Lake Superior Posts

The Floating Island of Fremont, Duluth’s Breakaway Township

As documented in the book Duluth: An Illustrated History: “The opening of the Duluth canal proved to have a beneficial effect which its promoters had not anticipated. Currents flowing through the channel carried away a considerable amount of rotting timber and mucky islets which had infested the harbor. In fact, one of Duluth’s original townsites — Fremont — was thus swept out into Lake Superior and lost forever.”

The Zenith City Press website confirms the account: new currents swept several floating bogs in the harbor out to sea. The largest of these islands was 1,200 feet long and 400 feet wide — larger than the largest lake vessel — and it contained the township of Fremont. It began where Rice’s Point is today, and on May 10, 1873, it passed through the canal to the open sea.

I must correct the error, often propagated, that Fremont broke up that night in rough water. The truth is, Fremont is still out there, population 299, comprised of 20 families that each own a business. I know because I have been to Fremont. I have hiked its marshes and shopped its cute, bustling downtown. I have fished off its docks. I have traded stories, dreams, and fears with Fremonters around beach campfires.

Many people have. Lake Superior is dotted with cities that Fremont has visited. I highly recommend, next time Fremont is visible on the horizon, try to get there. The Fremont music scene is a delight. And of course anyone who loves lake culture and the outdoors probably already knows about it.

Postcard from the Passenger Steamer South American

This undated postcard, published by Zenith Interstate News Company, shows the Steamer South American on Lake Superior. It was built for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company and launched as an overnight passenger ship on Feb. 21, 1914. A fire in 1924 required the upper works of the vessel to be rebuilt, resulting in the addition of a second smokestack, which is shown on the postcard.

“How did you think this was going to turn out, mom?”

In the latest episode of “Do Not Attempt,” Casey Rice takes a ride on a Minnesota Point iceberg.

AP: University of MN Anomalies Department tests gravity-refracting material in Duluth

The Arthur M. Anderson fitted with gravity-refracting hull invented by Dr. Mallard McPurdy of UMD

AP: University of Minnesota Duluth – The university’s Anomalies Department worked closely with the local Institute for Sideways Research to develop the space-age material necessary for hovering ships, seen lately in the skies over this Midwestern beach town. The hulls of cargo ships (called “ore boats” on the inland seas) were irradiated with strangelet particles discovered by UMD’s Dr. Mallard McPurdy in 2018. These particles were later commercialized by the Institute for Sideways Research which specializes in gravity refraction. The Institute’s founder, Dr. Horace Zontal, explained, “With this innovative particle, we were finally able to refract gravity a full 180 degrees in the hull of the revered Arthur M. Anderson.” The shipping lanes of the world are expected to be revolutionized in the coming years to take advantage of the new phenomenon. Dr. McPurdy estimated, “Costs will be slashed by two-thirds leading to cheaper commodities for all humanity.”

Fish Frozen in Lake Superior Ice Sheet

 

Fish of increasing size frozen at various depths in 8 inches of ice or so. Pic #1: 3-inch fish. Pic #2: 6-inch fish. Pic # 3: 12-inch fish.

Selective Focus: Icy Blue Gitche Gu

Via Instagram, select images of Lake Superior in wintry blue.

On the Recent Ice Angler Rescue

I have some comments and observations about the ice angler rescue on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

First off, I watch ice closely because I am nutty for skating the biggest lake in the world. No, not Lake Baikal, that piece of shit lake. I mean Lake Superior, the queen of the unsalted seas. Ice cover has been minimal this year so I have been sad, and nearly desperate in this COVID season for recreation and release.

But as my house has a decent lake view, I watched with some interest as ice plugged the outer harbor. It seemed too much to ask for that it should become safe enough to skate on — keeping in mind that ice is never safe. But whatever.

The sign I watch for is the appearance of ice houses. Once they appear, I grab my skates. My logic is this: those guys know what they’re doing. I figure the ice angler community is right on top of the Department of Natural Resources, and is tracking ice thickness so I don’t have to. If they feel safe, I feel safe.

Ice Angler Rescue

Ice anglers rescued after ice sheet breaks away from shore.

KBJR. WCCO-TV. Star Trib. Duluth News-Tribune.

I was skating that ice 48 hours ago, so I’m going to crawl under my bed now.

Skated the big lake today

Skated the big lake today in -30 windchill or so. Had it all to myself because I’m a baller, shot caller, 20-inch blades on the Impala

Santa Claus Island circa 1875

Where precisely was Santa Claus Island and when did it collapse into Lake Superior? Well, although this photo was shot by a Duluth photographer, all signs point to the rock formation having stood on the shore of Isle Royale. The internet doesn’t easily offer answers on when it collapsed or if it still stands.

National Geographic: Saving the Great Lakes

Duluth and Lake Superior were featured in the cover story of the December issue of National Geographic magazine. (No, that’s not Duluth on the cover image; it’s the Empire Bluff Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. Yes, the article has been out for two months; we’re behind on our reading.)

The article delves into a variety of environmental stressors threatening the Great Lakes, including invasive species, toxic chemicals, agricultural pollutants and coastal development. The full article is available on nationalgeographic.com, but it’s behind a paywall, so get your subscription dollars ready.

More Wild Ice

Skating Duluth’s inner harbor at “the slip.” Photo gallery below.

Wild Ice

Drain Lake Superior

Somebody peed in it.

Drain Lake Superior Facebook page

PDD Video Lab: On the Great Lakes

In this edition of the PDD Video Lab we’ve taken mid-20th Century Duluth footage from the National Archive and set it to the title track from the 2017 Ingeborg von Agassiz album O Giver of Dreams.

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