Skip to main content

Great Lakes Road Trip Day 6 Part 2; M-26 from Copper Harbor to Houghton

As I stated previously in Part 1 of Day 6, I decided to take M-26 back to Houghton despite the incoming storm over Lake Superior.  I don't like to drive in the rain all that much but I hate backtracking even more.  Besides, I wanted to see more of the copper mining ruins on the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The current configuration of M-26 is about 96 miles in length from US 41 in Copper Harbor to US 45 west of Mass City.



M-26 runs along the coast for about 24 miles before meeting US 41 in Phoenix.  The first community M-26 passes through Eagle Harbor which has been inhabited since 1844.  The first large industry in Eagle Harbor was of course copper mining which took place at North American and Eagle Harbor mines.  The community is mostly known for the Eagle Harbor lighthouse which dates back to 1871.


The storm from Copper Harbor finally caught up to me at Great Sand Bay between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River.


I stopped in Eagle River next while the rains were coming down.  Eagle River dates back to the Mid-1840s and had profitable mines until the 1870s.  I stopped to see the Lake Shore Drive Bridge which was built in 1915 and the Eagle River Falls below.  The replacement Eagle River Timber Bridge is an arch span constructed of wood which was opened in 1990.








M-26 intersects US 41 in Phoenix and is multiplexed south to Calumet/Laurium.  Phoenix was the location of the Phoenix Mine which was apparently one of the first big copper mining operations in the 1840s in the Keweenah Peninsula.  Really all that appears to be left of the town is a general store-looking building at the junction of M-26/US 41.






M-26 is multiplexed for 14 miles south to Calumet.  The first community south of Phoenix is Mohawk which appears to be a husk of mining village.






Directly south of Mohawk is the village of Ahmeek.  Ahmeek was a mining town that was estalished in 1904 and was located on the Mineral Range Railroad.  Ahmeek had a high population of about 900 during the height of the copper boom but has declined to less than 200.  Ahmeek actually does have a substantial downtown area to see along 5 Mile Point Road.



South of Ahmeek is the communities of New Allouez and Allouez.  Both appear to be related to the copper mining era but I can't find much of substance on either of them.



South of Allouez is Kearsarge which was founded in 1867 and apparently had active mining activity until the 1920s.


Between Kearsarge and Calumet/Laurium there is a sign for Centennial but I can't find anything written about it.  I'm actually surprised more of these communities aren't covered on websites like ghosttowns.com.






Southbound M-26/US 41 intersects M-203 which comes from the west in Calument.  M-26/US 41 bisects Calumet to the west and Laurium on the right before the former splits from the latter on 3rd Street.








M-26 uses Helca Street and Lake Linden Avenue to traverse downtown Laurium.  Laurium essentially was founded alongside Calumet and actually had the name until 1895.  Laurium was generally considered to be the more upscale and wealthier part of the Calumet/Laurium mining community which is reflective in some of the more ornate surviving homes.  The peak population of Laurium was about 8,500 in 1910 and has declined to about 1,900 today.






M-26 starts to head towards the southeast shoreline of the Keweenaw Peninsula crossing through the community of Florida.  I couldn't find anything written about Florida but it just appears to be an extension of Laurium.





Before entering Lake Liden M-26 travels under an abandoned Railroad overpass.





M-26 turns south on Calumet Street through downtown Lake Linden.  I believe Lake Linden was founded in the 1880s and it appears to almost destroyed in a large fire 1887.  The village had a peak population of about 2,600 at the peak of the copper boom but has declined to about 1,000 today.





South of Lake Linden is Hubbell which I can't find much written on.  The community seems to have a lot in common with Lake Linden with similar buildings dating back to the copper boom.






Tamarack City is directly south of Hubbell which has some ruins of the Quincy Mill.






Approaching Portage Lake is Dollar Bay which was settled in 1887.  Apparently the community used to be known as Clark originally.





Approaching the Portage Lake Lift Bridge is one more community which is known as Ripley.  I don't know much of the history of the town but it was the location of the Quincy Smelter, the Quincy Mine is actually in the hills above.





M-26 meets US 41 at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Hancock, both multiplex to cross the Keweenaw Waterway.  As I stated previously the current Portage Lake Lift Bridge dates back to 1959.








M-26 splits from US 41 heading southwest out of the city of Houghton while the latter heads through downtown heading southeast.  I stayed the night in Houghton given that it was fairly late getting out of Isle Royale and Copper Harbor earlier in the day.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways; California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast

For all the accolades and praise that California State Route 1 gets for being a top notch coastal highway one fact tends to get overlooked; the highway was never finished!  In this edition of Paper Highways we look at the failed path of California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast.



Part 1; the history of Legislative Route 56 and California Route 1 through the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast region consists of the undeveloped coastal areas of Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and the King Range.  The Lost Coast region roughly spans from near Rockport in Mendocino County north to Ferndale of Humboldt County.  The Lost Coast region is known for having rugged terrain which rivals what is seen in Big Sur.  The Lost Coast has several small communities such as; Shelter Cove, Whitehorn, and Petrolia.

In 1933 Legislative Route 56 was extended south to LRN 2 (US 101) near Las Cruces and north to Ferndale to LRN 1 (also US 101).  Prior to 1933 the legislative description of LRN 56 had it's nort…

US Route 99 to Visalia?...

Something that I noticed awhile back while doing map research regarding US Route 99 in Fresno was that the highway intended to be originally routed through the City of Visalia.



The early originally planned alignment of US Route 99 in Visalia

To be clear US 99 was never actually routed through Visalia and ended up bypassing the City in favor of a direct route from Goshen southeast to Tulare.  US 99 within San Joaquin Valley was aligned over Legislative Route 4 which in turn was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  LRN 4 for a time was aligned through Visalia via; Mineral King Avenue, Main Street, and Mooney Boulevard.  This early alignment of LRN 4 through Visalia can be seen on the 1924 Division of Highways State Map.


The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System with in California was approved by California Highway Commission with no changes recommended…

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…