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Solo Photowalk Routes: The Quiet Side of the Bridge in Hancock, Michigan

Living in a university town that was once home to the first mineral boom in the United States leaves behind lots of interesting places... but not that many people.

Welcome Home!

I grew up in the suburbs, near Chicago, and I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest as well. But it was stumbling across these tiny outlets in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a bit over a decade ago that I found home.

Hancock, Michigan is the smaller of two twin communities: across the bridge is Houghton, a city of about 7,000 (not counting the college students) that I’ll profile next time.

Hancock, though, is quieter, with a much smaller university and otherwise a collection of residential neighbourhoods surrounding a modest (and that’s being generous) downtown. But that downtown is great for a stroll, and while it may not have everything you need, there’s a lot to be found down these few streets.

I don’t know if they work, and I wonder if I’ll be alive when gas pumps are a complete anachronism.

I live on the west side of town, so I tend to walk towards the east. I usually pop out into downtown in front of the old middle/high school. Built in the early 20’s, it looks a lot like the old concept of a high school. It is now owned by the smaller university and will house its health sciences program in the near future.

The same year my grandfather was born. I think.

The front of the old school turns into a sledding hill every winter, and the view isn’t too shabby, either.

Looking a bit gloomy in the winter blanket.

Further east is the main part of downtown, where there are a few blocks with banks, restaurants, bars, the post office, and, well, a few other shops here and there. It isn’t by any means a hub of nightlife activity, but as someone who isn’t overly social, it suits me just fine. There are a couple of great places for @upchickadee and I to grab dinner.

One good meal…
… and another!

The people here are proud of where they’re from, happy to live where they do. It isn’t a place where people are overwhelmingly friendly – there’s no real Minnesota Nice here – but they’re amiable and quiet and everyone stays out of each other’s business. Good friends are easy to come by, and it’s a safe place.

Always look up around where you live.
Many of our structures will outlast us.

It’s also a reminder of the beauty of decay, that nothing we make is truly permanent, and that you can still have a sense of community without a collection of neon lights for chain restaurants in your downtown. We’re a place where family-owned shops are the norm, and we like it that way.

Still plenty of signs of an older order here.

Come on by and I’ll introduce you. Really.

Even the sewer covers try to be friendly here!

written by kevinhodur

1 comment

  1. bsdunek

    bsdunek

    The Kaleva Cafe for breakfast and Nutini's for dinner! Doesn't get any better than that anywhere.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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