Dec 13 and 14-00

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2000: December: Dec 13 and 14-00
Piece of history in Laurium    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Charlie Hopper

Charlie at Pasty Central on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - 10:13 pm:

Anybody know the history of this building? I would be especially interested to know if any of our Pasty Cam visitors ever flew out of here.

Scroll down to see a continuation of Wednesday's chat, and more photos

By the way, the Pasty Cam 2001 calendar was assembled this afternoon. Thanks for all of your nominations for pictures to include. Stay tuned this weekend when the calendar will be available to order.

2001 Pasty Cam Calendar

Bill Penprase on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - 11:33 pm:

My first flight in an airplane was from this field. A Ford Tri-Motor came there one weekend and offered a ride for about 50 cents. We flew down over Lake Linden and back. That flight hooked me on flying. After the war a small plane, on takeoff, crashed into the attic of that building and all four people were killed. The field was closed after the Canadians built the Houghton County Memorial airport. There was also a landing field on the Isle Royal sands and its beacon was on top the Scott Hotel in Hancock. There was great interest in flying in the Copper Country before World War II and sadly too many of those men were killed in the war.

By Paul Jakson, Orange,CA on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 01:46 am:

Like Bill Penprase, my first flight out of the Laurium airport was in a Ford Tri-Motor. I also had a ride in a Stearman Bi-plane from there, that was in the late 30's. After WW II, I had a ride in Piper Aircoupe from the field. The take off and landings were pretty rough but fortunately they were short.

By Paul Kaiser, Paw Paw, Michigan on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 06:53 am:

The construction of the Airport was the largest WPA Project in Houghton County. Over 5,000 men loaded and moved the dirt with picks and shovels and wheelbarrows. Very popular as a stop on the American Legion "fly-ins" in the '30s. many of us had our first airplane ride during one of these barnstorming flights.

By Liz Benson, Pocatello ID on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 10:24 am:

In the early '60s we walked from Mine Street area to the back edge of Laurium to ice skate in a building. Was it this building?

By Scott on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 11:51 am:

Back in the very early 70's, this is where I played my first years of hockey. I think the team was the VFW ??? Mites. It would always be very cold. The parents would scrape the ice with shovels, because there wasn't a Zamboni...

By Stan, Holt, MI on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 12:03 pm:

I was about seven years old when I lived about three blocks from this building. It was an airplane hanger then with big doors for planes to enter. I remember the crash at this building. I believe a local doctor named Dr. McQueen was one of the people in this fatal accident. After the accident was cleared, I went down to see the hanger. A huge hole was in top of the face above the hanger doors where the plane crashed into the building.

By Robert C Wetton on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 12:29 pm:

Here are a couple shots of the crash as mentioned by Bill Penprase. (Dr. McClure? McQueen?)I wonder if they also remember during the war ,that the Army Air Corp trained pilots there.

Crash in Laurium
Just FYI... the engine ended up in the loft hangar.
from the crash

By Lesley on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 12:34 pm:

My Dad tells stories about learning to fly out of that airport, and the Isle Royale Sands. He ended up as a flight instructor during WWII, and later flew for Pan Am. He ended up choosing another career and sticks to commercial flights, or cars -- last week he mentioned that he had a heck of a time getting out of the Miscowabik Club parking lot! (Or the "Pesky Wabbit Club", as my husband refers to it!)

By Janet, Arizona on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 01:02 pm:

My first ride in an airplane - at age 6 - in Laurium ! Flew over Laurium, and remember the houses looked so small. It was Dr McClure who died at scene of crash, I rode my bike to the aprt at the time, was sorry I did, so sad to see.

By Jim, Mid-Michigan on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 03:08 pm:

It was Dr. McClure, his office was on the second floor of a bank building on Fifth Street in Calumet. He was on his way to Arizona or New Mexico as we were told. He was both my wife's and my eye doctor.

By Bob Wetton on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 04:50 pm:

They were going up for a test hop with the A/C, as they had installed some new navigation equipment an had trim the Aircraft. It was Beechcraft Bonanza V tail. The DR and his Mechanic were to two fatalities.

By Patti on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 06:43 pm:

To Liz.....Yes...we used to skate there.

By Dan in Fenton, MI on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 07:02 pm:

Like Scott, I remember the early 1970s days of no Zamboni, and scraper shovels side-by-side going down the ice. Time was allocated to groups to play hockey or just skate. Dad always had to tighten my skates, or I would be bent-ankled. I had a pair of white figure skates dyed black (Don't tell the other boys). There was a woman there taking care of the place. Having no P.A. system, she would holler at the top of her lungs for everyone to get off of the ice, "It's nine o'clock!!" She also ran a concession.

By Bill Penprase on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 10:58 pm:

Very interesting discussions on the old Laurium airport. I knew it was a doctor who was flying that plane but couldn't remember his name - I think it was Dr. McClure. I knew two of the men killed in that accident and as I remember they were testing the plane not only because of new navigational equipment but they had installed a new cruising prop because the doctor had planned to fly out to Arizona on a vacation. Contributing to the accident was the fact that it was early evening and they were taking off into the sun and probably did not see the hangar.

That field also was used for commercial flying on a regular schedule. Wisconsin Central, I believe, and another small airline out of the lower peninsula flew a regular schedule out of there. Yes, the Army Air Corps use that field to give the College Training Detachment (CTD) personnel some flight experience before entering the Aviation Cadet program. I went through that program at Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio during the war. Brings back so many memories.

By Les Bammert. Buffalo, N.Y. on Friday, December 15, 2000 - 11:22 am:

I recall there was one survivor of this crash. His name was Secor.[Laurence I believe?]Dr. McLure was treating me for an eye problem at this time.I think Secor was from Centennial Heights. He was a few years ahead of me in school.I would think the Daily Mining Gazette could verify if Secor was a survivor.

By Bob Wetton on Friday, December 15, 2000 - 12:56 pm:

You ve got that right Les. My friend who lives, still in Laurium mentioned that also. He used to ride with Doc and probably would have been on that flight cept he had chores to attend to. He also stated another contributing fact to the crash was it had rained quite hard earlier so the grass was probably quite wet.

By Keith Caserio in Utah on Saturday, December 16, 2000 - 09:15 am:

What was the date of the crash? I only have a very vague memory of the event.

By rcw on Saturday, December 16, 2000 - 11:42 am:

Im not sure, but probably around 1940 or 41

By Bill Penprase on Saturday, December 16, 2000 - 03:08 pm:

That crash occurred after the war. The Beechcraft Bananza became very popular then. I'm guessing that it happened about 1949 or 1950. The Mining Gazette probably has files on this.

By JohnJackKumpula on Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 02:21 pm:

It was about 1949 as I lived on Tamarack St and ran down to see what had happened.Not a pretty sight.
In later years my sister Stella Mottonen gave figure skating lessons there.
I recall Army planes landing there after the war

By Donald Secor on Sunday, January 7, 2001 - 11:37 am:

The lone survivor is Thomas Secor and he lives in Centennial Heights. He is my brother.

By K.L. - Michigan on Sunday, January 7, 2001 - 12:10 pm:

the picture of the houghton county airport 1934
I never flew out of there i wasn't even born yet but i do go skating by it at the george gipp arena. and the airport still stands with many other buildings around.Nobody really pays attention to it but it does mean alot because it is part of history.Maybe some people don't think so but it definetly is.
Sincerly, Katie

By Joe Pelissier, SC on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 12:17 pm:

At the time of the crash we were playing baseball in the field adjacent to the airport. We heard the noise and ran to see what happened, so we were among the first to arrive at the scene. The plane was upside down with the four victims still strapped inside. The engine was in the rafters of the hangar.
I was about 12 years old and living on Florida Street, about 1/2 mile from the airport.
By the way, around that time the fellow who lived with his wife in the small house at the airport took passengers to Isle Royale in his Republic SeaBee seaplane. One day he and three others took off and never arrived there. They were presumably lost over Lake Superior, but I believe, no trace was ever found.

By Jack Wilks on Thursday, October 4, 2001 - 09:17 pm:

This building was only known to me as a hockey rink. I remember learning how to skate and play organized hockey here. I also coached a girls hockey team here.
Jack Wilks, Farmington Hills, MI.

By Ron Martinmaki Wi. on Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 05:47 pm:

I went to the airport after this accident of Dr. McClure. And it was McClure.

By Olive Cornish Kimball on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 11:02 pm:

I remember the date because my brother Bill Cornish was involved in flying with Doc McClure and he, Doc, was my opthomologist at the time. Tom Secor has retured to the UP - he was the lone survivor and I drove with him to Tech for a year when we were both studnts there.

By Daryl Laitila (Daryl) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 07:59 pm:

These are a couple of photos from the survivor of the crash, Tom Secor.
Crash photo one
Crash photo two

By Tom Secor on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 08:47 pm:

Because I still get remarks, reminders and questions ---------
after 56 years --------- , this is to clarify and correct the
comments that have been posted here in the archives ( dated
13th/14th December 2000 ) .
I am Tom Secor, living in my boyhood home in” Centemental
Heights “ just north of Calumet,Michigan . I am an honorably
discharged NAVAL AVIATOR [ LTJG, with a
Commercial Pilot License ratings for single & multi-engine, land
& sea, unlimited horse-
Power] Was separated from Service in September 1946 , on a
Friday and started at MTU
on the following Monday, in the SCHOOL of FORESTRY .
I met Dr. MCClure when I needed reading glasses. We became
friends, chatted about flying, etc. Flew numerous times with him
in his ski-equipped Aerocoupe plane on area
famil-flights around the U P. I had no qualms about his flying
skills at that time.
Early in 1948 he asked me to be his pilot/copilot for a flight to
Bakersfield, California ,
with his family as passengers .I immediately involved myself in
an aircraft familiarization program during the time- period that
Ed Shmeltz [A&E-FBO at the Laurium airport] was tweaking the
Bonanza for the trip.
This flight was to be a test of the installation of a directional
gyro .The day was clear and nice. Bob and Ed were up-front and
I was belted-in the middle of the back seat so that I could
observe the instrument panel and the vacuum test gear that Ed
was using . The takeoff was in a North/Northwest direction and
everything appeared to be normal ; no sun in our eyes , no wet
grass, etc, etc.
----------------- I DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ELSE !
! ----------------------
As you can see from the pictures , we hit the hanger “ square-
on”. I wqs declared dead by the coroner and covered with that
black blanket that is on the wing. I “crossed-over” into the 4th
dimension and was met there by 3 “Spirit Guides” - which is
another facit of this occasion which I am willing to discuss, if
I “woke-up/came-to” my senses about 8 weeks later in the
Laurium Hospital with a contra -coup Brain Concussion,
lacerated left temple (torn open) ,partially Paralyzed left side,
Diplopia, Tinnitus and obviously----Brain damage.( I was 24
years old ).
I recovered enough to take the Summer Surveying Course at
Tech with my C/L/K buddys
Dropped out of Tech and went to Minneapolis to “ work-out “
my problems and subsequently had an extensive series of work
experiences in an attempt to recver my full
Functioning abilities.
------------------ IT TOOK 30 YEARS
Graduated from MICHIGAN STATE UNIV (in Forest
Products)/ worked as an Engineer
At General Electric, Ohio/ as an Engineer at Lockheed,Georgia /
as an Engineer at Lockheed,California / as Sales Engineer at
FMC,San Jose ,Ca plus numerous other types of positions.
Started my own successful Engineering Consulting Business [
Mats] in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In all those years, I talked with many pilots who had flown the
Bonanza and eventually
discovered that it was called The Doctor Killer because of the
lack of flying competence,
experience and skills that the average doctor exhibited .( in
short, the plane had extremely strong engine torque that need
special pilot skills

ENUF SAID -------------------------- ! !

By Troll, Lower MI on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 12:09 pm:

Tom Secor:
Please tell us more about your 3 spirit guides. You've peaked my interest as I do believe in this stuff.

By Tom Secor,Mi on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 11:12 am:

Troll,Lower Mi:
Thank you for your interest.Please send me your
name and E-mail address so that the discussion
will be kept on a person-to-person basis.
Respectfully; Tom Secor

By Mary Lou on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 02:46 pm:

Tom Secor..THANK YOU for taking the time to share with us your experience in the plane crash 58 yrs ago. You have done very well to overcome your terrible injuries... my late husband and his friends were 16 yr old Lake Linden kids, who were very interested in planes. I know they went to Laurium that day to see the husband later took lessons and recieved his own private license.

By Vicky Lane McClure McAree Hutchens on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 11:36 pm:

My name is Vicky Lane McClure McAree Hutchens. I am the oldest daughter of Dr. Robert J. McClure. Because I was only nine when this terrible tragedy occured, I have few memories. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this story, it means more to my sister and I then words can express. I believe Tommy Secor had died and was overcome when my sister informed me he was alive and well. He is my only contact with that early part of my life as my mother also died when we were very young. Any other memories you would like to share of our father would be most appreciated. Thank You.

By Tom Secor on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 09:42 pm:

Vicky Hutchens - - -
I was flabbergasted to see your response ! !
Please send me your E-mail address so that I
possibly can recall more pleasant memories for
you.I think that I have a picture of your father
in one of my photo albums that's packed in a
box up in the attic.(We've only been home for 5
Tom Secor

By Troll, Lower MI on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 12:32 pm:

Tom Secor:
You are a "earth angel" to be able to supply information on the terrible crash involving Dr. McClure to his daughter Vicky. Now you know why you had to come back to earth.

By mo, mi on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 07:31 pm:

Tom, A very interesting story and pictures. I was a girl of 11 years old when this happened. We were just leaving the airport and watched as the plane crashed. I had my camera with me and took a few pictures which were in an album for many years until one of my children wondered why I kept such gruesome photos. I frantically searched for them back in 2000 when the crash was first mentioned on this site. One of my pictures was almost identical to the bottom one. Glad to see there are still pictures around. I agree with Troll that it's so nice of you to offer to share with Dr. McClure's daughter.

By Ryan on Sunday, June 20, 2004 - 08:25 pm:

Dear Tom:
could you please tell us more on how it felt to see the three spirits. I really would like to know were you scared did the spirits talk to you if they did what did they say. If you could reply to me @

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