From the Mailbag-June

Were you lucky enough to spend a summer in the Keweenaw?

Top answers: Summers in the Keweenaw were full of work and fun.

New question:  What types of volunteer activity have you been involved within your community?

4 responses to “From the Mailbag-June

  1. Summer surveying was required of Civil Engineering curriculum students and I decided to get my requirement over during my first summer at Tech. Among the instructors were Dr. Anderson from the math department who taught surveying by the stars complete with a late night surveying session along the railroad tracks atop Mt. Ripley. Gerry Casperson as I recall taught a section on transits. Henry Santeford was one of the instructors as well. There were sections on level use where we ran a level circuit up and back down the hillside along the south side of campus – fire hydrant to fire hydrant, route surveying on the stamp sands east of campus, closed loop layout in the woods, cut and fill exercises on Mt. Ripley, subdivision layout and platting and several others to fill out the ten week course. This course work was invaluable to me as I worked the next two summers in power plant construction on survey and layout crews. Supervisors were impressed that I knew how to run instruments that often took weeks to train other “off the street” employees.

    Can’t forget the social side of summer. It seems each week there was a keg party at the fraternities both Friday and Saturday evenings. For $1 you got all the beer you could drink. To say the least there were several other drinking novices like me who may have overindulged on one or two occasions. Laying out on the beach at the breakwaters was another great weekend pastime. While surveying we came upon patches of blueberries and thimbleberries – always a treat to break up the work.

    It was a great summer as well as a rewarding one.

    Tom Alliston ‘69

  2. Great years from ‘68-‘72 especially the fall colors and events. Lots of competition between fraternities/dorm halls/sororities.

    Cheese Factory was an outstanding haunt.

    It was a time when the whole school closed due to snow fall- first in 25 yrs. It was the same tough courses like Doc B’s chemistry and P-chem. Ugh!

    Must admit some great night spots for us like the Brewery and Tony’s Red Wing lounge.

    Ask anyone what was tops in that era- it was the hockey games in the Dee. By the way check to see when we last won the NCAA title. Tech’s the best.

    Jim Blevins. BSME

  3. Dennis Luoto PE, a 1968 BSCE grad did not spend summers in the Keweenaw but alongside it. He worked on an ore boat for Inland Steel, for three summers, doing odd jobs inside and around the engine room as a help to the ship’s engineers. It was a seven day a week job: Ships picked up iron ore in Superior, Wisconsin, where it took a good half day to load the vessel, and then sailed three days to East Chicago, past the Keweenaw, where the ore was unloaded and made into steel. He recalls endless sky, big waves, gorgeous coastline and hefty paychecks; he was able to make enough money each summer to pay tuition, board and room annually at MTU. He still has his seaman’s papers and occasionally experiences a yen to do it again. Now living in Florida, he is registered for the Alumni Reunion August 2 – 4 and looks forward to seeing the Keweenaw and everything new on the MTU campus this summer.

    Randi Luoto

  4. Being a Geologist my future wife (a Geo Eng) and I had to do field camp so welcome to a summer in the Keweenaw. We did 2 weeks of surveying camp up at the SDC and over by Ripley as I remember it. We also mapped around the campus at times. Then there was field geology camp. Mapping the geology means spending a lot of time walking (falling?) up rivers in the Keweenaw as the best way to see the geology exposed is in the rivers and along the banks. There are trees pretty much everywhere else. Your goal was not to get your notebook wet when (not if) you fall in and don’t drop your book if you swat black flies and mosquitos which also liked the rivers. Also avoid the skunks, bears and very rarely snakes and spiders that hang out near the water. After weeks of mapping we took a trip down to the Marquette region to map granites and iron formations. So my memories of the summer in the Keweenaw mostly are focused on trying to stay dry, trying not to get eaten up by critters and having a great time.

    I still use the techniques taught in field surveying and field geology camp in my oil exploration work all over the world.

    Peter Eick BS Geology 87 & Carrie Eick (BS Geo Eng, 86)

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