ISLE ROYALE

Keweenaw County MI



Isle Royale is an island of the Great Lakes, located in the northwest of Lake Superior, and part of the state of Michigan. The island and the 450 surrounding smaller islands and waters make up Isle Royale National Park.

The island is 45 miles (72 km) long and 9 miles (14 km) wide, with an area of 206.73 square miles (535.43 km2), making it the largest natural island in Lake Superior, the second largest island in the Great Lakes (after Manitoulin Island), the third largest in the contiguous United States (after Long Island and Padre Island), and the 33rd largest island in the United States. It is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Census Tract 9603 of Keweenaw County, Michigan. As of the 2000 census there was no permanent population.[3] After the island was made a national park, some existing residents were allowed to stay,[4] and a few leases are still in effect. Ferries from Michigan and Minnesota land at Rock Harbor on the eastern end of the island; this has a lodge, campground, and information center. Ferries from Minnesota also run to Windigo on the western end, which has a visitor center and campground. (font size=2> Information from Wikipedia)


ISLE ROYALE COUNTY
From what had been written about this island by Pierre Boucher, and published in Paris in 10 Vand from the accounts published by the Jesuit missionaries who penetrated into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as early as 1615, and whoso wonderful accounts of the extensive deposits of copper in this region, and particularly on Isle Royale, were published in Paris in 1006 67, which records had undoubtedly been studied by Benjamin Franklin, no doubt decided him to insist, as one of tho Boundary Commissioners, after the Revolutionary war, upon including Isle Royale within tho limits of the territory ceded by Great Britain to the United Colonies; and the boundary was placed midway between the island and the main shore on the north side of the lake.

When the early efforts at mining wore made in the copper region, much attention was directed to Isle Royale, and large expectations were centered there. The wildest imaginations, with regard to the enormous wealth stored in its mines, and the facility with which it might be obtained, were indulged; and these wild conjectures were stimulated by the fact that numerous veins bearing copper, which was kept burnished by the action of the waves, could be seen in the lake along the edge of the island. These formed the basis for the theory that the masses found scattered over the mainland had been broken from those island veins, floated over by icebergs and landed where found. The geological survey of the island demonstrates that the same formations compose its structure as are found extending along the ''mineral range" of the peninsula, and numerous cupriferous veins were located there by Mr. S. W. Hill while making the survey.

Isle Royale is about fifty miles north by a little west from Keweenaw Point, its extreme easterly point being nearly opposite Eagle River. It is fifty-one miles in length from northeast to southwest, averaging about rive miles in width. It is eight miles at its widest point, and about two and a half in its extreme narrowest part, which is toward its northeasterly end. It is covered with a dense growth of dwarfish forest trees along the rocks on its north shore, and is heavily timbered in tho interior, principally with evergreens Mr. Wright, in his Mineral Statistics, says: "The frequent change in the formation, arising from tho thin bedding or strata of rocks, affects, in a corresponding degree, the character of tho veins, making the work of mining in them extremely uncertain, and causing all the mining ventures which have thus far been made on the island to prove unprofitable undertakings." But Mr. S. W. Hill, who made the survey, states that the formation of the island is the same as found on Keweenaw Point. The green stone formation exists there in some places 200 feet in thickness, and holds its position parallel to that on Keweenaw Point. The same formation of the ash-bed, bearing copper, is also distinctly observable- Some of the members of the group found in Keweenaw County are not observable on the surface, while others found there are not soon on the peninsula; but, as a whole, the island is a complete counterpart of Keweenaw County—the dip of the rocks, being the reverse, shows simply application of tho formation between, probably formed by the upheaval of the green stone ridges running through the island and through Keweenaw County, and constituting tho great lake basin between.

In the opinion of Mr. Hill, the best mines are found on the point where the beds of conglomerate alternate most frequently with the veins of trap, and that the same will hold good with regard to tho island.

Inland, and in the valleys, ho found large growths of white pine and cedar, of excellent quality. The whole island is well watered and timbered, except along the coast and on the rocky ridges.

Siskawit Lake is a considerable body of water lying near the center of the island, which, apparently, has no outlet

Hills rising from 800 to 400 feet above the lake are found in many localities throughout the island, and in some places on the west are bold cliffs of greenstone rising from the water's edge, while on the eastern shore, conglomerate rock or coarse sandstone abounds, with occasional rocky beach. On the point, at the entrance to Siskawit Bay, superior sandstone for paving purposes is deposited.

Isle Royale County has more numerous and better harbors than can elsewhere be found in the same radius, some of the finest being completely land locked, and capable of sheltering tho entire fleet of vessels sailing on the lake. On the north shore is Amygdaloid Inland Harbor and Todd's Harbor, and among the "Fingers"s—as the northeasterly end of the island is called, from being divided by numerous bays, which run a long distance inland—are several good and commodious harbors. On the south, Rock Harbor is extensive and secure. Siskawit Bay is a fair harbor, except in a direct northeasterly gale. Chippewa Harbor, on the south, could be made one of the best in the county by dredging about one hundred feet It can now only be entered by small boats.

Washington Harbor, on the west, has seventy-five feet of water for more than five miles in length; has three distinct entrances. Beaver Island, some four miles inland, is over three hundred feet high, and is surrounded by deep water, so that the largest vessels can pass all around it. On account of numerous islets and rocks in places, navigation along the shore would be somewhat dangerous to one unacquainted with their location but, once within the harbors, a vessel could outride one of Lake Superior's November gales.

In 1871, Isle Royale County was set off from Keweenaw County, and ha* since been divided into two townships Rock Harbor and Island Townships. The island is not generally settled, and contains but few inhabitants—-some fifty-five at the last census.

Although the most extensive ancient or prehistoric mining was done on this island, and almost everywhere evidences of copper deposits are found, its distance from the mainland, and the necessity of having barges attached to the works, together with the fact that capital has thus far been concentrated to carrying on operations on the mainland, has heretofore retarded the work of developing the veins on the island; one mine only —the Mining—being worked on a small scale at present, but, not being practically operated, the results are not very profitable.

Some tributer's are also engaged on the grounds, gathering what copper they can glean from surface work, the whole amounting to but little.

The waters abound in fish, and it is one of the very best points in Lake Superior for fishing operations.

ORGANIC
Owing to the foresight of Franklin, Isle Royale was grouped with other islands within the boundary of the United States. It appears to have been a terra incognita to local politicians up to 1847.

Isle Royale and tho adjacent islands in Lake Superior were established as one township, under the name of Isle Royale Township, March 16, 1847. The territory was attached to Houghton County, of which it formed a part. The first town meeting was held at the house of Joseph Petit, in June, 1847.

The act approved March 4, 1875, ordered a that the several islands in Lake Superior known as Isle Royale and the islands adjacent thereto shall be organized into a separate county, by the name of Isle Royale, and the inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized counties of this State are entitled."

The usual provisions for the election of officers were made, and it was made the duty of the Supervisors Board, on or after the year 1880, to establish the county seat. The county of Isle Royale was organized in 1875, and detached from Keweenaw County. The only organized township in the county in 1880, as given in tho census returns, was Mining, with a population of fifty-five.

History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan 1883