Archive for the ‘Marquette’ Category

New CR 510 bridge spanning the Dead River in Marquette County.

new bridge1

This version of the bridge is 532 feet long, stands 100 feet above the water and was opened in 2010 with a price tag of just under 7 million dollars.  In contrast, the old CR510 is 10 feet above the river and was built for a whopping $80,000. (I know: both a dollar and a foot went a lot farther then, right?)

If you look at the second picture in the post from October 12 , you can get a glimpse of the new bridge on the far right of that frame.

new bridge2

We made a valiant effort to climb all the way to the river, but about 3/4 of the way down, the slope turned vertical and we nixed the idea of battling to the bottom.

It is incredibly windy on the bridge. I don’t travel with a tripod (Bad Wabi Sabi! Go wait in the car!) and one would have made a huge difference in the shots I took from the top.

One more look at the bridge from a traditional viewpoint


and then let us slip down to where the trolls hang out.



In the fall of 1919, the state of Michigan purchased a toll bridge in Pennsylvania and shipped it to Marquette. It was installed at the Dead River site and opened to traffic in 1921, serving as an essential link for logging, tourism and development in the northern part of Marquette County. The years of heavy use took their own toll and, as weight limits for the bridge continued to be revised downward, eventually it was no longer practical to maintain it for traffic. (When snowplows weren’t allowed on the bridge due to weight restrictions, the bridge itself had to be shoveled by hand!)

I’ll show you the replacement bridge later this week.

 CR 510 passes through the Huron Mountains in Marquette County, Michigan. Today’s post features the original CR 510 Bridge spanning the Dead River.  The bridge opened in 1921 and closed to traffic in 2010. Friend Karen scouted this location ahead of time and I am most grateful.


Holy Zow! I drove to Marquette this week and the drive was exhilarating.  Fall color, which has pretty much pooped-out by an hour north of Green Bay, rebounded again as I entered the Huron Mountain range. As the road became increasingly more hilly and I was making the up/down climb into Marquette,  trees ramped up their drama until I found myself flying through a full-tilt carnival of colors and began to wonder if I’d somehow sailed right into a “Yes! Michigan!” calendar.


Enjoy a shot of pure full-on autumnal glory and I will give you some background history on the bridge in my next post.

brd2It goes without saying that I’ll have to climb under there, right?

Marquette, Michigan. A small building suffering from benign neglect, tucked into a shabby little lot and surrounded by a tangle of weeds.


An “Iron ore pocket dock?” Is this related to the Popeil Pocket Fisherman?




I am just amazed that there is no apparent upkeep or care for this exquisite little building.


A most lovely warehouse in Marquette.


Now, why did Wabi Sabi crop that first picture so awkwardly?

Ohhh….I get it.





At the end of the school year, I declared up down and sideways that I was done working forever…probably…no, really…that’s it…unless, of course…but, no. I was offered a full time job for this school year and I declined…and then was offered it and declined a second time. Somehow, this message got lost in the cosmos, because HR (and they are nice people) was under the impression that I was working this fall. All the student schedules and class lists bear my name. Oops. So,  I will work the first two weeks of school while a suitable candidate is interviewed and hired, then hand the reins to the new teacher. Godspeed.

I’m feeling guilty, a plucker of low-hanging fruit. The first two weeks of the year are the sweetest, akin to that magical time when you are falling in love. Everyone is excited, wanting to impress and ready to make things work.  We all smile extra widely and say “Excuse me” even if we don’t mean it. Most folks smell passably good. Ahead of us stretches 10 months of hope, blue skies and infinite possibilities..  The first time Little Zeke lets fly with a monster belch, it’s pretty funny.

We haven’t had a chance to disappoint each other yet.The fourteenth time Zeke belches, I will pin his ears to the wall. When Robin realizes that late work doesn’t count…no, seriously…that’s a zero…, she will stomp back to her desk and add me to the list of people she hates. Some folks won’t shower again till Halloween.

But the first two weeks? They are grand.

I know me so well. On Tuesday afternoon, I will be in love.

Moving away from the street side, public face of the orphanage to the back side of the building: less ornate, more utilitarian.

Less scary.



The plywood has weathered to an exotic tribal pattern. I like it.



Of all the shots I took of the orphanage, this last is my favorite. Family portrait? Urban life? There’s that, but I also like how all the shapes line up and balance, with the pigeons being a pure bonus.



Kathy, from The Copper Llama Farm, sent me a really nice note about my post earlier this week that featured her “gals.” The llama with the multi-colored hair is “Confetti” and the Renaissance beauty is named “Vanilla Chai.” Had I been consulted, my vote would have been for “Lucrezia.”

Am I the only person who thinks “Dolly” would be an outstanding name for a llama? Or, are you all thinking it but afraid to say it out loud?

Didn’t think we were done with the U.P., did you? This is the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Marquette, Michigan and it is located a few short blocks from friend Karen’s house.  Built in 1914 by the Diocese of Marquette, it has been abandoned for nearly 50 years. The property belongs to a private owner now and is falling apart. Workers from the Veteran’s Home across the street use the orphanage parking lot as their smoking lounge. Pigeons own the interior. (Pigeon portraits tomorrow.) Horror tales about the building abound and claims of supernatural sightings are many. To quote my sainted Irish mother, the place is “going to hell in a hand basket.”


A couple of things: that violent fuchsia/pink-red is not a result of my mucking about with color. That’s for real. In fact, I even toned it way down in a couple of shots.


Two: I can always be persuaded to sneak inside forbidden territory or slip around “No Trespassing” signs but I didn’t venture farther than the porch at this place. At least one balcony has collapsed. And, I’m glad we didn’t go inside. Karen’s husband told us later that the orphanage houses a lovely collection of bats as well.


Finally,  I normally take great joy in documenting old factories, mine shafts, broken glass and aging doors. This time…not so much. I didn’t like the whole feeling about the place, or at least the ornate face that is presented to the street. I was more comfortable with the utilitarian backside of the building. That I can show you next time.


Well…I do sort of like that last picture. Squint a lot and it could be the backdrop for an opera.

Not opera, but fun fact for the day: did you know that “Anatomy of a Murder” was filmed in the U.P and used the court house in Marquette for the trial scenes? I love both the movie and the novel, written by Robert Traver (John Voelker) and I prize my collection of Traver first editions, all inscribed to me by the author. I never met the man, but years ago was fortunate enough to meet his neighbor who kindly schlepped my books over and had them signed.