Sunday, October 31, 2010

Whats new in the U.P??

HOUGHTON COUNTY -- The world’s largest piece of glacial float copper will soon be on display in Presque Isle Park, thanks to the vision of the late Upper Peninsula historian and educator, Fred Rydholm. Weighing more than 40 tons, the natural copper slab is approximately 15 feet in diameter and several feet thick. Float copper is naturally formed and has been carried or "floated" along by the last glacier. The massive piece of copper was discovered in 1997 on private property near Hancock. Rydholm, who was a founding member of the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society (AAPS), asked the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) to assist them in saving the copper from being melted down for industrial use.

Thanks to the City of Marquette, the world’s largest piece of copper will now be on display in Presque Isle Park. It’s interesting to note that in 1843, surveyors recorded veins of copper and silver at Presque Isle. Marquette was also an important shipping hub for the growing copper and iron industries. The famous Ontonagon Copper Boulder that is now housed in the Smithsonian Museum weighs in at less than two tons.

"This is really a labor of love in honor of Fred. Sharing the copper was his dream, and it’s just great to see all of these people pitching in to help make his dream come true," said Carl Lindquist of the SWP. A number of regional companies have donated their services to help with moving and displaying the 80,000 pound specimen. Companies include, but are not limited to, Lindberg and Sons, Oberstar Excavating, Nagelkirk Landscaping, Tri-Media Engineering, Gary Moyle Contracting, Holli Forest Products, Cook Sign, and the Ford Motor Company. The Ford Motor Company history division will be filming the copper move as part of an upcoming documentary about Upper Peninsula copper. The SWP is also assisting the AAPS with a community capital campaign to complete the purchase of the copper. Individuals, businesses, or corporations that are interested in helping to preserve this unique piece of Upper Peninsula natural history can contact the Superior Watershed Partnership at (906) 228-6095.

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