The Portage Lift Bridge
The Portage Lift Bridge is the only bridge that crosses the Keweenaw Waterway, which splits the Upper Peninsula in half. This lift bridge is located between Houghton and Hancock. The first bridge built in this location was built in 1875, and was constructed of wood. A steel bridge later replaced the wooden bridge. The bridge that you see today was built in 1959, and is the heaviest aerial lift bridge in the world. As the name states, this bridge is operated in such a way that the middle section can be raised and lowered. It ranges in height from 4 foot to 100 ft over the water. This bridge is a double deck bridge. At one time the upper level was for vehicles, and trains used the lower level. Since trains no longer travel this route, the tracks have been removed, and it is now a road. In the winter the bridge is lowered, as there are no boats transversing the waterway, and the lower section is then used by snowmobiles, while cars use the upper level. In the summer the bridge is usually left in an up position, which allows automobile and foot traffic to move back and fourth across the waterway, and boats up to 35 feet in height to freely pass under. If a boat is taller than this, then one must call the bridge master and ask that he raise the bridge. When this happens, all traffic must stop until the boat has passed under and the bridge is again lowered to street level. My favorite thing is visiting the waterway at night, when it is lit up, casting its reflection onto the Keweenaw Waterway. My photo shows this nighttime view. Photo two is daytime view, and photo three shows the bridge lifted to allow the Ranger to pass under on its way to Isle Royal.
The Portage Lake Lift Bridge
Houghton's most distinguished structure, IMHO, is the Lift Bridge that connects it with the town of Hancock and the Keweenaw Peninsula to the north.
According to a highly reliable source (okay, it's Wikipedia), this is the heaviest and widest vertical lift bridge IN THE WORLD. How about them apples?
There is a pedestrian path that allows for people to walk - or bicycle - across. And in the wintertime, the lower level of the bridge is open for snowmobile traffic. Don't you love the U.P.?
You must visit Michigan...
You must visit Michigan Tech... they have a great engineering school and had a really hip radio station when my friend Aaron was a DJ there! Other things that I did - I swam in Lake Superior... it wasn't unbearably cold. I also went cliff diving while I was up there. My friend Aaron got attacked by leaches when he decided to sit around in quiescent pool. My 20th birthday. I played on Chutes and Ladders and then had ice cream with my co workers.
The most exciting time to be...
The most exciting time to be in Houghton is the first week in February during the Winter Carnival. The student organizations from the Michigan Tech campus build gigantic ice sculptures and host a variety of events lasting the entire week.
Nature and History
You must visit the Quincy Mining Company across the bridge in Hancock, take the drive to Copper Harbor, and visit Calumet. Pick up information on the many things to do and see at the Chamber of Commerce located at 902 College Avenue in Houghton. For additional information on the Keweenaw Peninsula see www.kewtrav.com
TIP: To prevent or reduce itching from those pesky mosquitoes and black flies, grind one regular aspirin into a powder, dampen your finger, and apply a small paste of aspirin powder to the bite. Although I was skeptical when told about this, I have tried it. For me, at least, it not only eliminates the itch, but also reduces the swelling. Feeding the ducks, geese, and chipmunks. Watching a bald eagle catch a fish from Portage Lake, swimming in the lake on hot summer days, sailing, and hanging out with friends. Viewing the borealis (Northern Lights) that can be sometimes seen late at night.
To see some of the malard ducks that we feed in the summer, watch my video, Feeding Ducks At the Cabin.