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Old 05-19-2010, 11:05 AM   #16
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Iron Mountain

Like the trooper pointed out to Gadget Boy, best to be aware that these sometimes pesky critters are all over the place.


There are also a few moose around. We ran into a couple just the other day. Don't get too close to these as they can get ornery.


Stopped to look at a ski jump (and the related view).


This one is kind of small compared to the world class ski flying facility we'll visit further along in the ride.






Some people were building a verterans memorial on top of this high hill. I took of moment to thank them for what they were doing. These things don't just happen, some dedicated people work hard to see them come to fruition.






Even though the forests were largely destroyed in the early days of the lumber business, for a variety of reasons that I'll cover later, things have come back and the timber industry is strong here.


Surprisingly, the biggest employers in the UP are prisons and casinos. Tourism far outdistances these in the summer, but the season doesn't last long. One travel outfit listed the UP as one of the top ten travel destinations in the world. There is a lot of great stuff to see and do here. It seems like it is a long way to go from many places to get here though.


By the way, when enjoying these twisty roads, keep an eye out for sand left over from the winter that can make the corners a little dangerous.


Some of my fellow ADVers will recognize that corner from when sand wasn't a problem but tar snakes were.


Best to keep in mind that some of these roads are pretty unscientific (decreasing radius turns, etc).
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:00 PM   #17
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Mansfield Mine Disaster

Next stop, the ghost town of Mansfield and the site of the Mansfield Mine Disaster.


Iron ore was discovered here so they ran a rail spur up from Crystal Falls and got a mine going. The mine was going well. They were down about 425 feet and had six side shafts. I think 125 miners were employed here.

One of the side shafts ran under this river. The top level was only 35 feet below the river. On September 28, 1893, the shaft caved in under the river and the river flooded the mine. The cave in caused a downdraft that blew out candles and lanterns in the mine. The miners made a break for it but got caught in a torrent of water pouring into the mine.


Five made it out by scrambling up ladders. Twenty seven died. A look at the names gives some hints as to immigrant miners.


Eventually they re-routed the river and got back in business. The mine closed in 1913 and logging and farming took over. The mine eventually got down to 1517 feet and produced 1.5 million tons of ore that was shipped by rail to Escanaba on Lake Michigan.

This ghost town once had 2 stores, a boardinghouse, a school, a church, and three saloons.


As if they didn't have enough trouble, a year after the cave-in a devastating forest fire came through that burned up the stuff on the east bank including some mining works.


The church, on the unburned west bank, has since been restored and is a great building.














Some cabins left to rot.




This homestead has been reasonably maintained and all of the buildings seem to be in great shape.


I am surprised that televison antenna lasted that long though.


A nearby hydro project. Still valuable today.


Note the use of the tainter gates. These were invented in Wisconsin in the logging days and are now used world-wide.


Some of the stuff on the bike. I travel alone a lot so I use a SPOT tracker. I don't rely on it, but it is one more thing in the event something bad happened. The satellite radio works well. In the wooded areas where the roads are narrow and the trees close in it falters a bit. I use the 2610 for highway stuff. For rides like this one, the 60 series with tracks suits me best since I often end up in places where the paths don't route.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:15 PM   #18
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Just catching up a bit. Thanks for the encouraging replies. It is always nice to know that some others are interested some of these rides that take in a bit of history.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:27 PM   #19
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Awesome report, that area is very high on my hit parade. Well done and much appreciated.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:34 PM   #20
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Cannonshot,

Another great report! Thanks.

What is the bottle attached to your mirror for?

Thanks again!

Todd

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #21
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Cannonshot,

Another great report! Thanks.

What is the bottle attached to your mirror for?

Thanks again!

Todd
Primitive chain oiler. Give it a squeeze and some 90 weight oozes through some tubing to the chain at the rear sprocket.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:40 PM   #22
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Crystal Falls and Some Political Mischief



When Iron County was established in 1885, the county seat was set up in Iron River. Crystal Falls wanted the seat pretty badly so they engaged in a little mischief to get it. Some people from Crystal Falls arranged for a poker game to be held at the temporary courthouse in Iron River after a board meeting. Sometime into the game, two supervisors from Crystal River pretended to go upstairs to go to bed. Instead, they stole the county records and hauled them off to a hiding place. Some wrangling went on and finally in 1888 they held a county-wide election to decide the issue. Crystal Falls won by a narrow margin and both sides accused each other of importing votes and some other hocus-pocus. Finally, in 1890 they floated a $30K bond and went to work building this magnificent courthouse that sits atop a hill overlooking the town.


The clock was added 20 years later and had to be hand wound weekly until the 1940s when they converted to electric.




During WWII the balcony was used for air watches. Iron production was important so air watches were necessary. There is a huge bell in the tower that can be heard for miles. I read that it was no longer being rung because the vibrations were doing damage to the building. They must have fixed that problem because it rang 11 times when I was there.


A nice view looking east going out of town.


This house is now the Harbour House Museum. It is a brick and cement block house built in 1900 for the Harbour family. It is noted for the steamboat style wrap around porch. It is furnished like a victorian home of the 1900s.


The nearby town of Alpha is part of Mastodon Township (named after some dino-bones they found when looking for iron). Mining started in 1884. The village was incorporated in 1914 and had a bank, lights, and a water system. It was a marvel of urban planning with the important facilities formed around a traffic circle. Population peaked at 530 in the 1930s.








Headframe for the nearby Judson Mine. Another open pit mine nearby had a cave-in that trapped 12 miners. They managed to dig out five survivors.


Always happy to see these old buildings maintained and continue to be used.


Another reminder about pesky deer.


As you know, if there is one on the shoulder, there are probably more very nearby.
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:52 PM   #23
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #24
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Beautiful country, photos anf narrative

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Old 05-19-2010, 06:11 PM   #25
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Fantastic!!!!!!

Planning on touring the Uper in late summer this year, thanks for putting together this ride report.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:20 PM   #26
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Between Crystal Falls and Iron River




This is the Fortune Pond. It was an open pit iron mine from 1953 to 1958 during which it produced 1.3M tons of ore. It was left to fill in with water. The pit is 210 feet deep, 750 feet wide, and 1930 feet long. It has great visibility and is a favorite spot for scuba divers.


I always wonder a little about the water in mining areas. Anytime you penetrate so many layers so deep in the earth and then leave shafts to fill with water, I guess some bad things can happen. Not sure if this relates, but it does bring some issues to mind.


This State Park was a county park for many years. It was developed during the hard times that produced works projects like the Civilian Conservation Corps. Anytime you see a lot of rock work, log buildings, and the like from that era, there is a good chance it was done by something like the CCC or other programs like the Works Progress Administration. There is some CCC stuff here. You are welcome to drive through the park even without a sticker as long as you don't stop.






Some nice backroads in the area.


Lots of trees close in - don't miss a corner.


When snowmobiles first took off, there must have been a few hundred manufacturers. Now the program has cooked down to a few giants. In the old days, you would see all kinds of configurations. This 1970s period Canadian made Passepartout (the name of a Jules Verne character) snowmobile has tracks like a tank and no skis. What a gem.


This site was a pre-european indian settlement that was a headquarters of some sort. Various bands would congregate here.


Love these stone buildings.


Sometimes you are riding along and you unexpectedly happen upon some mine works. This is the Rogers Mine but I couldn't find much info on it.


In 1919, Herb Larson (a county official) established this roadside park. His aim was to try to have some timbered buffer along the highway instead of the clear cutting that was ruining the area. He saw the need for a rest area for motorists to use to rest, eat, and share information. The result was this wayside park which they claim to be the first in the nation.




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Old 05-19-2010, 08:18 PM   #27
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I am surprised that television antenna lasted that long though.


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Old 05-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #28
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I travel...I see...I enjoy....through the lens of your camera.
Nice pics....keep 'em coming...

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Old 05-20-2010, 06:17 AM   #29
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:32 AM   #30
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Iron River

The Iron River area was a concentrated spot of iron mining.




A nice looking depot. Railroads were big in this area.


I was hoping to eat lunch here but they weren't operating yet.


The museum in town has a great collection of cabins that they moved to the site from around the county. They also have a great mining exhibit.

This was a cabin and later became an office for a logging company.


This apparatus was used to lift logs off of sleighs and wagons.


Another company office.


Ironically, the Diamond Match people quit some operations in the UP in part because their logging practices led to some devastating fires.






I wonder what winter was like in these cabins.






The #3 shaft at the Caspian Mine. (The museum is at the mine site.)


This 60 foot #2 shaft headframe suddenly sank beneath the surface when a mud hole opened up at 3:25PM on June 17, 1937. In the end, this finished off the mine. This mine had produced 6.6 million tons of ore (shipped via rail to Escanaba).


This is the #1 headframe that is still standing in the park. It is the tallest remaining headframe in the county. This one hauled ore out of the mine. The one that sank hauled miners.


Here is a picture of it back in the day. Note the landscaping around the mine building.




A steam roller.


There were many great buildings put up during high times. So many have fallen into disrepair and have been abandoned. It is kind of sad. When I looked past the deterioration and saw what this original structure and site were like, I was very impressed. Some buildings I was looking for specifically on this trip had recently been torn down. One was a hotel in Iron River where a lawyer got into it with a prohibition agent over arresting someone in the hotel for drinking. My take on it was that the lawyer had a few himself before the confrontation started.

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