Tag Archives: lake superior

The Copper Mines of Lake Superior by T. A. Rickard: a review

Rickard examined the mining practices of most of the major mines on the range, with the significant exceptions of the Calumet and Tamarack mines, where non-employee mining engineers were not welcome. For the mines he did examine, he highlighted what they did best, the roots of their technical preferences, and any glaring weaknesses he identified in their processes. He then did the same for the associated mills (including, interestingly, the C&H mill on Torch Lake). There’s a wealth of technical detail, and enough economic detail that one could estimate the entire cost of production for many of the mines.

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The Copper Empire, volume 1, by Mike Forgrave: a review

Roughly fifty maps of towns and mining locations on the Keweenaw peninsula, with only a minimal amount of text. These are sort of idealized maps, actually, showing each town/mine’s main features but not tied to specific dates. So (according to the author/mapmaker) some of the maps include structures which not only are no longer there but which never coexisted on the specific site. The result is that each map locates both current (2009) buildings and construction which was dismantled 70 years ago.

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Black November by Andrew Klekner Kantar: a short review

It’s OK: A barebones retelling of the story of the wreck, with enough context in several dimensions. But I’m clearly not the target audience.

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Pride of the Inland Seas by Bill Beck: a short review

A coffee-table book. And a well-researched and well-written history of the Duluth-Superior port and the activities, both at the port and away, which have made a fine harbor into a major port. Surprisingly good at describing the context of the issues driving the port’s history. And (of course) an array of excellent photographs. But it’s the text which makes this a worthwhile book, for anyone interested in Great Lakes history, whether or not that interest focuses on the Twin Ports.

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Michigan’s Superior Boundary

I find from Google that the “last touches” wording is from the federal law establishing the (prospective) state’s boundary as a result of the Toledo War, and that it is repeated early in the 1850 State Constitution. (I also see that current Michigan AG Mike Cox quoted the phrase in a 2004 opinion.) It looks like Houghton didn’t expect a fully literal interpretation of the boundary to stand. He was right in that Michigan evidently doesn’t “own” the last few miles of Minnesota’s North Shore, nor the aforesaid rocky islands–but Isle Royale remains part of Michigan, regardless of its proximity to Minnesota. And Ontario.

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S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald by Raymond Ramsey: a review

Nonetheless: This is an awful book. At the very least, it needed an editor; a better solution would have been a competent co-author. Much of the argument is poorly-sourced assertion. The author spends far too much time raving about conspiracies and coverups. And hiding your arguments in disorderly, rant-prone, and opaque prose is an unlikely strategy for convincing anyone of your righteousness.

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The Iron Ores of Lake Superior (1923) by Crowell and Murray: a short review

Absolutely essential if you’re studying iron ore shipping on the great lakes, or iron mining along the shores of Lake Superior. This book contains a surprising, and wonderful, amount of information about individual mines, and about the companies which ran those mines.

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Captain Ward

Eber Brock Ward was Michigan’s most famous and most innovative Rich Man for much of the 19th century; his best comp is certainly Henry Ford, who flourished about 75 years later. I don’t think anyone’s written a full-blown biography of Ward, but there are pieces of him all over my library.

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Engineer’s Day

In June of every year the Corps of Engineers holds an open house at the Soo Locks, and thousands of fans show up to explore the grounds, view the passing ships from an unusual perspective, and look over the exhibits. Yesterday was that day, and Joan and I were among the crowd. Here we see some of the visitors crossing the massive gate which holds back Lake Superior at the the downriver end of the 105 foot wide Poe Lock.

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