All posts by sbwillia

Winter Carnival Memories and Traditions

By Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Participants in the 1955 Beard Contest
Participants in the 1955 Beard Contest. Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives

Michigan Technological University’s Winter Carnival began in 1922 as a one-day ice carnival presented by the Student Organization. Students performed traditional circus acts–but with students in costumes instead of live animals. According to an article in the Michigan Tech Lode from 1978, the first carnival was held at the Amphidrome and featured four or five student-constructed and manned bucking broncos on ice skates. An even bigger event was held the following year, again with the circus theme, and featured a giraffe made by the Kappa Delta Psi fraternity, a buffalo made by Sigma Rho, and a camel and elephant created by Theta Tau. The Michigan College of Mines band was also featured but only played two songs, a march and a waltz. According to the article, the event garnered wide community attention with approximately 1,100 people in attendance at the 1924 carnival. The carnival proved so popular that the students took their show on the road to Calumet and Marquette.

The carnival was so well-received among the community and students that by 1927 it was established as an annual event. By then, the festival had expanded to a two-day affair and included a formal parade with floats, a dog-sled race, a snowshoe race, and foot races on ice. While college students were the primary participants in the Winter Carnival activities, since the event was a joint venture between the college and the local towns, there were also categories for high school students. Among the highlights of the 1927 carnival was a ski ride behind an airplane on the Portage Canal at 60 miles per hour.!

The very late 1920s and early 1930s saw a hiatus for the Winter Carnival, and by 1930 festivities were suspended in the aftermath of the stock market crash. In 1934, the University’s student chapter of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity resurrected the winter celebration and introduced not only a three-mile snowshoe race, a Snow-Ball dance, a hockey game, and the event’s best known tradition: snow statues. The establishment of the Mont Ripley Ski Hill in 1940 brought festivities across the Portage with ski meets, including the Michigan State Amateur Ski Championship meet, held to coincide with Winter Carnival.

Winter Carnival was again suspended during World War II until 1946. When it was restarted, the carnival saw the inclusion of a stage revue in which fraternities, sororities, and other campus organization presented skits for the enjoyment of the crowd and performers alike. A beard contest was also established in the 1940s.

Carnival grew and evolved over the next couple of decades with attempts at establishing a Fun Night in 1954, which included various student organization booths set up at the Dee Stadium, much like we see at K-Day each year. The Student Council replaced the Fun Night two years later with a concert by groups like the Four Preps or the Limelighters, and in 1961 the Winter Carnival welcomed the inclusion of the popular Broomball event. The Flare Pageant, which had been done in previous years, was restarted in 1962 and featured “skiers carrying colored torches at night down Mont Ripley, forming intricate patterns of light” on the ski hill.

The first place snow sculpture for 1974
The first place snow sculpture for 1974

While Winter Carnival today looks much different from its early years, for the most part Winter Carnival has largely retained its current format since the early 1970s. The snow sculptures, crowning of a Winter Carnival Queen, and annual broomball tournament continue to be staples that have come to define this major Tech tradition. Other events have made fleeting appearances. Highlights of the last fifty years have included some quirky activities unique to the Michigan Tech carnival, including shipments of snowballs sent to Southwest Texas State University for an annual snowball fight. For over two decades, Copper Country snowballs were packed in dry ice and flown to Texas, much to the delight of the Southwest students. Occasionally, the shipment posed some unusual problems like when the 1971 shipment, carefully packed by members of Blue Key, arrived hard as rocks in Texas. Their solution to the problem? A snow cone machine! That’s right, Southwest Texas State students settled for sweet frozen treats instead of a snowball fight that year.

Over the decades, Tech students have competed in everything from snow volleyball and tug-o-war on ice to ice bowling, snoccer (snow soccer), and human dog sled races. One highlight of recent years coinciding with Winter Carnival has been Tech students and community members coming together for a collaborative competition: working together to achieve winter glory in the form of Guiness Book of World Record titles. Since 2013, Tech has held the record for the largest snowball. The snowball, measuring 10.04 m (32.94 ft.) in circumference. was rolled on March 29, 2013. Within the last couple of decades, Tech has also earned titles for most snow angels made simultaneously in one place, largest snowball fight, and most snowmen built in one hour.

Today, the Winter Carnival continues into its 97th year on the Michigan Tech campus and remains an important part of the campus tradition, bringing alumni, students, staff and faculty, as well as a wide range of local and regional community members to Houghton for its annual winter celebration. Once again, students will be back in the swing of spring semester classes and beginning the exciting task of building snow statues on and near campus — so much to look forward to in the coming weeks at Michigan Tech.

Winter Carnival certainly has and continues to have a rich history on the Michigan Tech campus. Interested in learning more? The Michigan Tech Archives holds a wide range of collections and resources pertaining to Winter Carnival at Tech. Included in the Archives’ holdings are records of the Blue Key Honor Society, pictorials, photographs, ephemera, and a plethora of great newspaper coverage in the Copper Country Vertical Files collection.


What you said in December…about Tech!

From Facebook

“Graduation morning, December 2005…I was showing my now husband the necklace and earrings my parents gave me for graduation and he said, “maybe we should complete the set.” We had our reception at the MUB the following September! I should add, I know I graduated but I remember nothing of the ceremony!! :):) love you, Andy B.!!!” -Megan B.

“I proposed to my wife in our apartment off campus. We met at Tech through Mu Beta Psi music fraternity, so technically I married my Brother. (All members are referred to as Brothers)” -Jason Y.

“My husband proposed to me in Wadsworth Hall kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. He was making Thanksgiving dinner for students who stayed up for break. This was back in the day when very few stayed over and the building was essentially closed.” -Chris P

“Moving back is the dream!” -Tee E.

“My husband, a Tech grad, proposed to me on Brockway Mountain.” -Ann O.

“My husband of almost 25 years proposed at the top of Brockway. We met on our first day on campus. His roommate and my roommate were transfer students from the same high school/community college.” -Danette U.

“Oh, I’m an oldster! My husband proposed at the top of Lac Labelle fire tower in 1979. That was at the top of what is now Mt Bohemia! We both graduated in 1977.” -Holly S.

Hearing Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” blasting from speakers out of the Wadsworth Hall windows on my way into Fisher 135 for my freshman chem final.” -Mak M.

“Drove home after May exams after freshman year – in the snow. When I got to the Big Mac I realized I didn’t have $1.50 for the toll. After a little thought I turned around, went to the Shell Station, and cleaned out 15 empties from the dark resources of my Blazer! Score!” -Dannette U.

“Fisher 135 when someone stood up and said all these questions are tricks and walked out…come to think of it, this may have been winter carnival (reasons this may have happened unknown…).

But 3 back to back to back finals (thank God for the Tech rule of no more than 3 in a row) suck so so so bad.

But here I am 4.5 years into my career thankful for such an amazing place, education, and friend network.” -Eric S.

“Yeah it was stressful but nothing compared to the daily stress of working full time as a design engineer of large machines and pressure vessels” -Steve S.

“2 pots of coffee and 2 packs of No-Doz” -Louis C.

“My husband graduated in chemistry in December but walked on June 8th in his cap and gown…the same day we walked down the aisle in church 55 years ago. A double happy day” -Irene W.

“BS in Chem.Eng.1959 .31 years in oil industry.Now at 83, 28 years retired” -Enzio M.

“I remember when the Zilwaukee Bridge was under fire in the 80s, some wags made a “Not Built by Tech Engineers” t-shirt. Perhaps we need same for Line 5 pipeline.” -Victor V.

“As I was finishing my Ph.D at Tech in 1999, I used my student worker and his trusty yard stick for this picture. I used the pic during my interview at Mississippi State for a faculty position in the forest Department. Showing just how happy I was to be moving to the deep south, and out of the snow! In true forestry fashion, I talked about how you can measure major snowfalls in the snowbank, like counting rings on a tree. Light fluffy snow was a snowstorm, then the dark dirty snow was in between those storms.” -Andrew L.

From the inbox

Thank you Michigan Tech for preparing me for a great career! I obtained my BSME in 1956 and was then employed by what was Bendix Automotive Brake Systems in South Bend Indiana. I had a career total of 48 patents as inventor or co-inventor. My greatest achievement occurred when Chrysler upper management decided to switch from their in-house designed and built “Centerplane” brakes to Bendix duo-servos. It was my job to adapt our brakes to the entire Chrysler line – 9” dia. for Valiant 10” for Plymouth and Dodge, 11” for Chrysler and 12” for Dodge light truck. Of course with four wheel disc brakes they are now all gone. –Don J.


The Future of Michigan Tech: A Summary of the Tech Forward Conversations  

Over the past several months the campus community engaged in a series of conversations regarding the future of Michigan Tech within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Last week, President Koubek and members of the leadership team presented a summary of those conversations and the initiatives the campus will pursue in the coming years. President Koubek began the reception by acknowledging the more than 500 faculty and staff who participated in the conversations as well as the deans who provided thought leader pieces.

Following, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics Affairs Jackie Huntoon and Vice President for Research Dave Reed further explained how the campus community arrived at nine initiatives.

According to Huntoon, “The Tech Forward conversations we’ve had this semester have been very productive. People from across the University, members of the community, and alumni have all contributed and provided their insights regarding the future of Michigan Tech. We listened carefully to all the different voices and are excited about how the all of the conversations converged throughout the semester. We now have a framework that will help us to focus our efforts as we begin to plan for the future.”  Reed added, “There are a number of critical issues for society to address. Michigan Tech is already working on many of these, but the initiatives will allow us to do even more. We can bring our expertise in the data revolution and sensing, for instance, to contribute to global efforts to address these critical issues.”

Three campus-wide initiatives garnered wide support throughout the conversations, the first being a new college focused on computing. Dan Fuhrmann will lead the planning for this initiative. The second is to propagate the Pavlis Honors College educational outcomes across Michigan Tech’s core curriculum. Lorelle Meadows will spearhead this effort. The third initiative is to enhance Michigan Tech’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. Kellie Raffaelli will lead this initiative and has been appointed Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion.

There are six additional initiatives for which the following individuals have agreed to lead a committee in developing proposals on behalf of the University:

  1. Advanced Materials and Manufacturing: Gregory Odegard
  2. Autonomous and Intelligent Systems: Jeff Naber
  3. Health and Quality of Life: Caryn Heldt
  4. Natural Resources, Water and Energy: Andrew Burton
  5. Policy, Ethics and Culture: Jennifer Daryl Slack
  6. Sustainability and Resilience: David Shonnard

Each working group, yet to be assembled, will host a series of meetings early in the New Year to develop their respective proposals for consideration by the review committee, consisting of two members of the president’s council and two from University Senate, who will make recommendations for funding beginning in fiscal year 2019-20.   

To learn more, please visit www.mtu.edu/techforward.  

 


13 Days Left Until 2019! Make Your Gift Today!

As we approach the end of the 2018 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that there is still time to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech.

You can phone the Michigan Tech Fund at 906-487-2310 or toll-free at 877-386-3688 to make your gift with a credit card. You also have the option of making a credit card gift via Michigan Tech’s secure online gift page. These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 p.m. (EST) on December 31 to ensure a 2018 contribution.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will be closed on December 24 and 25, but will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) December 26, 27, and 28 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (EST) on December 31.

 


Your Summer Youth Program Experience: Nathalie Osborn ’93

Nathalie Osborn ’93

From tomboy attending the Women in Engineering Program (WIE) in the 80s, to presenting as a guest speaker for the 2018 WIE attendees, this energized leader, coach, director and co-author is sure leave a positive impact on everyone she meets. Here is her story.

We love hearing back from those who are alumni of both Michigan Tech and Summer Youth Programs. Whether you attended in 2012 or 1985, we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us!

Hometown: I grew up in Mount Pleasant, Michigan which is a university town. My dad was a college professor at Central Michigan University (CMU), so I was familiar with university life and my mom volunteered in schools but stayed at home.

Siblings: I am the oldest of three, with one brother and one sister.

Childhood Hobbies: We always went to CMU games, and my family was very active. We participated in cross country skiing, and I played softball and ran cross country. I also did enjoy reading a lot. In grade school, I always loved reading the biographies about people’s life and adventures, like Amelia Earhart and Teddy Roosevelt.  

Favorite subject in School: Math, because it always had right answers. I also liked science. My high school physics professor was one of my favorite teachers. My school also had a vocational training program, so I had the opportunity to take architectural drafting and electrical wiring. I really loved the style of learning by doing.

Role models: My grandfather and I were super close and I could talk to him about anything. He was hands-on and a techy person, and he taught me many things. I was a tomboy growing up and he embraced that and encouraged me to learn. Even at a young age I remember him telling me “I could be anything, have anything, or do anything I wanted.” He really was a great role model for me, and I am not sure I would have been as confident going into engineering without his support.

How did you learn about WIE and why did you attend: My father found out about the Women in Engineering Program and he knew I liked math and science so he  encouraged me to attend. I thought why not! I will say I didn’t know how far north it was going to be! I remember that it was a great summer. I went to the program but we also took time to explore the UP. I remember hiking, seeing waterfalls, and it was just a great chance to see the beauty of the UP.

What do you recall about your week at WIE? The whole experience, especially being on a college campus, staying in the dorms, and eating in the dining hall helped me to see what the college experience would be like. I remember being excited to get to know women from other schools with the same interests. It was such a fun and energetic environment and a chance to explore all engineering disciplines and learn in a hands-on way.

College: I attended a 2+2 engineering program with Michigan Tech and Central Michigan University for mechanical engineering. I went to CMU from 1990-92, maybe because the distance from home to Michigan Tech did scare me a bit. The 2+2 program was great. We had about 15-20 people in that program and most transferred to Michigan Tech after the first few years. We took all the pre-engineering courses together so we became close. I recall heading up to Michigan Tech with three others from the program piled into a car, to check out campus.

Once I did get to Michigan Tech and I started classes, I remember wishing I would have come up here for all four years! My favorite memory at Michigan Tech was winter carnival. I remember that one group had a life size search and rescue scene, with an ambulance and all! The atmosphere of that carnival, all the people engineering statues together, building and have fun. I love how this school embraces winter.

What are some milestones or great moments in your career you’d like to share? My first job was at Automotive Perception and a few other Michigan Tech grads were working there too. It was a job where we traveled the country and went into auto plants and installed laser cameras and windshields on cars. What I think is unique about this job is that I am still friends with a lot of the people I worked with and it overall was a unique experience. I also worked with Ford and helped with the hydrogen fuel cell in a car they were unleashing at an auto show in 2001. Then, I went into the energy industry and worked on the California Solar Initiative with the California Public Utilities Commission to help launch that program. It was a huge project and I feel grateful to have been a part of it. I am currently the Director of Smart Grid Initiatives at NextEnery Center, a nonprofit in Detroit.

Michigan Tech did a great job preparing me to be an adaptable and versatile engineer. I went into mechanical engineering but have been able to have flexibility in my roles through that field.  

You are the co-author of a book. What is it about and what was that experience like? I am the co-author of “Ignite Your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum, and Accelerate Results.” I always thought it would be fun to write a book and wrote a chapter for this book. In the book, I use engineering terms to showcase how I  power myself, the “kW” of leadership – know who you are, what you want, and why you want it. I was also shocked and humbled that the book made the bestseller list in US and Canada.

You came back to Michigan Tech as a guest speaker during the 2018 WIE etiquette dinner. What was that experience like? I really loved it and welcome the opportunity again. It was amazing to come full circle and talk to a group of young women who are learning about engineering programs.  They are in a great place with so many paths in front of them. I enjoyed crafting a message talking to them about how an engineering degree is great to get, but even if you don’t pursue that path, you can power your life however you want.  I am very fortunate for all the opportunities I have had in life both based off choices and encouragement from others.


A Look Back at Tech’s Residence Halls (or Dorms)

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

What makes the college experience special? For some, it’s getting to dive deeply into studying what matters to them. For others, it’s the friends made over late-night study sessions, midnight adventures, or even more colorful escapades not to be described here. It’s forming a broomball team, setting off the fire alarm with burnt popcorn, pranking a buddy. Whatever it might be that sets college apart, the odds are good that the residence halls had a hand in it.

So many memories are formed in college dorms, and student housing at Michigan Tech is no exception. Over the years, a variety of residence halls have offered Huskies a place to sleep, study, and socialize on campus. Let’s take a look at three long-running dorms still serving students today: Douglass Houghton Hall, Wadsworth Hall, and McNair Hall.

Douglass Houghton Hall (DHH)

Douglass Houghton Hall in its earlier years.

Douglass Houghton Hall, more commonly known these days as DHH, is the oldest residence hall at Michigan Tech. From day one, DHH stood out: it was the first building constructed as a dorm at the college and provided brand-new accommodations for some 204 male students when it opened in 1939. The following June, the hall received a formal dedication as Douglass Houghton Hall in a speech given by A.E. Petermann, the chairman of Tech’s Board of Control. This name, Petermann told his listeners, would remind the students that Houghton had made the most of his youth, achieving considerable success as a geologist, physician, and investor before drowning in Lake Superior at the age of 36.

 

In an article published in 1941, the Daily Mining Gazette sang the praises of DHH in rhapsodic terms to alumni arriving for that year’s reunion. The building was “of Tudor-othic style, and constructed of red brick, with stone trim, copper roof, and metal casement windows,” as well as solid local oak. Alumni and their guests would “appreciate particularly the lounge facilities,” of which there were two. “Mellow paneling, a large fireplace, davenports, reading-chairs, and a piano make each lounge a pleasant and homelike gathering place,” wrote the Gazette reporter. An infirmary, laundry, “student valet room,” kitchen, and dining room rounded out the offerings of DHH. Another article, this one in the campus paper, likewise noted that students could be buzzed to the hallway telephones; the luxury of room lines had not yet reached the dorm. From rooms facing the front of the building, lucky residents could look out at “a beautiful, tree-shadowed lawn,” in the words of the Gazette, and know that they were “but a stone’s throw from the college athletic field, and only a five-minute walk from the westernmost of the college buildings.” Best of all, students in the new dorm were not subject to a curfew, unlike their contemporaries at other colleges.

Of course, the relatively light supervision that DHH students enjoyed in those days was not always used wisely and well. In 1957, a pair of residents decided to transform their room into a chemistry lab, but their experiment ended with a minor explosion. Fortunately, the two were not seriously injured. On another occasion, a resident advisor asked a student to explain what had damaged a single globe light in his room. “A sonic boom,” the young man replied. The RA almost dismissed the incident on the basis of the student’s chutzpah. Then, of course, there was the time in 1951 that a group of students guided freshman Guenther Frankenstein’s massive Jeep up the stairs of DHH and parked it in front of Room 151. Fifty years later, Frankenstein recalled that the administration “wasn’t too happy regarding the event” and that the dean “wanted to expell [sic] me for good” but ultimately settled for a lengthy period of probation.

Students driving the Jeep up the DHH stairs. Guenther Frankenstein, the car’s owner, is shown at right, helping to steer it in the right direction.

It cost the college $350,000 to build and furnish Douglass Houghton Hall. Unfortunately, despite the Gazette’s glowing reviews, the building quickly ran into issues. Insulation had to be added and the roof repaired within a year. Space also soon became a problem: in 1942, DHH housed 20 percent more students than it was designed to hold. World War II delayed construction of a new addition, which eventually opened in 1948. Some further renovations occurred in 1966, 1969, and 1991. Through it all, DHH has been a little historical gem in a campus looking to the future.

 

 

 

 

Wadsworth Hall

An earlier incarnation of Wadsworth Hall, featuring the athletic fields and Sherman Gym.

Wadsworth Hall is the longest dorm on campus, spanning more than a quarter mile on US-41. Ever since it first opened in the fall of 1955, “Wads” has attracted interest for its statistics. Writing about the dorm following a 1958 expansion, the Gazette noted that its construction required the removal of 100,000 cubic yards of excavated material, included 750 tons of reinforcing steel, and paid out $1.6 million in wages to the local community. Also remarkable was how dramatically the new residence hall expanded on-campus living: 70% more students could be accommodated in college housing.

Demand for dorm space at Tech was so high in 1955 that the first 356 residents moved in before their rooms were painted. Wads featured “ultra-modern living” in double rooms, each of which, the university boasted, featured a picture window, huge desk lights, and expansive closets with sliding doors. Common spaces also became a point of pride, including a sizable lounge and “a recreation room almost as large,” a ping-pong room, and a laundry room with all the trimmings. On the ground floor, Tech students needing medical care could visit the infirmary, which featured “five completely-equipped hospital rooms.” The Michigan College of Mining and Technology alumni magazine made a point to note that one of the rooms was “separated from the rest to serve the coeds.” The construction of the new Wadsworth infirmary relieved another building on campus, the Smith house, of its medical role, freeing up that building as residential space for women enrolling at Tech.

All of these amenities were housed in what is now just the eastern wing of the residence hall; the other portion, which included more student rooms and a dining hall, opened in 1958. Herman Gundlach, who had been the contractor on the second phase, submitted the successful bid for the final 200-bed expansion in 1965. Like historic DHH, Wads has also received its tune-ups over the years. The most ambitious of these took place in 2004, while students remained in residence. Remodeled shower stalls provided more privacy, and kitchens and lounges were extensively renovated. New carpeting and furniture moved into dorm rooms, replacing the much-applauded closets from the 1950s and building in lofts that students had come to love. Finally, the large dining hall received a “bright and modern look,” with “restaurant-style seating” replacing the “long, brown, institutional tables reminiscent of ‘Cool Hand Luke.’”

Residents of Wads before the renovation might recall one memorable way that their dorm-mates showcased their creativity in the building’s corridors. Beyond choosing imaginative names for their halls–which continues to this day–residents would paint murals in audacious style in celebration of their theme. The art coming out of the 1971 Winter Carnival was a good example: medieval scenes lined the hall that year, including an impressive painting of knights on horseback riding toward a castle. Who said that engineers couldn’t be artists?

Medieval paintings in the corridors of Wadsworth Hall, 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McNair Hall

If you attended Tech in the 1960s through the 1980s, it might still seem odd to hear Co-Ed Hall referred to as McNair. Tech broke ground on the new dorm, which has since been renamed in honor of former college president Frederick Walter McNair, in December 1965. McNair as we know it, however, almost didn’t happen at all. In the early 1960s, with enrollment of students and especially of female students (“co-eds”) steadily increasing, the college found itself facing a housing crunch. It needed on-campus rooms for women, so administrators set aside a number of spaces in Wads. That provided only a temporary remedy to the problem, as students asking for campus housing continued to enroll. Tech went to the drawing board and came up with a plan to build a new residence hall for sixty women. After that had been completed, three more dorms would be built, including one with a “meals services division.” In the end, Tech scrapped these plans in favor of a more compact, two-phase residence hall complex.

A model of Co-Ed Hall before construction

Each section of Co-Ed Hall was designed to house 300 students. A dining facility seating all 600 would connect the two. Contractor Herman Gundlach once again took on the job, starting with the construction of “a heated tent like structure composed of scaffold rings and Vis-Queen, which enabled crews to work in relative comfort despite the severity of Northern Michigan winters.” Gradually, scaffolding gave way to masonry, and in just ten months the first phase of Co-Ed Hall was open for occupancy. Phase I–called West McNair today–stood three stories high and, like its neighbor Wads, featured a large lounge, a sizable recreation room, and an apartment for a counselor-in-residence. As in DHH, the university took pride in offering each floor of double rooms “telephone service in the corridors.” Construction on Phase II, described as a “high rise type dormitory building,” began in 1966 and wrapped up the following year. “Suite-type rooms,” noted one advertisement at the time, “with connecting baths and some single rooms are being considered.” Between the two–both physically and chronologically–was placed the cafeteria, which offered not only a dining area but another lounge, post office, telephone switchboard, and office space. Mercifully for students fighting a Copper Country winter, the plans called for enclosed corridors to take residents from each wing of Co-Ed Hall to the dining room.

What stands out for former residents, whether they called their home Co-Ed Hall or McNair? Many would point to the scenic views. While there’s no such thing as poor scenery in the Copper Country, this dorm enjoyed more than most a beautiful vista, perched as it is on what students call McNair Hill. With its expansive walls of windows, the dining hall invites students to enjoy their meals with a little Keweenaw flavor, whether ablaze in fall colors or gently cloaked in winter snow.

Construction photographs of the eastern part of Co-Ed Hall (East McNair)

 


What you said…in November about Tech!

From Facebook:

“I do believe a Taco Bell 100M dash was a thing in the early 90s” – Susan C.

“I remember walking downtown late at night with the snow softly falling with no other noise or sounds.  It was perfection” -Chris Z.

“In 1959 got my BS in Chem Eng.  Back then none of that existed (new eclectic diners, boutiques).  Still, best years ever! Greetings from Caracas” -Enzio M.

“Downhill skiing during a 1984 snowstorm: On Pewabic St., starting from Houghton High School to a stop directly in front of the Hallmark Store (and one of Houghton’s finest walking the beat) on Sheldon: skeptical policeman– “Evening boys, how long do you expect to be skiing this evening?” Us– “Oh hello officer, it seems we’ve just finished up’.” -Bill S.

“(I remember) Watching the Northern Lights from the roof of our garage, with everyone in the neighborhood clapping and cheering like it was fireworks.”  -Becky S.

“Still go to the Ambassador, Downtowner, Dog House regularly. After I graduated from SBEA, raised my daughters who both graduated from Tech and one son-in-law. They moved away but love coming home for Winter Carnival and Ambo pizza!”  – Gary J.

“In all seriousness though, the beauty of a fresh snowfall in the UP can not be beat. I loved every second of the winter up there (even the sometimes -40 wind chills)” -Eric S.

“The winter of 78-79”  -Melodie H.

“Well when I was at Tech in the early 70s we drove to Marquette for fast food. I did love the pasties at the Kaleva Cafe. My roommate made really great pasties too”  -Carol B.

“Pasties. Had to drive to Marquette for McDonald’s. No such thing as Starbucks in the 70s.” –Steve B.

“Taco Bell after last call at any of the Houghton/Hancock drinking establishments. Drive thru was open until 4 am… and we would be back at Tech for an early round of golf by 6 am. Summer ’93 and ’94. Great times.” –EJ L.

From Parent Network on Facebook:

“As our kids get ready to take their finals, I wanted to share with you “why it is all worth it.” In these photos are people that graduated from Tech 30 years ago to 6 months ago to a current Freshman. They are people who took a half day off of work to cheer on my daughter and the MTU soccer team or drove 3 hours just to have dinner with their sorority sisters. We are all thankful for the education we received, but more importantly cherish the support and friendships that we made through Tech. This is my “Why Tech.” -Michele M.

 



Pasties, Taco Bell, Starbucks: Where did you travel for food as a student?

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

woman making pasties
Preparing a batch of mouth-watering pasties. Undated photograph from the Harold Putnam Collection (MS-050) in the Michigan Tech Archives.

If there’s something you take seriously in college, it’s food. Whether it’s driving to Marquette to get some Buffalo Wild Wings or strategically planning a day around which presentations or campus orgs are offering free meals, you don’t get between a college student and food. At Michigan Tech, sometimes that meal takes on a special local flavor. You’ve seen them around town; you’ve eaten them at your desk, on the beach, or maybe even in the dining halls. How much do you really know, though, about the famous pasty?

A good old song from the English region of Cornwall proclaims, “There’s something about a pasty that is fine, fine, fine!” Huskies and friends know the truth of those words. The delicious dish nourishes the body and warms the spirit with its blend of meat, potatoes, and rutabaga, all nestled inside a flaky crust. It’s the kind of meal that gets you ready for a day of cross-country skiing on the Tech Trails or a hike up Mount Baldy. Nothing is quite like the smell of a pasty baking; nothing tastes quite like that first bite. But how did a meal synonymous with Cornwall become a staple of the Upper Peninsula?

Let’s take a quick peek back into history to answer that question. Cornwall’s long track record with copper and tin mining led the rest of Great Britain to remark wryly, “Wherever you find a hole in the ground, you’ll find a Cornishman at the bottom of it.” Life in the mines of England often meant low wages and back-breaking labor, but it also cultivated a skill and knowledge of the work that made the Cornish miners a gold standard. When Michigan’s copper mines–the very ones whose ruins now lie in Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties–were first being opened for industry, their founders looked to Cornwall for able laborers, and the people of Cornwall, whose mines were tapering off, looked to Michigan for a new hope. One scholarly article on the history of the pasty noted that twenty Cornishmen were already at work in the Copper Country in 1844, just one year after industrial mining began here. With them came their favorite workday meal, which was subsequently adopted en masse by colleagues of all backgrounds.

One of many variations on the pasty recipe held at the Michigan Tech Archives.

We don’t know for certain who invented this tasty pocket of joy, which has seen considerable changes over the years, but we do understand why it was so appealing to the men who worked in the mines and the women who prepared their dinners each day. The pasty’s hearty fillings can be prepared in a large batch and energize a person for a day of hard work; the meal can be held in the hand and eaten without utensils; and it’s easy, relatively speaking, for a miner to reheat a pasty over his candle far underground. By the time the mines of Michigan closed, the pasty had become a staple that the Copper Country was determined to keep. Nowadays, you’ll find them around the local lunch table, sold at community fundraisers, eaten at picnics by the shores of Lake Superior, or on parade at places like Calumet’s annual Pasty Fest.

Let’s raise a pasty toast to the Cornish who brought us a meal worth celebrating!

people eating pasties
Alfred Nicholls and his family show the joy of pasties at the Central Mine Reunion, undated.

What food brings you back to your college days? Was a special meal in particular that you drove to Marquette (or further!) to enjoy? Who makes the best pasties in the UP? And, do you like ketchup or gravy with your pasty?

 

 


What you said…in October about Tech!

From Facebook

Just curious—my grandmother Sylvia Combellack used to feed boys from Tech. She lived in the red house on the corner of Houghton Avenue and Garnet. She cooked for boys from 1945-1986. I was wondering if anyone had a family member eat there. –Debbie

“I went there 84-85. Awesome home cooked meals! Great couple.” –Scott Z. 

Yes, I ate there.” –Dennis L. 

Yes I did. 80 through 83. Great food. Turkey meal and steak meal once a quarter. She told us a story about some foreign students who told her they didn’t like her soup because it was too rich. She said what soup, we had gravy. –Frank L.

I tried my hand at a vegan pasty. Does anyone remember Funky’s Karma Cafe or Conscious Stomach at MTU? Anyone remember Marie’s Deli in Houghton? It was where I first tasted hummus and falafel. Marie remembered all of us MTU grads when we visited her Grand Rapids restaurant. Her son is writing a cookbook and is looking for photos of her days in Houghton if you have any to share. –Cynthia H.

I remember meeting her during orientation at Tech. A group of us from my high school class were walking across the bridge and we met Marie. She stopped and talked to us for about 10 minutes and then told us to come to her deli. We did go and I went with other groups of friends off and on but she always remembered who I was and when we met. Marie’s Deli had the best food! –Anne C.

“Of course!” –Mary H.

“The hummus and Turkish coffee! I doubt I have any pictures and if I did they’re in a shoe box somewhere!” –Stacey K.

“I don’t have any pictures but I remember her deli fondly. I lived above the Lode and had many delicious cheesecakes over the years! I would totally recognize her if I saw her in person. She left a huge impression in my years at Tech.” –Dino F.

“Went on my first real date with Mike Simon at Marie’s, and 27 years later we still remember her and our meals at her restaurant fondly. Her son was sometimes there with her, such a cute little guy! Wish I had thought to take a photo at the time. –Beth S.