Category Archives: Collections

This category will include posts about the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives: manuscript materials, photographs, maps, books, and other physical items held by the department.

Flashback Friday: The Vagabond

Boats - Fishing

For many Yoopers, if you refer to the news, the water cooler chat, or your social media feeds, there is plenty of mention of seafaring vessels the past few days. Today’s Flashback Friday is a short and sweet glimpse back to a boat that is a little more my personal style.

On this day in 1958, the Jamsen fishing craft Vagabond was put out into Lake Superior with a party of Upper Peninsula Traveling Workshop instructors aboard. The image shows the boat proceeding toward fishing nets that were placed beyond the opening to Copper Harbor. Fishing workshops were common in the 1950s, and many of the expedition vessels put out into Lake Superior were no bigger than the Vagabond. There is certainly more than one way to get out and enjoy Gitche Gumee!


Flashback Friday: Remembering the Steamer Isle Royale

Shipwrecks - Isle Royale
The steamer at port.

Today’s Flashback Friday photograph comes to us from the Ben Chynoweth Collection. It depicts the steamer Isle Royale in all of her majestic glory. A man stands on the upper deck looking into the distance, perhaps to the place where the edge of the Big Lake meets the edge of the big sky. 

The Isle Royale foundered from a leak this week in 1885. The steamer sprung the leak about 18 miles south of Isle Royale’s Washington Harbor. Thankfully the ship became swamped but the people aboard did not. The Isle Royale began taking on water on July 25 near Susie Island on the way back to Duluth. The passengers and crew were able to safely disembark and get to the nearby island. According to some articles, the ship fully sank in the wee hours on this day in 1885.

The vessel first launched in 1879 as a cargo ship of a different name, but it was later renamed the Isle Royale after she was purchased by the Cooley-Lavaque Fishery in Duluth in 1883. After the purchase she was refitted as a double-decker passenger steamer which made regular routes between Isle Royale and Port Arthur in Thunder Bay.


Flashback Friday: The Bridge Over Fanny Hooe Creek

Bridge Over Fanny Hooe Creek
A photograph of the bridge over Fanny Hooe Creek taken on July 5, 1930.

As we continue into the long holiday weekend, it is our sincere hope that you have time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and do some exploring in the beautiful Copper Country. Our Flashback Friday shares a historic image of a site you just might see if you are taking in some hiking near Copper Harbor.

This photograph is of the bridge over Fanny Hooe Creek, which is about a mile east of Copper Harbor, right next to Fort Wilkins State Park. The photograph was taken on this day in 1930 and is part of the Reeder Photograph Collection.

US-41 Fanny Hooe Creek Bridge
A fall scene of the bridge in October 2012. Courtesy of Historic Bridges.

The bridge has an interesting history, starting with the passage of the State Trunk Line Act in 1913. The Act allowed for the construction of a state route through Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon,  and Gogebic counties. Sections of this route eventually became part of US 41 and US 45. In the 1920s, new bridges were included in the trunkline to improve accessibility and expand the route. The small concrete arch bridge was constructed by the Keweenaw County Road Commission. The bridge is quite beautiful to behold, with an elliptical arch ring, filled spandrels, and decorative fieldstone work. Of special highlight is the decorative stonework, which was uncommon for many Michigan bridges of the era.

Perhaps if you took in the fireworks in Copper Harbor last night or are looking to head north this weekend, be sure to check out this small but mighty Michigan marvel!

 

 

 


Flashback Friday: Hubbell Hall Remembered

The Michigan Tech Archives welcomes the Hubbell Family during their campus visit today. In celebration of their visit, our Flashback Friday this week features a closer look at a piece of campus history tied to the Hubbell Family — Hubbell Hall.

At the time of its establishment in 1885, the Michigan Mining School (later named Michigan College of Mines, Michigan College of Mining and Technology, and finally Michigan Technological University) occupied part of the Continental Fire Hall in downtown Houghton.

Michigan Mining School’s first campus building was the Continental Fire Hall in downtown Houghton.

As class sizes grew, additional space was needed to support the new school. To solve this issue, the Michigan Mining School developed plans for a new, larger building close to downtown that would be able to provide the additional space the school needed. In 1887 John Scott & Co. was hired as principle architects for the new building with contractors from Wahlman & Gipp and I. E. Swift Company. By 1889 the new building was completed at the intersection of Hubbell Avenue and College Avenue.

The new Romanesque-style building featured new lecture halls, gymnasium, and library. It was constructed with Jacobsville sandstone walls and featured a distinctive central tower. The building was initially referred to as State Hall or just “first school building,” according to sources, but following the death of the building’s principal benefactor, Jay A. Hubbell, its name was changed in his honor. Hubbell was a well-known politician and judge for the state of Michigan, serving as a district attorney for the Upper Peninsula and prosecuting attorney for Houghton County prior to becoming a member of the House of Representatives.

Hubbell Hall, circa 1895-1901.
Hubbell Hall eventually became the building devoted to the math and physics departments until the late 1960s when both departments relocated to another building on campus. While Hubbell Hall was a central, distinctive feature on the Michigan Tech campus for nearly 80 years, by 1968 the building was in somewhat of disrepair and demolished.
Today the 11-story R. L. Smith (MEEM) building stands in the Hubbell Hall footprint, taking its place as one of the most distinctive buildings on campus. While Hubbell Hall is no longer a feature on the campus landscape, its importance to the history of Michigan Tech is well-preserved in the memories of those who attended school while it still stood and in the records preserved by the Michigan Tech Archives.

Hubbell Hall in winter, 1968.
Demolition of Hubbell Hall, 1968.

Flashback Friday: The Ranger III

Ranger III Launch Posed Photo
A group poses for a photograph at the launch of the Ranger III in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on this day in 1958.

To those who live in or visit the Copper Country, the sight of a large blue and white vessel on the Keweenaw Waterway is a welcome and familiar one. Today’s Flashback Friday looks back to the launch of the Ranger III and remembers those vessels that came before her.

The Ranger III is a 165 foot long, 34 feet wide, 648 ton vessel that can carry up to 128 passengers. The nine-member crew operates the ship with skill to safely navigate the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior, carrying people and cargo back and forth from Houghton, Michigan to Rock Harbor on Isle Royale. The vessel is owned and operated by the National Park Service (NPS.)

The journey to Isle Royale National Park on the Ranger III begins at the home port in Houghton. The six-hour long, 73 mile journey to Rock Harbor starts out through the Keweenaw Waterway, also known as the Portage Canal, and passes under the famous Portage Lift Bridge. The bulk of the journey is spent on the open, majestic waters of Lake Superior and the destination is the rugged, north woods landscape of Isle Royale.

A crowd in 1958.
A crowd gathering to see the Ranger return in September 1958.

Today’s Flashback Friday looks back to the launch of the vessel, which was covered in the Daily Mining Gazette on this day in 1958. The photo depicts people, widely known locally in the mid-twentieth century, on the occasion of the Ranger III’s launching. Easy to spot are Daniel J. Tobin, regional National Park director; C. R. Christianson, head of the Christy Corp., Congressman and Mrs. John Bennett, Superintendent John Lewis of the Isle Royale Park. Mrs. C. R. Christianson, local Coast Guard Auxiliary head Edward Lieblein and Senator Leo Roy. This photograph was taken in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The Ranger III before launch.
How the Ranger III appeared just before her maiden voyage.

Large vessels were an integral part of the history of Isle Royale and its opening as a national park. The basic idea of establishing a national park like Isle Royale came about in March 1931, when President Herbert Hoover authorized Congress to build a conservation effort around a prime expanse of northern wilderness. During 1937, the effort to open the park received two surplus, wooden hull United States Coast Guard cutters and their two-man crews. These vessels were originally designated NPS-1 and NPS-2, but some confusion led to these boats being renamed and NPS-1 became the first Ranger. While the early cutters served the island well, including during the official establishment of Isle Royale National Park on April 3, 1940, eventually the NPS-2 (the Beaver) was returned to military service and the Ranger fell into disrepair due to lack of proper maintenance during the war. After World War II, the Ranger was taken out of service and replaced by a surplus Army Minelayer, which became the Ranger II. This 114 foot wood ship served Isle Royale from 1946 to 1958.

During the Eisenhower Administration, a nationwide program was initiated to rejuvenate National Park lands and facilities. The program was dubbed “Mission 66” and it provided the opportunity for Isle Royale Park staff to ask for a new ship, the Ranger III. The park’s request was granted and the Christy Corporation of Sturgeon Bay built the ship at a cost of 1.16 million dollars. The Ranger III continues to serve the island to this day and it is currently the largest vessel owned and operated by the National Park Service. For decades the ship has been a symbol of exploration and a welcome sight for children enjoying the local beaches. The wake created by the ship provides large, rolling waves just the right size to rock an inner tube or a canoe.

Full statistics for the USNPS Ranger III can be found on the National Park Service website.

For information about the current schedule, fares, and reservations, please visit the Ranger III Information page on the NPS website.

The Ranger on the Portage Canal.
A recent photograph of the Ranger III on the Portage Canal.

Flashback Friday: Rolling Into Commencement Weekend

Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda and Michael Comstock pose on the Honda CB 350 Four that was given away at the May 1974 commencement ceremony.

Commencement weekend is upon us once again! To honor all the hard work of those graduating this spring, our Flashback Friday looks back to the honest words shared during a very special commencement. It was May 18, 1974 and President Raymond L. Smith, the Board of Control, students, faculty, and guests were very pleased to welcome Soichiro Honda, Founder of the Honda Motor Company, as the commencement speaker and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering. It was fitting that this most special commencement, to that point the largest one held at Michigan Technological University, should have a surprise or two.

First, Honda’s address to the 736 graduates was presented in Japanese with accompanying translation. Yet, the biggest surprise, much to the delight of the graduates, was when President Smith closed out the ceremony by rolling out a brand new super-deluxe Honda CB 350 Four. He then announced that Mrs. Honda, who had accompanied her husband from Tokyo, would present the motorcycle to one of the graduates. Our Flashback Friday photo depicts Honda and the lucky winner, Michael Comstock, an honors graduate who received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Talk about starting your next chapter on the right foot, or wheel rather!

To help inspire and wish well all those who are graduating this weekend, the translation of Soichiro Honda’s commencement address is shared in full below. Best of luck Huskies! Onward and upward!

Mrs. Soichiro Honda
Mrs. Honda as she selects the winner of the motorcycle during the 1974 commencement at Michigan Tech.


Simple Rules for Life Cycling by Soichiro Honda
It was 15 years ago that my company first brought motorcycles into the United States. In this country at that time, motorcycles were ridden by only a limited group of people, notably those who were labeled “black jackets,” and who were not well received by society. I was told by many people that trying to sell motorcycles in the United States would be ridiculous and a waste of time and effort.

But, I knew from my own experience of youth what young people are attracted to. Furthermore, I was convinced that if we brought in new, original motorcycles that would shatter the past image, we would be able to popularize them. My basic thinking was not that we wanted to make motorcycles by imitating other people because the market was there, but rather we would create the market with original products.

Obviously, we faced many hardships, but we were on the right path. Today, our motorcycles are popular among peoples of all ages and all walks of life in well over 100 countries throughout the world, and they are there to stay. In the United States, the YMCA’s throughout the country are conducting a major program, using our mini bikes, to combat juvenile delinquency. The federal government has given its positive support, and this program has been most successful.

If we had done nothing but imitate others 15 years ago, there would not have been the motorcycle popularity there is today. I take pride in saying that our originality and creativity were factors behind today’s success.

The third point that I wish to emphasize is that the solution to any problem should be sought at its very root. As an example, I would like to touch on the air pollution problem. Pollution of the air through automotive exhaust emissions has become an increasingly serious problem not only in the United States but throughout the world. In 1970, under the leadership of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, the Clean Air Act was amended, requiring a drastic reduction of unwanted emissions from automobiles. Later, a similar law was enacted in Japan.

In order to meet the standards of this legislation, we tackled the problem of how to clean exhaust gases within the engine itself. This is because we thought that a basic solution could be achieved only if the exhaust gases were clean as they came out of the engine.

We endeavored to change the combustion process itself, and successfully developed what we call the compound vortex controlled combustion, or CVCC, engine system. It has been established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that this system can meet the stringent emission standards originally set forth in the Clean Air Act without the use of such aftertreatment devices as catalytic converters. This, I believe, is a success which could not have been achieved without a philosophy of seeking the solution to a problem at its very root.

Lastly, I would like to speak on harmony among men. In today’s modern civilization, where science and technology are making rapid progress in every field, we often observe a tendency to think that the machine has priority over humanity, or that science is omnipotent. I think, however, that such thinking is not only very dangerous but fundamentally wrong.

No matter how much progress and development is made in science and technology or social structure, it must not be forgotten that it is men who operate them. And this cannot be done by just one person alone. It takes the heart-to-heart unity of purpose of many people if they are to become “masters” who effectively operate machines and social structures, and thus contribute to mankind. It is with this thought in mind that I tell young employees of my company: “Don’t be used by the machine; use the machine.”

It has been an honor to have this opportunity of speaking to you on some of the things that are always in my mind. Nothing would give me greater pleasure and satisfaction than if they might be of some use and value to you in the future.

In closing, I would like to say how pleased I am to have had the opportunity of making friends with Dr. Smith, members of the Board of Control and the faculty. Furthermore, my wife and I are very happy to have been able to meet with and talk with many beautiful and kind ladies.


Flashback Friday: Deep Roots: Unearthing the History of the Forestry Department at Michigan Tech

Happy Arbor Day, Copper Country! We’re observing today’s holiday with a Flashback Friday post commemorating the Michigan Tech Forestry Department.
Michigan Tech’s Forestry Department has deep roots on campus. Under the leadership of President Grover C. Dillman, then president of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, the Forestry Department was initiated in 1936 with a two-year degree program led by U. J. Noblet and R. B. Miller and housed in Hubbell Hall. In addition its general curriculum, the department also offered students a Forestry Club. By 1942, the department moved to the nearby Hubbell School and five years later the Institute of Wood Research was created. In the 1967 the department had expanded enough to require new facilities and in that year the U. J. Noblet Forestry and Wood Products Building was opened. That year also saw the beginning of the University’s first graduate program in forestry.
Throughout the 1970s and into the 1990s the department saw major growth in terms of student numbers and changes in technology and course curriculum. Forestry enrollment climbed to 151 new students in 1970 with female enrollment reaching 25 percent by 1975. Microcomputers replaced the department’s calculator lab in 1984 and in 1986 the department opened its first PhD program. Curriculum had now expanded to include wood and fiber utilization, land surveying, and other majors and certificates including ecology, environmental science, and wildlife ecology and management.
With all this change comes additional facility needs. In 1999 the university broke ground on a new building expansion project (pictured here) that would become home to Hesterberg and Horner Halls in 2000. Today, the Forestry Department thrives on the Michigan Tech campus. Students at the undergraduate, graduate, and PhD levels have excellent curricula to choose from and amazing facilities to learn and study in.
Celebrate Arbor Day at Michigan Tech today by attending the University’s student-led Tree Campus USA initiative event. Meet at the Husky Statue from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. for an opening ceremony followed by a student-led campus tree walk and tree planting from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. with a reception to follow at the U. J. Noblet Forestry Building Atrium. During the reception, be sure to check out the informational tables from community and student organizations that support environmental sustainability and ecology or attend one of the tours of the U.S. Forest Service’s underground research facility, the Rhizotron.
Want to know more about the Forestry Department at Michigan Tech? Visit the Michigan Tech Archives during our regular research hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to learn more.
Happy Arbor Day from the Michigan Tech Archives!

Flashback Friday: Ice Out, Shanties In!

Happy Flashback Friday, Copper Country. This week we’re paying tribute to that age-old rite of spring when U.P. anglers switch from ice fishing to open water fishing.

Pictured here in L’Anse in 1977, ice shanties accumulate along the Upper Peninsula waterfront after being taken off the water for the season. Many anglers are sad to have to finally throw in the towel on ice fishing season, but there’s always the promise of another big catch in the streams and open water of the coming months.
The article that accompanied this photograph from the Daily Mining Gazette noted that “at least a few brave ice fishermen still had their shacks out on the big lake when this picture was taken” and we’re not surprised. Stay safe anglers and enjoy the change of fishing seasons!
The Michigan Tech Archives has plenty more photos like this waiting to be discovered. Interested in seeing more? Hop onto our Copper Country Historical Images database at cchi.mtu.edu and browse through just a fraction of our photograph collection.

Flashback Friday: The Great Tony ‘O’

Tony Esposito with the NCAA Trophy
Tony Esposito with the NCAA Trophy, March 1965.

The National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup Playoffs are just around the corner, so for Flashback Friday it seems appropriate to fondly remember one of the most recognizable NHL faces connected to Michigan Tech hockey; Tony Esposito! This photograph appeared in the Daily Mining Gazette on Monday, March 22, 1965. The image depicts Tony holding the NCAA hockey championship trophy. Esposito tended goal for the Huskies that season and held Boston College to only two goals in the 8-2 championship final.

Tony Esposito with 1965 trophy.
Tony Esposito celebrates in 1965.

Esposito has some pretty impressive stats from his Michigan Tech days, some which have stood the test of time:

  • Three year letter winner
  • Three time All-America first team selection
  • Three time All-WCHA first team selection
  • Named first team NCAA All-Tournament Team choice in 1965
  • Currently second in goals against average (2.55)
  • Currently third in career saved percentage (.912)

Esposito’s post-Michigan Tech career included a legendary 17-year run in the NHL. His debut was with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1968-1969 season against the Oakland Seals, a relief for starting goalie Rogie Vachon. But more interesting was Tony’s first NHL start, which was a match against the Boston Bruins on December 5, 1968. Tony’s older brother Phil, an intimidating center and seasoned NHL ice man, was a leading threat on the Bruins. Oddly enough, Phil recalls the night being one of apprehension:

“I think I was more nervous than Tony that night. In fact, it was probably the most frightful game of my entire hockey career. I had been a pro since 1962 and was then in my sixth season in the NHL. I was an established player getting ready to shoot pucks at my own brother, who had been in the league only one week.” – Phil Esposito, excerpted from The Brothers Esposito

The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Phil scored both goals for Boston, which Tony recalls as being “lucky shots” which he “should have gotten glove on,” but at least he was able to hold his brother to only the two goals. It is important to mention, Tony made an impressive 33 saves in his first NHL start.

The Brothers Esposito
The Brother Esposito by Phil and Tony Esposito. This book is available in the Michigan Tech Archives.

Not since their street hockey days back in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada had the brothers found themselves on opposing teams. To say the least, it was a historic moment, and one that adds the necessary dose of drama that makes for good hockey stories and sets the foundation for legend-status. Both brothers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and have been named on the 100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history list.

Tony’s run with the Habs lasted for only one season and he would go on to join the Chicago Blackhawks off waivers for the 1969-1970 season. He put up a phenomenal season, recording record-breaking shutouts and winning a lot of league accolades, including the Calder Memorial Trophy and the Vezina Trophy. This is the year that earned him the nickname Tony ‘O’ for his shutout skills. Esposito remained with Chicago the duration of his on-ice career, making it to the Big Show several times. However, the Stanley Cup alluded him. But clearly, not all legends get to hoist the Cup.

Every now and then, there is a good Tony ‘O’ story that comes across us in the archives. To us, he will always special, and yes, always a Husky!


Flashback Friday: Unexpected Change: Fire at the Metallurgy Building

The Metallurgy Building on fire, March 15, 1923.

For this week’s Flashback Friday we’re remembering how quickly change can happen overnight, sometimes when you least expect it.

 The early 20th century Michigan Tech campus looked vastly different than it does today, not only in terms of the courses and degrees it offers, but its physical landscape. Many of the earliest buildings on campus are gone, lost to changes in the needs of the university or unexpectedly by disaster. Today marks the 96 anniversary of the fire that destroyed one such building.
Metallurgical building at the Michigan College of Mines.

On this date (March 15) in 1923 fire blazed through the metallurgy building at the Michigan College of Mines. According to a report in The Michigan College of Mines Alumnus from that year, students who arrived first on scene were credited with saving much of the valuable equipment inside the building. First responders reported that the fire appeared to be contained on the second floor of the building, but “minutes later the fire broke out over the whole building.” The Houghton and Hancock fire departments arrived on scene, but by then the fire had spread “into the walls and ventilation ways.”

It was clear that the building was going to be a total loss ($250,000) and not just in terms of the classroom and office space. Students lost personal possessions, records and data for experiments were destroyed, and one particular professor lost a decades worth of research notes. In its wake, classes were moved to the Chemistry Building (which had incidentally burned in 1920) and the department was forced to conduct work “with make-shift apparatus.”

Metallurgy building after the fire, 1923.

However, by September 1923, the Alumnus reported that plans for rebuilding the metallurgy building were underway and by January 1925 the publication was asking alumni to weigh in on a name for the new structure. The new metallurgy building opened for students, faculty, and staff later that year and christened McNair Hall, the college’s former president who died tragically in an accident in 1924. While this building bears the same name as a current resident hall at Michigan Tech, these were two distinct buildings.

McNair Hall. This building replaced the Metallurgy Building.
Regardless of which building it has occupied, since the establishment of the Michigan Mining School in 1885, metallurgy in one shape or form has been integral to this campus. It has evolved from mineral dressing to metallurgy, to metallurgical engineering, to metallurgical and materials engineering, before finally becoming the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2000.
Building disasters and failures like the one at the metallurgy building show how change can happen in a blink of an eye. Luckily no one was harmed and rebuilding happened in its wake. It’s a reminder that our landscapes can change quickly, that they aren’t always able to be thoughtfully planned, but even with unexpected change this campus and community continues to grow and evolve.
If you would like to know more about the metallurgy building fire, visit the Michigan Tech Archives during our regular research hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or contact us directly by phone at (906) 487-2505 or email at copper@mtu.edu