Reagan Boyhood Home NHS in IL, Keweenaw NHP and Father Marquette NMEM in the UP of MI

August 22, 2019

7/24 W – 6hrs to Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site, Dixon IL (Authorized) $8 adult, CST. Statue of Reagan has kernels of corn in his hand – signifying that he was a product of IL. Reagan was our 40th President and served two terms (1981-1989).

This modest 1891 Queen Anne style house was rented by the Reagan family from 1920 to 1923 (when Reagan was roughly 9 to 12 years old). Though the family moved from the house they remained in Dixon throughout the former president’s formative years; Visitor Center on left.

Born in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911, Ronald Reagan and his family moved many times during his childhood.  This is the site of his earliest childhood memories, and a place he recalled with great fondness. The gable roofed, two-­story white frame house is a typical late 19th­century small ­town American home.

Our tour guide explained that Reagan hid his pennies under a tile in front of the fireplace

Downtown Dixon IL, monument on the Rock River

The Lincoln Highway – The nation’s first coast-to-coast Highway! U.S. 40 and now Interstate 70 carry Americans from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Towed a U-Haul trailer with cast iron patio furniture, a bed for Lena, etc. to the Martins in Milwaukee WI and spent the night


7/25 Th – 5hrs to Baraga Lakeside Inn, in Baraga, MI for the Highpointers Club annual convention


7/26 F – Convention activities


7/27 Sat – 8am breakfast and then 0.75hr to Keweenaw National Historical Park, Quincy Unit. From 7,000 years ago to the 1900s people mined Keweenaw copper. Native peoples made copper into tools and trade items. Investors and immigrants arrived in the 1800s in a great mineral rush, developing thriving industries and cosmopolitan communities. Though the mines have since closed, their mark is still visible on the land and people.

Quincy Mine from the Quincy Dry House Ruins

Arrived 15 minutes before the Information Desk opened in order to be on the first mine tour, $22 Sr for 2hr tour

Walked around the grounds before the tour. The tall building is the No2. Shaft-Rock House (1908), the stone building in the foreground is the Old No.2 Hoist House that operated from 1882 until 1894

Railroads were extremely important in order to bring in supplies and ship out the ore

The Old No. 2 Hoist House that operated between 1894 and 1920 is on the left and the Old No. 2 Hoist House (Nordberg) that operated from 1920 to 1931 is on the right

The tour started in the Old No. 2 Hoist House (1894) Museum

Had some time to go through a few displays in the museum before the tour

Ready to start the tour

Cog Rail Tram (built for tours in 1996) descending to early mine opening. Our guide was excellent – knowledgeable and articulate

Entering mine

Copper ore

Sledgehammers and handheld chisels gave way to two-man drills, and then one-man drills that used air compressors. Each time technology advanced, fewer miners were needed. Strikes were called because of job cuts and low wages.

We returned to the Nordberg Hoist House to get an explanation of its operation. See the gigantic spool on the right.  It connected by steel cables to Shaft-Rock House elevators

When the mine opened in 1840, miners used hand tools and primitive dynamite

This was Manual Labor


Nice schematic of Shaft-Rock House on left and the Nordberg Mine Hoist on the right

Shaft-Rock House – Ore cars on left, man-cars on right

Men were moved up and down by man-cars, while water was pumped out of the mine, and ore was brought up to start processing

Final shaft length was 9,260ft. Final shaft depth was 6,225ft, over a mile underground!

From the mine, I drove 15min NE to Calumet MI, this is the entrance to downtown off Rt41. The Park Headquarters is across the street.

That is almost 5 tons of copper! The building in the background is the Keweenaw History Center

The former St Anne’s (Roman Catholic-French Canadian) church is now the Keweenaw Heritage Center. The Keweenaw NHP Visitor Center is located in the Union Building on the right, a former lodge hall for various fraternal organizations.

It contains many interesting exhibits

Copper Timeline (see the bottom of the photos) up to 1917; copper production on the peninsula ceased in 1968 with the closing of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company

MI copper in the Statue of Liberty

This exhibit describes the Miners’ strike of 1913-1914

Woody Guthrie wrote a song titled the “1913 Massacre” about a fire that killed over 70, mostly children, that was suspected to have been set by company hires during the strike.

Together with nearby Isle Royale, Keweenaw is the site of the world’s largest deposit of nearly pure copper. At this time, it is not cost effective to mine. Chili is currently the #1 producer of copper, followed by Peru, China, and the U.S.


I continued NE on the Copper Country Trail National Scenic Byway (Rt 41) to Copper Harbor near the end of the Peninsula

Copper Harbor Lighthouse (1848)

The building and wreck of the John Jacob Astor

Fort Wilkins – 1846-1870

Start (End!) of the Road – US 41

Returned to the motel, cleaned-up, and attended the 33rd Highpointers Club Konvention banquet in L’Anse.  There was a presentation by three of the 5 or 6 men who attended the 1st Highpointers Club meeting here in 1986.  I became a member in 1987.


7/28 Sun – 4hrs to Father Marquette National Memorial in Straits SP, St Ignace MI, immediately N of the Mackinac Bridge

This is an Affiliated NP Unit – inside of Memorial

Lots of information here, on the wall, and in the floor!  The travels of Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet

I especially liked Father Marquette’s account of his exploration of the Mississippi River with Jolliet – on the wall

I hiked the loop trail

Nice views of the Mackinac Bridge – the Straits of Mackinac connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron


I have always been interested in canals and locks that provide connections between bodies of water. In that vein, I have wanted to see the Soo Locks that are on the U.S.-Canadian border and that allow ship traffic between Lake Superior and Lake Huron and onward to the Atlantic Ocean. I had been in St Ignace twice but did not do the 45min drive to the end of Interstate 75 and the Canadian border. Well, this time I did.

The US Army Corp of Engineers has an award-winning Visitor Center and viewing platforms at the locks. They are left center in this photo. St Marys Falls can be seen on the right side and Sault Ste. Marie Canada is on the far right.

Ship traffic from Duluth MN to the Atlantic Ocean and vice-versa

Informative cross-section showing depth of the water course

1845, before the first lock was constructed, they had to move the ships around St Mary Falls by hand

The “old” locks

Ding-Ding, or is it Ding Dong?

Dates of improvements/expansions

I watched the passage of two ships “downbound” – toward the Atlantic Ocean

The Alpena, note how the lock operation lowers the ship

Road construction on I75 slowed my drive (7.5hrs) to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta OH. It is a privately-owned unit in the Dayton Aviation Heritage Area.

July 20, 2019 was the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing. Neil Armstrong, of Wapakoneta OH, was the first human to set foot on the moon. He stated, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin of the Apollo 11 mission also walked on the moon. Together, Armstrong and Aldrin spent a little over 2.5hrs on the moon, while Michael Collins piloted the moon orbiter.

Arrived home at 11pm, this was a 1,200-mile road trip around Lake Michigan


I am going to publish this entry as August 2019, so my blog entries are sequential. However, I am submitting it today (9/22/19) as President Trump is visiting the new Pratt Industries plant in Wapakoneta. Anthony Pratt, the richest man in Australia, a Trump supporter, is welcoming the President.


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