Apr 10-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: April: Apr 10-01
Stone wall near Copper Harbor    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Jon Hopper

Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 10:40 pm:

What an incredible change has taken place in April. Sure, you will find stretches which still have a couple of feet on the ground. You should see the banks around Still Waters in Calumet, from which Pasty Central originates. But farther out on the Peninsula, the white stuff is disappearing.

Of course, if you've ever shot a round of golf at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, you're familiar with this wall. I wonder if any of our Cam Watchers have ever played here in the snow?

By jj,greenville,mi on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 05:26 am:

wonder how old this hand built stone wall is? seems to have held up very well, in spite of the extreme temperature changes in u.p.

By Denise in the LP on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 08:30 am:

I seem to remember a plaque on this wall indicating it was built as a Civilian Conservation Corp project which means it dates back to the 1930s.

By Jason, MI on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 12:05 pm:

I have never played golf at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, but I will be playing this summer. I heard it is very hard, if anyone has ever played there before I'd enjoy talking to you.

By Reuben Thiele, VA on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 12:59 pm:

I played there about 8-10 years back. It is rather difficult, due to all the peaks and valleys. It was a fun round though. You will like it very much. It's rather historic as well, built during the depression. It is also pretty rustic, they have no man-made irrigation.

By Carol From Clare on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:55 pm:

I was always told that it was a W.P.A. project and that my Grandpa, August Kipina worked on it.

By Bill P, Ca. on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 06:25 pm:

Please excuse me for getting on here so often but I must get in on this. The Keweenaw Park was built during the Great Depression by the W.P.A.
Mr. Ocha Potter, Superintendent of the Ahmeek Mines, conceived the project and as a County Supervisor guided the work. Mr. Potter was an avid golfer and quite a visonary. The C.C.C. had no activity in Keweenaw County except possibly some efforts on Isle Royale.

That wall is standing today because our fathers had a desire for excellence. In all probability a stonemason of extraordinary talent named Swanamaki(not sure of spelling)worked on that wall. Swanamaki make those beautiful fireplaces in the lodge. There are stories of his feats that I wouldn't believe if I hadn't seen them. He also built several fireplaces at Gitche Gumee Bible Camp. He was an artist of high order.

I caddied at that course while in high school during the summers of 40,41 and 42 and met some real fine people but that's another story. The course is not very difficult for one who knows the course well.

Thanks for bearing with me and those dumb old memories.

<Charlie>: Hey Bill, leave us a message every day if you have the time. I personally love to read your insights into the area, and that's the real goal of this daily feature: to explore the U.P., with a major focus on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

By michael....ontario, canada on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 06:28 pm:

Greetings from your neighbours to the north. Actually I'm situated south of you but whatever. You live in a very beautiful part of your country and I look forward to the day when I will be able to come see it firsthand.

By Betty, Houston on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 08:17 pm:

Yes Bill, please leave messages as often as you can! They surely aren't "dumb old memories."
They are treasures. Come back very soon.

By Kate, Bay Area, CA on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 08:18 pm:

What a pleasure to read Bill's insights into the
history of events in the Keweenaw. Thank you for
sharing your knowledge and wonderful memories.

By WhiskeyCreek on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 09:09 pm:

Thanks to Bill for his insight on the wall. The WPA was the butt of a lot of jokes - but just about every thing they built was a work of art and high quality. Most is still standing today, and if not, it isn't because of the work quality. I grew up during the depression and witnessed a lot of their work and am proud that it exists today, as well as the work of the CCC - they too built many of our National Park roads and complexes.. Too bad so many of our people today only work for a pay check and have no pride in what they do when they are supposed to be working.

By Jilbert, Westland, MI on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 09:50 pm:

Just stopped by for a snow depth check - the folks are going up to Gogebic for Easter weekend. Nice to know they won't have to shovel the drive!

By G.C. formerly of Mohawk on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 12:29 pm:

The mason Bill P. was talking about was Swanee Maki. He was a artist of his trade. His son Weba Maki also was a excellent mason. They live up in Gratiot Location.They were in big demand during the 50"s along with another great mason Gordy Simson(imported from Detriot by Mr Snur).
These guys worked hard and played hard.

By Lesley on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 01:32 pm:

Didn't the CCC or WPA also build that ship that's just north of the Country Haus restaurant? Seems to me my Dad has mentioned that to me.

By jeff, MN on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 09:05 pm:

Just want to second-third some thanks to Bill and G.C. for their info on the origins of Keweenaw's extraordinary outdoors stone-masonry. That fireplace inside the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge just takes my breath away everytime I dine there.
Will have to check out Gitchee Gumee's stone-work sometime as well now that I've been made aware of its existence.
As for the Wolverine Battleship, well...it's surely one of a kind!

By Bill P. Ca. on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 09:57 pm:

Thanks G.C.for giving us the correct spelling of Swanee Maki's name. I indicated that he was an unusual artist. Just one incident made me a confirmed Swanee admirer. Swanee had a flat-bed truck that he used to get field stones that abound in the Keweenaw. We went with him to gather these stones in preparation for building a fireplace and chimney at Gitche Gumee. Swanee would study the rocks and then point out the rocks he wanted and we lifted them to the bed of the truck. After visiting a few rock sites I was beginning to wish I was at home. Swanee didn't take all the rocks in each field but stood there thinking before selecting each rock. We finally got all the rocks he wanted and unloaded them at the Gitche Gumee. Swanee in the days following would search the rock piles at the site and often ask us to locate certain rocks that all looked alike to us until he chisled off a face and exposed the beauty of each. We finally realized that Swanee actually planned what that fireplace was to look like in minute detail out in the fields as he selected the rocks. I have never figured out how he knew what was on the interior of those field rocks; they are all different on the inside. In the Hart Cabin at Gitche Gumee he planned a faint cross on the outside chimney and proudly showed it to us when he completed the job. It is a beautiful fireplace.

He was a real artist!!

By Phil from Western Colorado on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 06:36 pm:

To Denise from the LP. It is a wall that matches
the Brockway Mountain Drive walls. It has to be a CCC project

By George Potter, Vero Beach, FL on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:42 pm:

In May of 1939, my grandfather, Ocha Potter, completed the major part of his autobiography in which he expressed great pride in the work ethic among the miners who were the primary benefactors in the C.W.A. project he headed, called by some, "Potters Folly."
The quality and endurance of that stone wall is a testimony to the high standards and pride of men who refused to dig a ditch one day, and fill it up the next.
Ocha ended up with contempt for bureaucratic officials who made life difficult and inefficient and he had his fill of them by the end of that project, the building of the Keweenaw Lodge and golf course. In spite of that, he wrote with a sense of humor, affection and pride in all of those who were a part of that effort.

By Ethan Turnquist on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 02:06 pm:

I am doing a local history research paper and chose the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. If any one has any information about the Lodge please email me at ethanturn@hotmail.com

By oja, Michigan on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 09:46 am:

I am doing research on Copper Harbor, Michigan becausew my great-grandpa Victor Oja built the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. He also built the 'First Lady of Pines' church in Copper Harbor. this is just some interseting facts i could add.

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