Nov 06-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: November: Nov 06-01
Hermit's cabin on Brockway Mountain    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Marlin Wenberg
A glimpse inside    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Marlin Wenberg

Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 - 06:12 am:

Ever wonder about the old structure up on Brockway? A quiet, private individual named Bill Mattila lived there for years. Back in 1977 Jim and Barb Wachowski hiked up off M-26 to meet Bill, an adventure they recount at George's Eagle Harbor Web. Here's an excerpt:

"We were invited into the cabin to sit awhile. What a place, walls covered with pages from various magazines and on the ceiling too. He gave us a tour of the grounds, his outdoor sleeping hammock, the well, and some of his stuff. The most interesting item that he showed us was a failed invention he attempted to perfect. He had taken an old rotary lawn mower without an engine, and on it, he mounted an old phonograph player he had. He "claimed" that it almost worked, but the blade would not turn fast enough to cut grass. I'm not sure about this - since Bill had no electricity - but we enjoyed the story. Bill told us some bear stories and introduced us to a cat he had. His most recent dog had just passed away, and he was a bit distressed about that."

Home Sweet Home
Special thanks to the Wachowski's and Marlin Wenberg for today's pictures, and to George Hite for the wealth of information he has gathered over the years at Eagle Harbor Web.
By Rose, Channahon IL on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 - 08:28 am:

Thanks for the pictures of old Bill's cabin. In the over 30 yrs. we have been going up to Copper Harbor we always heard about "the Hermit" Even though we had never met him we were sad when we heard he had passed away.
Only with our daily "visit" via pasty cam could we get through the rest of the year until time to go up north again. Thank You all!

By Melissa, Michigan on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 - 01:41 pm:

"The Hermit" was a collage artist. If he had been online, he could have submitted one to where he could then have seen his artwork alongside that of many other anonymous artists. Please visit, you may find yourself inspired!

By LadyYoop on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 - 05:17 pm:

I peeked around that place myself. Once you get up to where the cabin is, and you walk into the opening where you get your first glimpse, you feel like you are on "Hallowed Ground". It's quite a spiritual feeling at first! Then, when you are looking around, you just gotta wonder what kinda tough old Yooper could take a winter there! Holy Wha Man! It is truly a site to behold, but it is now marked PRIVATE or NO TRESPASSING!!

By Richard Kaiponen, Washington on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 - 09:52 pm:

wha!it was a surprise to see some of those pictures. that was my Uncle Bill, the Hermit.when i was young, in the early 50's stood up there for a while in his old cabin,before this one was built. this was the way he enjoyed living. It was very different, we always visited him over the years on vacation. He is missed very much.Thanks to those folks for those photo's.

By Richard-Garrett, IN on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 04:44 pm:

You might think or call this man a HERMIT but I think this was probably a very HAPPY man. Where else in the world can you be so close to heaven and still be standing on heaven's ground on earth.
Being an artist as he was,they look at monetary possesions quite differently.

By Jean, Michigan on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 08:20 pm:

Thank you so much for the pictures of Bill's cabin. They evoked many memories. If all of us who knew him ever got together we could write a book. He certainly was a character!

By Ann,Ca. on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 01:36 pm:

Thank you for the pictures of my uncle Bill. He really did enjoy having visitors and always had a story to tell. When I was in Mi. in Oct. I walked up to his cabin along with many other of Bills relatives including his sister who is 83 years old. We are in awe of this humble man who lived and died where he wanted, on his mountain with the fresh air that he loved and close to the stars.

By Peter Kettenbeil on Saturday, January 26, 2002 - 08:54 am:

I've many fond memories of visits with Bill...

One in particular is that he always said he saw "chinese" lake Superior......

Since that time I've often wondered if Alden Steck & Bill had seen the same things.......and if so; we should do a poll on how many others have seen similar things.......

Does anyone know who owns Alden Steck's painting of the object he saw in front of his house in Eagle River ?

By Dan S., Muskegon on Saturday, December 7, 2002 - 06:02 pm:

I read an article about Mr. Mattila in the
January/February 1969 issue of Michigan Natural
Resources Magazine. I now read here, at this
website, that Mr. Mattila has passed away. And the
little natural resource magazine has ceased
publication. Michigan and we are all a bit poorer
from the death of one and loss of the other.
Both made me tender hearted for an earlier, less
complicated Michigan. I was so hopeful to meet Mr.

By Robert W. Poull,WI on Wednesday, January 1, 2003 - 11:49 am:

To Peter Kettenbeil:

My wife and are Youpers--I from Lake Linden and she from Laurium.
My maternal grandmother, Agnes(Kline) Kettenbeil lived with us in Lake Linden when her husband, Charles Kettenbeil died in 1921.
Your name prompted me to ask your heritage.
Could you possibly be the son of Bruce & Marian Kettenbeil that I have listed on my Geneology chart? My geneology of the Kettenbeils is quite complete. Would like to hear from you.

By Frank C, NE Illinois on Thursday, January 2, 2003 - 02:50 pm:

Robert, I don't think a lot of people know how to view older messages, so you'll do better contacting him directly. I did a quick search for his name and it popped up with an email link on a message here; hope it's the same fellow (probably is).

Good luck!

By Diane Keys, Michigan on Monday, January 6, 2003 - 04:06 pm:

I have a painting by Alden Steck from the 1930's I adore.I would love to own more work by him but I am in Detroit and have never come accross another. Could anyone help me?
Warm Regards,
Diane Keys

By Jean, Michigan on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 05:14 pm:

Many years ago I had a book called "Haywire". I believe the author was Ira G. Farrell. It was about folks of Finnish descent. I loaned it to someone and they lost it. I would love to have another copy. If anyone has one for sale or knows where I might buy one, please contact me.
Thank you,

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