Dec 02-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: December: Dec 02-03
Portage Canal marker    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Donn de Yampert

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 05:03 am:

Donn de Yampert braved the blustery winds, so we wouldn't have to! With the snow coming down and the winds blowing it around, you can just barely see the marker on the Portage Canal. Looks like the kind of day to put another log on the fire and wrap up in a cozy blanket with a good book.

The big shopping push is on for the holidays. If you're at a loss for what to get someone, perhaps a delicious gift of U.P. Pasties, a Pasty Cam Calendar and a Heikki Lunta CD would be the perfect gift! Order early before the shipping dates fill up.

By Dan U. Silver City, MI on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 05:28 am:

Nice shot, Donn. Good composition. But are you crazy? It's
cold out there!

By Walt, Ohio on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 06:24 am:

Donn, is there thin ice all the way across? Sure looks that way. Dan, I don't think he was crazy...just dressed for the occasion!

By Taka @ Japan on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 08:17 am:

Was this shot taken at right under the lot 10 of Michigan Tech? oh man.. great shot! i wonder if the Superior will be frozen this year again.

By Steve the flying Troll on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 08:36 am:

I was told, but it has never been confirmed, that 1964 was the first year in the history of the airplane that Lake Superior was observed to be completely frozen over. Anybody know? It was also my first year at Tech, and one that will never be forgotten for the 300 inches of snow.

By Phillip, Houston, TX on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 09:51 am:

It's great to at least be able to SEE winter - I hung Christmas lights on the palm tree in my front yard this weekend...a very strange experience for a former Yooper!

By Taka @ Japan on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 09:52 am:

I have just noticed that Charlie opened the forum for UNICEF yesterday. I posted my message there. Please read it if interested. Thank you.

PastyCentral Cam Notes Page about UNICEF

By Dennis, Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 10:37 am:

Burrrrr...that's a great photo. It tells you that "Ole Man Winter" is on his way. I'm looking at that snow just knowing that we'll be eating some tasty pasties in about 24 hours. With a dash of that secret Toivo & Eino's sauce, you know we're going to add a little warmth to a cold evening. Any second now...those pasties are gonna be here...any second now....

By J.A. Texas. on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 10:52 am:

this one is worth a change in wall paper for the computer!! Today it is 60 and cloudy...perfect for a bike ride in west Texas but still miss the snow.

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 11:54 am:

Gorgeous, Fabulous photo, Donn. Too bad we can't still vote to get this in the calendar, but a WOW will do. I love the depth. Wish I had your talent.

By Beth, Detroit Suburbs on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 01:15 pm:

hey what was that link that was put up last winter, where we could check the ice's progression across the lake? it was some meterological site or something. i wish was had snow.

By Therese from just below the bridge on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 01:28 pm:

The link is:

I just checked; no ice yet. :)

By S.E.R. on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 04:56 pm:

nice picture, im glad you were the one to get and not me it sure looked cold out there. you are right it looks like a day for another log on the fire and some hot chocolate.

By Scott, Wisconsin on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 06:53 pm:

I think the lake froze over complete
in 1979? I seem to recall that?

Question! How much of the Portage canal
is natural and how much was dredged?
Is it a totally natural opening or was
it created?

Do many ships today still use it?
I only see the Ranger III on it when
I'm in Upper Michigan.

By boat fan, Hancock on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 08:30 pm:

Just had an ore boat go under the bridge this morning, from the lower entry to the upper entry

By paul trautman ,houghton on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 08:46 pm:

My back yard , A shot of the Pilgrim Point Light
From the boardwalk in the Nara nature park, too bad the city hacked all the alders down on the boardwalk, let's hope they get another grant to build another boardwalk on the other side of the Pilgrim river. Grant money is one of the main arteries of the Keweenaw.

By Just love Pasty cam! on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 08:57 pm:

Great shot! I think some of the very best photographers are here at Pasty cam! My humble opinion.

Hey! does anyone have a summer pic of this spot? It may sound cruel, but I just thought it might be fun to post a small picture next to the picture of the day once in awhile, to show what a difference a few months make, and in the case of this picture to (psych) "warm us up"!! Brrrrr!

By Nita, Northwestern CA on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 10:23 pm:

I just served my first order of pasties with Eino & Toivo's secret sauce to my son and his family who came up for Thanksgiving from the San Diego, Ca area. They " scarfed them down" which out here in northern California means they ate with much gusto. I have also tuned them into checking out the web site.I know they will enjoy all of the beautiful photos just as I do, and I haven't been to Michigan in over 60 years.

I enjoy your snow pics,very beautiful, this one a definite WOW. I'll have to settle for my umbrella and rain boots.

By W.L., CA on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 11:54 pm:

Umbrella and rain boots, or snow suits, wish I had to don either. Instead, I must don sunscreen with 70+ here in So Cal. Christmas in the summer time!! Ba-humbug.

By AČ, Royal Oak, MI on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 03:53 am:

Reference the Ontonagon Poor Farm featured in yesterday's Past-E-mail, the following was received from the Ontonagon Historical Society.

ONTONAGON COUNTY owned and operated a farm for the care and maintenance of indigent or disabled persons from their earliest years...the
first poor farm was setup in 1855 with Captain John G. Parker as Poor Commissioner. "Used up" lumberjacks, many crippled through aacidents...miners with damaged lungs, and other unable to support themselves in an era before Social Security, disability insurance, or other
agencies to deal with the problems of the poor or disabled were given a place to live out their time. In later years, those with tuberculosis were
also housed in the County Sanitarium (located behind the manor house where Frank Wardynski has his cattle barn). The TB Sanitarium was moved to
Rockland in 1935. It may be of interest to you to know that tuberculosis strikes an inordinate number of people of Native American and Finnish

Syl presented to the Ontonagon County Historical Society the death registry of patients at the Poor Farm infirmary and many with Finnish names succumbed to TB.

The Poor Farm manor house ws built in 1900 by Northern Builders....the building is of red brick, has a full basement, two full floors and a large vaulted attic. This beautiful manor house had a capacity for 30 patients with accomodations for both men and women. The Ontonagon Herald of June 15, 1901 stated "It is built of brick and finished with Georgia Pine and hardwood floors. The rooms are all well lighted, heated, and ventilated. No expense was spared in making them
cheerful and homelike and at the same time withstand the wear of ages."

The building still stands today, but is in great disrepair. Much of the internal woodwork has been salvaged for other buildings as well as
hardware and throught the walls are still solid and the slate roof basically sound, the foundation is badly cracked and the building has been used for hay storage. It is probably safe to say that it is no longer salvagable,nor would there ever be funds for restoration work. The house is located in the middle of a working farm and no precautions have been taken to preserve the
historical integrity of the building.

The original poor farm consisted of 207 acres (I believe Syl and Sulo purchase additional land at some point, but did not develop it). The
patient of the Poor Farm who could work, did, and a stay at the Poor Farm as not a mere handout by any means.The residents were expected to help
support themselves, those that could. Regular medical care was provided to the residents, such as it was in those days.

There were over 80 acres under cultivation producing potatoes and grains, not to mention the remainder under pasture or used as haylands. The
large modern barns (located right where M-38 cuts through the property)housed some of the finest Holstein cattle in the State, with many of the
members of the herd being listed in the breeds' stud book and breeding bulls from the Ontonagon County Farm being in great demand throughout the

In 1946, all of the Ontonagon County patients were transferred to a State run facility at Gibb City, Michigan (North of Ironriver in Iron
County). Mr.& Mrs.Sulo Laitala purchsed the farm from the county and operated a dairy there for several years and Syl ran her catering business
out of the big house. In 1968, Sulo & Syl purchased a Liberty mobile home and parked it in front of the big house and continued to live there for the early 70's, they entered the restaurant business and continued in that area as well as running two adult foster care homes until their retirement, but then you know this part of the story.

We were very well acquainted with the Laitala's and my wife spent a lot of time with Syl in her last days at the Ontonagon Memorial Hospital. Carol and JoAnn are both former pupils of mine and I have had Margie & Martha's kids in my classes at school as well as Elsie's children. My wife worked for Syl first as a cook and later as her bookkeeper for some years.

Is the Poor Farm eligible for entry on the Michigan Registry of Historic Places? Probably, but this would place severe restrictions on how
the property is used...I don't think that John Amos or Frank Wardynski are in a position to meet the requirements for restoration and interpretation of the property, nor would they want to. Frankly, the place is too far gone. We have some fine pictures of the place in our museum, and a scale model of the building that was built by one of my pupils some years ago. I
also have an article that was published some years back that has a little more history of the place.

If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to contact me directly at

Bruce H. Johanson, President
Ontonagon County Historical Society

By AČ, Royal Oak, MI on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 04:14 am:

I received a nice write-up from the Ontonagon County Historical Society about the Poor Farm. If anyone is interested in receiving it, I'll be glad to forward it to you. Just post a message to me with your e-mail address. It is a most interesting, comprehensive history sent by the Society's President, Mr. Bruce Johanson.

By Dave - Colorado on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 10:27 am:

I believe Scott, Wisconsin is correct. The first time in recorded history that Lake Superior completely froze over was the winter of 1978-1979. I was a student at Northern and I still remember how cold that winter was, especially after the Lake froze over and we lost the "buffering" effects of the open water. One night when we were staying in that little cabin that was shown on the first day of deer season (about November 15) the temperature got down to 42 degrees below zero. Even with the wood stove glowing red hot our beer froze on the floor! but not to worry... we just moved it upstairs into the loft...

Now if I remember correctly, Lake Superior froze over again about 10 years ago. Does anyone remember exactly when that was?

By Dave Janke-Colo on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 09:54 pm:

Dave-colo That was not the first time Superior froze, as there are wolves aand moose on Isle Royale. I think it was the 40s when they got to the island on the ice.

By Walt, Ohio on Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 07:27 pm:

Dave Janke,

Isle Royale is really close to the Canadian shoreline. I'd bet that the area between those shores freezes over more often.

By fy on Friday, December 5, 2003 - 10:00 am:

See George's Eagle Harbor web page, somewhere in there is a story on PEOPLE crossing the ice from Isle Royale to Eagle Harbor - that would pretty much mean Superior was froze over. If I remember right, early 1900's and seemed to suggest more than 1 winter when these crossings occurred.

Powered by:  
Join Today!
Messages can no longer be posted to these older discussion pages, but you are welcome to join the conversation on Today's Pasty Cam

Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours

See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

While in the Copper Country be sure to visit
On US-41 north of Calumet
on US-41 in Kearsarge, a mile north of Calumet.
(The home of Pasty Central)

Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Pasty.NET | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions