Keweenaw actually an Island?

General Discussions: ASK John: Keweenaw actually an Island?

By mn_mike on Friday, January 18, 2008 - 09:06 am: Edit Post

Hey John, quick question. Is the Keweenaw actually an Island? I mean,it looks to me on maps that it is split by Portgage lake, I know its not really an island but if it is totally surrounded by water, could you not actually consider it an island?

By admin on Friday, January 18, 2008 - 10:46 am: Edit Post

mn mike-

I suppose you could call it an island. At least a man made one. The northern end of Houghton and all of Keweenaw County is completely surrounded by water, so I guess that makes it an island.

At one point way back when, this was not the case. There was a marshy area that could not be navigated by boat. Hence the work "Keweenaw", which in a rough translation means "portage" or "place of crossing" in the native american dialect.


By mn_mike on Friday, January 18, 2008 - 10:48 am: Edit Post

Thanks John.

By bulldog on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 09:40 am: Edit Post

Here's another little tidbit I heard one time. Before there was a bridge to cross the canal, there was a trail leading from down south (Ontonagon area) that made its way into the Keweenaw and crossed over the piece of land that has since been dredged and opened...creating our island. From what I heard, North Superior road (Houghton side) and Waasa road (Hancock side) were the original way north. This, from what I understand, was the original trail leading north to the Keweenaw from down south. I can't remember who told me this but it makes sense. Must have been an oldtimer....

By mezz on Monday, January 21, 2008 - 11:25 am: Edit Post

Welcome to the Island Mon! LOL, Yup, we are indeed "technically speaking" an island. If something were to happen to our bridge (Portage Lift Bridge) we would be sol on both sides of the canal. Which reminds of the repainting project on it about 9-10 yrs ago, the towers were all scaffoled & wrapped in plastic, we had some extremely high winds, stuff was flyin everywhere! as such, closed the bridge to everything except emergency vehicles. Quite a mess with people stuck on either side & unable to return home for quite a while. -Mezz

By steve_in_il on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 02:15 pm: Edit Post

Interesting Link:

I have a very old tourist type brochure (1950's??) depicting the area as Copper Island. That same brochure is also framed and hanging on the wall at Eagle Harbor Inn.

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