that one is the early
road to the Minesota Mine and the other the early
road to the Toltec Mine. Funny how the mines are
long defunct, but the roads that served them still
hum with activity.

By Phyllis, Texas on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 01:52 pm:

Too bad that yooper of today can't save that beautiful building. Just think of what it looked like inside (back then). Does any one have pictures of the inside

By Irene, Wisconsin/Michigan on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 02:13 pm:

Hey Skylar from Wisconsin: With such an original name like Skylar, I wonder if you're the Skylar I met at Vinnies? Would be a small world...Irene from Wisconsin/Michigan.

By A, Royal Oak, MI on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 04:45 pm:

During my childhood, everyone knew about the "poor farm" in Ontonagon. Prior to their marriage, my Uncle Paul's wife was employed there in the late 1920s and early 1930s; and we were fascinated with her many stories about life at the "poor farm." Whenever we misbehaved, we were threatened with being sent to the "poor farm."

Operationally, I don't know whether it was a federal government, state, or county project, but I vaguely remember from listening to family members that the farm and house were meticulously maintained by hired employees and those "poor folks" who were physically able to work.

I don't know exactly when the facility closed as a social services institution, but it would be an interesting project to find out more from Ontonagon County historical records.

In the mid 1940s, my Aunt Sylvia Laitala and husband Sulo purchased the property to be used as a working farm and bottled milk delivery business. The house itself was designed with separate quarters for men and women. What really impressed me were the beautiful wooden staircases leading to the separate sides of the house.

After leaving the failing farming business, Sylvia opened her very successful Syl's Cafe in Ontonagon. The restaurant is now operated by one of Sylvia's granddaughters, and the farm property is owned by family members.

By Joe Finn, Rhinelander, Wi on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 04:56 pm:

Thanks A3. Royal Oak. That was a very interesting history, about the poor farm. My parents would threaten me with the poor farm in Gogebic county. But, I never knew what went on there, and why that should be a bad destination.

By Taka @ Japan on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 05:59 pm:

Thank you Charlie. Thank you everyone. I will search more about UNICEF, and will post the further information as necessary.
Please allow me to try the HTML code which I have just learned 5 minutes ago ^^

Today's photo is speculacular Z-man!

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 06:28 pm:

Seems like every County in the US had a "poor farm". Back Home in Wisc. the official title was "County Farm". When these were operating there was a certain dread about being an "inmate" at the "poor farm" since it was a sign of failure. It was a form of welfare and in the first half of the 20th century being on the dole was not an honorable status.
The County Farms were supposed to be at least self-supporting and at best profitable - profits going to the general funds or school funds for the county. Folks who had to seek refuge at a county farm recieved shelter, meals, and a salary, in turn, they were required to work on the farm. A core staff of county employees managed the farm. One of my Dad's brothers managed the Kenosha County Farm through the Depression and WWII. There was no lack of labor during the Depression, but the onset of the war pretty well cleared the place out. By late 1942 the place was converted into a POW camp. My Uncle being German born and fluent in German stayed on as manager. This worked well and no one thought much about it. Only a very small number of military guards were present. The captive Germans seemed to realize the fortunes of war brought them to the safest place possible for a German soldier and were quite content to farm in Wisconsin.
The County Farm didn't last too long after the War, times were much better and it became politicaly incorrect to "force" poor folks to work on a "poor farm"

By Jim Copper Country on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 06:45 pm:

for Herb, NW Greenland Road and the two
somewhat parallel hwys se from Ontonagon: The former poor farm is on the Greenland Road, now a part of Mich 38. Not TOO many years ago this road was just a rough blacktop county road, and before that presumably gravel...and mud. At any rate, awhile back this road was greatly improved and updated; I don't recall if this is when the road was added into the Mich State Hwy # system, but otherwise 'twas about the same time. M 38 itself merits mention, as this route WAS part of M 35 until along about the same 25-30 years ago time period (when it was broken off from the rest of M 35 in the central UP....the much-earlier planned connection of the two M 35 pieces by way of northern Marquette Co in the YellowDog area never materialized...but this is a whole 'nother story).
The "other" hwy se from Ontonagon is, of course, US 45 to Rockland...and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, Alabama.

By Bob, Alabama on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 07:04 pm:

We had a long discussion on the Houghton Poor Farm on Jan 15, 2001. About the same general subject matter. Poor Farms were not a great place to be, but it was better than being hungry on the street.

By Patt on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 07:09 pm:

Wonderful to hear from Taka. Your's & Donn's photos are what first drew me to 3 years ago (Along with having a son starting to attend MI Tech) Good luck on your venture. Keep smiling!

@ @

By D. Hiltunen S.E. Tennessee on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 07:48 pm:

The picture of the horse is outstanding!To SDC in Ferndale MI. There is a house in Dollar Bay i know as the old Chechack house.My Grandparent's the Gilberts lived next to it.When i was a teen i remember i used to know a Jimmy Chechack who came in the summer to visit there.You also spoke of Chester, he is my uncle cause he married my father's sister.And i just moved out of Ferndale, MI.So your post was of interest to me,along with all the other's here today.The Gilbert home was torn down just recently on Ave F.

By Just Curious. on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

Why aren't there any credits on the "Heikki Lunta" lable to the man who wrote and recorded the song?

By The Z-Man on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:02 pm:

Nice to hear from you again Taka. Miss seeing the great shots that you produced of the U.P.

Another shot of this "Poor Farm" can be seen at I think Toivo cheated by reading this pic. Have a great day.

By Donna on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:31 pm:

Taka!! Of course we remember you. All Pasty Fans SHOULD!!! You are one awesome photographer and have graced this website with some of the most spectacular photography ever!

Many blessings to you!

By walter p tampa on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 08:45 pm:


By Fran,Ga on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 09:48 pm:

SDC,Ferndale and D.Hiltunen. I remember visiting the Chechak house with my Dad. He used to go visit Mrs Chechak and often he would take me with him. I was probably aout 10 yrs old then.I remember the house was very dark as she had no electicity.As a kid it seemed spooky. she wore dark clothing like they did in the old country. She always had a nice garden. My dad was good friends with the whole family and I'm not sure but we might have been "shirtail" relations.I know the whole family would visit us whenever one of them was in town Did you know the Starika's? they lived across the street from Chechaks.
D. Hitunen where in E. Tn do you live? I live right near Chatt,Tn across the stateline from East Ridge,Tn. I think my Dad worked with your Grandfather. I think he had a nickname but I can't think of it. Did he work at the Wire Mill.

By Catherine--Holland, MI on Monday, December 1, 2003 - 09:52 pm:

Greenland Road was improved prior to 1980 and probably before 1975. A3's relatives that now own the Poor Farm currently use it to store hay for their livestock. It looks like windows are missing and is probably therefore no longer in good shape inside. I would love to redo that place and live in it if I had money to burn!

By SDC, Ferndale on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 11:51 am:

D.Hiltunen and Fran:
I was just wondering if its the same Chechak's in Dollar Bay that owned that farm on the road going to my Great Grandparent's farm (Alcenius) paternal grandparents (Seppala) told us it burnt to the ground sooooo just wondering. As kids we would explore the "ruins" which were across from Matti Mattson's farm.

D. Hiltunen....nice to hear from a fellow former "Ferndalian" now Tennessian!

Fran...always nice to see your comments about your childhood....

By Connie - Colorado on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 12:06 pm:

I printed and framed Taka's photo of Houghton. It's up here on my wall. This was too good to only be my background on one computer! Taka's photo of Jupiter behind the Houghton miner statue is a classic! Most people can only dream of taking photos that are so great! Taka, Z-man and DDY don't have to dream. I'm still looking for the lense that can zoom all the way from here to the UP!

By danbury; germany on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 12:21 pm:

Old, more or less abandoned looking building with farmlike surroundings, flat, wintery landscape - at first glance I wondered why you choose a pic from eastern Germany. But unfortunately, there's no snow yet!
Anyhow, I like it. How about sending some of the white stuff over?;)

By Mary, MI on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

very very nice photo.

By Herb_NW_Wis on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 03:58 pm:

Interesting info on the Greenland road! First
time I went that way was in 1980 or maybe later.

One of the great charms of the Copper Country
are the many old and sometimes abandoned
buildings -- ghost towns! I love that stuff. From
looking at old maps and photos, however, I see
that most of what was once standing around the
mines is long gone.

I hope that the "old Ontonagon poor farm"
remains standing...


By D.Hiltunen E. TN on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 11:04 pm:

To Fran & SDC; I don't have a working e-mail to post on here for you at this time.Trouble with my Outlook Express.I live in Corryton TN.near Knoxville.My grandpa Beanie worked at the Wire Mill, so did my Dad Fatso.All the names you put in your post i am familar with.

By SDC, Ferndale on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 08:37 am:

D.Hiltunen E.TN:
My dad Stuart worked at the wire mill at one time or another but mostly he worked at Copper Country Dairy delivering their products. I do remember walking with my grandmother to bring my dad lunch when he worked at the wire mill. I must have been around 6 years of age,,,maybe 7 in the early 60's. My kindergarten teacher at $ Bay school was Mrs. Hiltunen. Great teacher! Any relation?

By Yoosta Be A Yooper - TN. on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 11:35 am:

SDC;No, she is no relation.I had her as my teacher too,along with Mrs.Helman,& Elaine MacDonald.It seems that more people with Dollar Bay connections visit this site more so then any-other town up there!

By SDC, Ferndale on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 12:56 pm:

Yoosta Be A Yooper:
Wow, blast from the past! I had Mrs. Helman and so did my dad when he was a kid. My sisters Pam and Karen and brother Gary had Ms. MacDonald. She retired by the time I reached her grade. My brother sang praises for Ms.MacDonald. He loved her.

Fast forward to Royal Oak Dondero I had Mrs. Elvie Miller a Finn from Wisconsin dubbed "The Bull-Dog"...she was a fiesty woman but you definitely learned in her class!

By Connie - Colorado on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 01:44 pm:

Yes Yes Yes!!! But youse never had the experience of being taught by Harold Mathieu at Houghton High School. One of the most memorable teachers of our time. Unfortunately, I just learned via internet search that he has passed away and I'm very sad about that. I just learned his son was living here in Colorado in Niwot. GRHS. God Bless his family! Obit Info Here (with sound).

By Yoosta Be- TN on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

SDC,I'am looking at your brother & sister's picture as i remember them in my DOBAHIAN Yearbook from 1965.I was in JR. high then.

By SDC, Ferndale on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 04:29 pm:

Yoosta Be:
Should be pictures of Gary in a basketball uniform picture and my sisters Pam and Karen (Seppala) in there too someplace. I was "down below" in the lower level....Mrs. Koeppel's class before we moved to Hubbell and I went to Mills school.....I think my sister Pam has that year book 1965...

By Yoosta Be- TN on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 08:48 pm:

Friends can reach me @ DavidandBarb89 on A.O.L. IM

By Dave janke Colorado on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 10:06 pm:

Ay someone in my era at
houghton High. I would have graduated there if I had not moved to Boulder Co in 63. Talking to a few of my classmates, I missed all the partys at the breakwaters. I do miss the water! Anybody want to email

By D Michigan on Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 10:43 am:

What a surprise this picture and the great comments on the "poor farm!" You see I grew up in that house, My mother and dad bought the "poor farm."-- WHich never seemed like a
"poor farm to us- my parents and my 5 sisters!" My mom who passed away in May would really have loved your comments!

By Rachel , MI on Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 04:39 pm:

What a cut horse

By M Robbins on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 09:02 pm:

I have ridden past this farm several times on my bicycle and I always wondered what the history was as it really stands out. A group of us from Grand Rapids, Michigan do a ride we call "The Sooper Yooper" in late September where we spend seven days riding around the Keweenaw and Porcupine Mountain Areas and I immediately recognized this building. Thanks for posting it.

By Dick Buist, Michigan on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 04:09 pm:

I ride that "Sooper Yooper" bike ride too!
I recognized it too even tho I couldn't make out the
writing on the wall.

By Kathy W, Michigan on Thursday, January 1, 2004 - 05:48 pm:

My husband and I are the current owners of the poor farm building and property. The horse that is pictured belongs to my son R.J. - the horse's name is Sunny. As a youngster growing up I always wanted to restore the building, but unless I win the Lotto, it isn't going to happen any time soon. The windows were broken by vandals many years ago, and nobody has lived in it since the late 60's. The building was built in 1900. They used 19 railroad cars full of bricks. There are 10 ft ceilings; 19 rooms plus an attic and a basement. It is a tremendous place to play hide and seek if your're a kid! It has a slate roof - one of only 2 buidings in our county that do. The trim work inside is #1 Georgia pine. When my parents finished remodeling their current house, they refinished some of it and used it. Some of the doors in the building were given to the Ontonagon Historical Society to use for shutters on the Ontonagon Light house. Since the likelihood of the entire building being remodeled is slim to none, I'm glad that at least parts of the building will continue. At this time there are no plans to knock it down, but if it becomes dangerous, we'll have to. I love that building, but I love my kids a bunch more. If anyone is interested in seeing the inside, I am the current owner of Syl's Cafe, and you can contact me there.

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