I had a day off this week in my hometown of Ishpeming, in Michigan's lovely Upper Peninsula. My brother Tim and I took a walk downtown for dinner. Here's what we saw:
Towering over everything in downtown Ishpeming is the iconic Cliffs Shaft, seen above. It's the shell of the elevator lift that would lower miners and equipment deep into the iron ore mine. It closed, I think, in about 1969. My Grandpa Roberts' job was lift operator, so he spent many years of his life driving that elevator up and down.
Here's the Rundman family neighborhood. Lake Bancroft at the end of the street, with Pilots Knob bluff across the lake. The red truck in the foreground is my Dad's. Somebody gave it to him. "Hey want a free truck?"
Just down the hill is The Congress. Seems like the locals adore this pizza more than anything else, but I'm not into it. And I don't like the wooden booths. That's the long-dead J.C.Penney store to the right of The Congress. I used to get my school clothes there back in the day.
Across from the Congress is our local mascot, Old Ish. He was erected there in the 1800s sometime. And that side of the Peninsula Back is in the famous opening scene of the Ishpeming movie "Anatomy of a Murder"...Jimmy Stewart drives by in his convertible.
The big boxy building under the watertower is now called Pioneer Square. It used to be a bra factory...my Grandma worked there, and various other relatives. Notice the Ishpeming kids cruising on their bikes in the middle of the street. Not much traffic to worry about.
This restaurant is Mama Mia's, my favorite pizza in the whole UP. And favorite garlic bread, too.
After we had dinner we walked home, via Main Street. It was a beautiful, warm night, and nobody was around. The town was very quiet. It's a cool place. Stop by sometime when you're driving through the U.P.