Monday, August 07, 2017

(Photos) Gay, Michigan

As most people know, gay used to exclusively mean "happy." Then came the 1960s.

Gay is an unincorporated town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it has about 60 residents. The Keweenaw County town was named for Joseph E. Gay, an executive with the Mohawk Mining Company. On the left is the smokestack for the former Mohawk Stamp Mill, which we'll be seeing a lot of here.

The stamp mill was a messy operation. Operating from 1898 until 1932, it separated copper from rocks, grinding those rocks into sand with the aid of copious amounts of water from Lake Superior. The waste rock was dumped into the lake. That's the way it was done in the good old days.

The keystone reads "1927."

There is the Gay sand.

Where there is Gay sand there is a Gay beach. Yeah, I'm not sure that wooden structure is either. A onetime pier?

This beach is more inviting--but the water of Lake Superior is never warm enough for most people's constitutions.

"The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:1-2.

In the early 20th century 25 percent of our nation's copper was mined in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The last copper mine on the Keweenaw closed in 1968. The Upper Peninsula has one one mine currently operating, a copper and nickel project near Marquette.

Among the birch and spruce trees the non-native spotted knapweed has found a home in the stamp mill ruins.

While the Village People had a police officer among its members, they didn't have fire fighter. But Gay has a fire department. The town was quite crowded, on small town standards, because of the Gay Fire Department Auxiliary Sale and Bazaar that was held on the Saturday we visited.

Sadly, structures like the old Gay School aren't built anymore.

Gay has one business and it's called...

...yes, it's called the Gay Bar.

Hey, the town has a sense of humor.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this.

One of my former managers, Joe C., went up to the UP every other weekend in the winters to snowmobile. He had a couple funny pictures standing in front of the "Gay Bar" sign.

Brings back good memories of a great guy who died much too young.

John Ruberry said...

I'm sorry for your loss but happy I was able to bring back happy recollections.