Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Avalanche

The Avalanche Warning had been issued. Steve predicted the event to happen that very afternoon. I was eagerly anticipating it, so I kept my ears open and listened for the rumble. I also looked out the window many times that afternoon in an attempt to witness the snow "give way." Unfortunately, that happened to be the day of the ham and bean soup. I was often preoccupied in the kitchen and tragically missed the avalanche. Steve came home from the property and noticed that it had occurred. Oh, the disappointment!

Here's a map showing our area of Calumet. I color-coded some of the homes, so you can refer back to this map as you read the rest of this post. It will help you visualize what I'm talking about.
Google Maps

Our Calumet house (red box on map) was built in 1968, but it's one of the newest homes in town. The vast majority of the homes in Calumet were built during the copper mining boom over a hundred years ago. Many of the homes were built by the mining companies for the workers. Some of them were single-family homes and some were side-by-side two-story duplexes, and those homes sit quite close together. We also have many large older homes built for the more well-to-do people in the community. Some of them had carriage houses next door or in the rear. Driveways were not common, but that wasn't a necessity before the automobile. Who needed a garage? As time went on and the copper industry died, the population of this entire area decreased dramatically. Homes sat empty and deteriorated. Many were torn down - especially from the 1940's through the 70's. The homeowner next door would sometimes buy the empty lot and add on to his house or build a garage. However, many homes in these Keweenaw mining towns still don't have garages because they simply have no room to build one. 

Another peculiar thing about this town is that some blocks have houses situated on the spot of land that would normally be someone's backyard. If you look at the satellite shot of Calumet, you will notice that a block may have a row of houses facing one street and a row of houses facing the opposite street - like any other town. But, there are sometimes a few other homes sandwiched in the middle of the block between those 2 rows! Why? I haven't researched that yet. I suspect some of them may have been carriage houses that were converted into homes at some point. Many carriage houses were beautiful structures and had living quarters above them for an employee's family, so it wouldn't have been that difficult to convert the entire building. 

Whatever the case, we have 2 sandwiched homes across the street from us. Directly across the street (yellow box) is a home (in great need of a paint job and other repairs) owned by a man in Illinois. We have never seen him there as long as we've lived here. Frankly, we wish he would sell it to someone who would take care of it. Immediately in back of Illinois dude's home is one of those sandwiched houses (pink box). It's basically landlocked, as it has no driveway and there's another home (purple box) within a couple feet of it on the north side. On the south side of Illinois dude's home is a blue house (blue box). The blue house sits next to the Italian Hall Historical Site, and you may have caught glimpses of it in some of my past blog photos. Blue house was sold shortly after we moved here. It was in need of work, but the new owner has been putting some money into improvements (which we appreciate). Now, the folks who live in the landlocked sandwiched house (pink) normally use the narrow path between blue house and Illinois dude's house (yellow) as their sidewalk to get to their home. Remember, pink box sandwiched house doesn't have a driveway, so I'm sure they were quite distressed to see this:

Uh oh! It looks like we're going to have an avalanche! Blue house installed a metal roof. See the narrow path on the right side? That's the path normally used to get to the pink box sandwiched house in the rear. What's happening to the snow on that side of the house?

It's slipping, it's slipping. . .  

can't believe I missed the avalanche - although some of the snow did get hung up there. Maybe I'll get to see the other side go. Notice the sawhorse blocking the path to that side of the house?

All is well in the Keweenaw. (We're above 200" now!)


  1. Julie wrote:
    “Some of the miblmes were single-family homes……..”

    I have to ask, what does miblems stand for?

  2. OOPS! TYPO! I have a terrible habit of NOT using spellcheck. Thanks. It has been corrected. However, I must point out that you made a typo in your question. Instead of "miblmes," you typed "miblems!" See how easy it is?! See why you're so much fun to tease!? Steve says to have a great day, Marty!


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