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Through the facilities of the station and the National Association of educational broadcasters Michigan State College presents a pathway to progress. Of a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation radio station by recording brings you the Great Lakes pathway.
Hear this song. The Great Lakes region posts a dynamic composed by the labors of millions of people working together in our home that of all the diverse songs of business activity the beauty of nature and the utilization of natural resources. Glorious past promising future. A sample. Of the Great Lakes region. Has ways to progress. The Great Lakes region of North America is one of nature's favored areas rich in natural resources endowed with unique advantages of location and transportation facilities. The climate in
the north temperate zone people are distilled from the many races of the world and the diversity of materials for the. Great lakes themselves. Standing Geographic stretching across the heart of this. Broad expanse of Lake concentration of the Midwest where the arsenal of democracy is doors where the flow or milling capital of America supplies the staff of life for the world's busiest carries the tonnage of trade for two countries with the biggest railroad center of the world accommodates the train traffic of North America or steel the automobile. World we have been listening and this is her savings deposit if you please in the bank of time credited man's account stored where man would
find them. In the Great Lakes region. Trust land of nature's wealth in the ground on the north edge of the Great Lakes region the Laurentian Shield Rocky Lakes dotted forest covered granite shelf marking the geological history of the St. Lawrence Valley. The great stretches from Labrador southward around the Hudson Bay westward to Manitoba then north again to the frozen lands of coronation. It embraces the rich Labrador I own or deposits the Ontario gold and silver mines the Michigan copper country the iron ranges of Michigan Wisconsin and Minnesota including the famous Sudbury mining district north of Georgian Bay and the gold fields of Canada's Northwest Territories. It's one of the four richest mining areas in the world rivaled only by a mineral in South America and Africa. All this has been the scene of many dramatic
discoveries great strikes of iron silver copper in the south and east of the inland sea is the edges of the earth deposited rich layers of coal natural gas petroleum gypsum limestone and salt. The stage was well set by the start of the 19th century for the industrial age just around the corner. Materials in the ground transportation available for the using America's westward migration gaining momentum. The American people striding forward on pathways to progress.
Ontario is kind of the mineral province producing almost half the Dominion's minerals measured in value of a principal mineral area of the province is north of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The southern part of the Laurentian Shield there are one of a famous location names and mining marks the first Ontario mineral development. The Sudbury district in 1884 workmen building the Canadian Pacific Railway found copper R and the wide hunt for minerals began throughout the Sudbury district. Extensive mining was underway by 1886 but at the time the Oswald worked for copper alone. The nickel mixed with the copper was considered a nuisance and the miners threw it away. They have cost the nickel deposits are far more valuable than the copper and Ontario produces 80 percent of the free world supply. Railroad workers also are responsible for one of the richest silver strikes in Canada.
They were building a road bed from North Bay into the clay belt farming area that stretches from the lake to miss coming west to Lake Michigan. About 100 miles north of north and. Take a look see that. Sure do it right. What do you think it is but only what it is. And richer than any I've ever seen. Mr. Norris Mr. Norris we've heard a SO OVER of coming here quick. The rail workers strike touched off a mining boom to rival the famous Klondike rush. They called it a poor man's camp because they are was so close to the surface but it was destined to yield some of the richest silver or in the world. The Lawson mine had its famous silver sidewalk and or that ran up to twelve
thousand ounces of silver to the ton. Other mines were said to be even richer prospectors and adventurers of course came from all over the world. In 99 three prospectors were working the area near porcupine Lake 90 miles northwest of cobalt one of these was Harry Preston. Watch your step through here boys this is pretty tricky country I don't care how tricky it is of it turns up some more. We're getting low on supplies you know our grubstake is running out. Yeah we're overdue for a strike our right but can find nothing in the underbrush in a place you can dig your pick and I'm going to move around this bend here and try a few dicks right there. I just have a feeling order watch out don't slip area grab something here you're losing your foot and I'm okay boys just add a little slide out of it didn't hurt me and hey. Take a look at that rock. Yeah because really no over there you may fall to look he stripped the most often that rock with a film.
Sure enough he did. Do you see that Harry. That's what I'm talking about. There's a ledge there. Looks like quartz. Let's get on to a follow up. Watch at their. Lights. Why does the house bunny we didn't know this is lead you for. Oh yeah that's the way. Who wouldn't assume at all if he had a hairy head to slip and took the most often. Look ahead there boys. Do you see what I see. Looks like some sort of a round shape rock look at a glint in the sun. It might be tedious it is hairy feast your eyes on that rock. I am boys that's the most beautiful sight I ever seen. She's studded with gold. Preston and his partner became the world famous.
In the next 40 years a billion dollars worth of gold became one of the greatest thriving overnight. The area had 15 operating with a monthly of a million dollars or discoveries in present time. The upper Michigan is the main suppliers of America with billions of dollars. The.
Other metals to build the machinery of his industrial age. But also. Every day. For building automobiles radio and television telephone and telegraph is essential for the machines of a thousand or more in three million hundreds of years ago. And the remains of the work of early
man. French fur traders knew of the copper country as red metal as early as 60 and 60. But the colonial French and British were both unsuccessful in attempts to develop the copper range. And two of the first modern copper miners in the region are James K. Paul and Nicholas Mina Claire. They found a huge chunk of copper near the mouth of the river in 1840 to the great comp or boat or was taken to Washington D.C. on orders from the secretary of war. It weighed three thousand seven hundred eighty pounds almost two tons of native copper. Later an even bigger piece of copper was found in the originally largest chunk of native copper ever found a boulder weighing around 500 tons in the town of Onondaga and was followed by Copper Harbor at the northern tip of the quay when all Peninsula then the mining communities of Eagle harbor and Eagle River prospectors swarmed into these boom towns by the dozens followed by miners of men and eyes analogies while
eastern capital helped develop the Michigan copper country. The Calumet mining company was backed by Boston money and commenced in 1855. Their big find by the way was a stroke of pure luck. What in the devil's name are you laughing about. I don't laugh about young Overton's big strike. You know you came reading in here yesterday. I need them as a pure copper. Well it's true we did find pure copper what he found was an old Indian. Where he was when he gave me that he thought he knew very well don't sell Edwin Holbert short no I don't sell him short or tall Vance I just think it's going to be downright amusing when he and the big bosses get back your TONIGHT. Did you get that how but take them out there Milt. Did Vince tell the bosses what to do or where to go. But you knew that was a pile of engine copper Edwin. Why did you let him make a fool of himself like that. Nobody makes a fool out of a man except his. Besides Holbert is an engineer
he should know what he's doing. Look got there they come now. Oh boy this is going to be good. Yeah I'll shake hands with a young homer here. He's made a real find. But I thought that was only an old Indian. Well yes that's true. The mass copper had been left in that spot Heaven only knows how many years ago. But we dug into the ground under that spot today. And what do you suppose the richest vein of conglomerate copper I've ever seen in my life. The consolidation of copper mining interests and combine the companies into one of the biggest in North America earlier Copper Country mining was concentrated at the northern tip of the keys. It was the middle ground around portage Lake south west of copper harbor that became a big producer.
Here the Twin Capital City is of the copper country and now the headquarters of Michigan's copper range which at one time produced the world supply of the red metals. Michigan is one of the top producers yet today ranking sixth in the copper industry. Copper and border come from like a hundred years and has great in the ground. Just undeveloped reserve in America reopening of. The Great Lakes region. And the iron colossus of American industry
American people. You know salt is common place that most of us just take it for granted is more than a saying. We live without it. The human body requires a certain amount of salt to exist. And wars have been fought because wars have been lost for lack of it. Saul sometimes called The Fifth Element has more than 1400 different uses. A few of the common ones of course are for table use food seasoning baking cheese making soap making meat packing the chemical industries leather processing glass manufacture explosives and the munition manufacture road building dust laying highways snow and ice treatment medicines and so on throughout a long and amazing list. There are vast reserves of salt in the ground of America and
Michigan the nation's leading salt producer has an estimated seventy one trillion tons under its soil enough to last the entire world for many centuries. It is a limitless salt beds were laid down in this region millions of years ago when the great salt sea covered what is now the land of sky blue water assaults in the long heat of a prehistoric desert climate. The water slowly slowly evaporated first but then the salt precipitated out of the water and settled in layers on the floor of the sea. At some points in layers 500 feet thick today of course thousands of feet below the surface of the land. But when these United States were locked in the mortal combat of the Civil War salt proved to be a vital new mission. Major isn't that messenger back area. No sir but I'm sure we'll get through. Tracy is the best runner we got in a regiment. Major great MSM just comedy in
places made it back send them right inside when the colonel want to talk to. Yes I'm going to kind of trace a. Couple of facts. Sort of catch your breath. Musta been pretty rough up there. It's bad right now Colonel. Whole front is swarming with Yankees. You all right son. You didn't get hurt. No sir I'm alright. Just weirded out. Tracy. Did the captain send a report back. The captain didn't. The captain who was in command of the company then didn't. Jordan took command but he can't hold it back without reinforcement. We don't have reinforcements right now. There's some more bad news. They got kind of lost salt works herded down to the ground got the salt works. That is bad. So they took that kind of work. Oh that's a heavy blow Colonel.
Could I ask a question Colonel currish Tracy go ahead. What's so bad about them salt works. I'd eat my food forever with without salt to get another crack at them Yanks. I know you would. But fighting men sweat more and need more salt. We don't have many places to get salt here in the southland. Cavalry horses need salt supply much as any water and we use salt for 10 and cavalry harnesses and wagon rigs to use salt and make an ammunition to. Use it for salt and beef and part of it important to the Confederacy. Pretty tough to lose the cut off of a salt works. I see. Thank you sir. I'll get some sleep now and I've been ready to go again. And don't worry I kind of will chase them Yanks clear out of West Virginia tomorrow. Salt was so precious in the South during the Civil War that a black
market existed throughout the four years of the conflict. It's likely that the South's inability to produce I'm distribute enough salt was a contributing factor to the Confederate defeat in the civil war. The North had plenty of salt from the Syracuse area and the means of transporting it. In the heyday of lumbering in Michigan the sawmills frequently added salt production as a sideline. They put down Brian Wells and used their wood wastes to supply the heat for reducing brine salt Cygan all valley was once a great lumbering za'atar and has long been known as the salt center of the Midwest. And this old industry got one of its greatest salesmen and leaders from the Great Lakes region. Joy Martin who was working as a storekeeper for the
Burlington railroad in 1879 when he had a talk with salt broker Wheeler of Chicago I'm still wondering why you contacted me Mr. Wheeler. Well Martin as I told you I've been looking for someone younger to take into the business with me. It's a sound and prosperous business my boy. My company was formed in 1848 and it's been very successful for 30 years. The salt market is growing steadily. Chicago meatpackers by a great deal of salt. The chemical companies practically live on it. Soap makers leather companies bakeries hotels restaurants they all salt customers Martin and the best of all is the source of supply enough salted in Michigan alone to last for 100 generations sounds pretty good Mr. Willie will hide those eastern salt boys have never been able to get their Join us out here so I can ship my load of salt in from Saginaw to Chicago on the lakes for a fraction of what it cost them to send it overland from Syracuse. Sounds like a very promising
opportunity. Like to have you in the company Sun. Well Mr Willet I would accept your offer I feel it's a great opportunity but I'd be able to invest only $10000. It's not a great deal but it's my life savings. That's plenty of my boy. That will make you one of 20 percent of the company and give you a real start in salt. Martin was 24 years old when he joined the Wheeler salt company. He took charge of the business when Wheeler died in 1885 and in time his operations spread out into every major salt field in the nation saw another of America's rich resources stored by nature in the Great Lakes region. Ground evolved for a song. The the the the
underground wealth of the country seems tremendous. Metals and salt and oil blacked liquid vital oil for the millions of gasoline hungry motors and a mechanized world for the billions of moving parts and gears and wheels demanding lubrication oil the life blood of modern machinery. Well the country was the birthplace of the oil industry for in north western Pennsylvania not too far from the shores of Lake Erie. Edwin L. Drake's famous oil well okay man that sixty nine and a half feet nearly a hundred years ago that's another ton of Titusville. The dark liquid had been known for many centuries before the French missionaries found oil in western New York State in the 17th century Seneca Indians sold oil for medicine around the Niagara territory in the eighteenth century and Samuel L. here of Pittsburgh skimmed oil from his father's salt well as near to Ransome put it in bottles and he sold it as medicine. My friends this rock was a marvelous remedy for rheumatism
and and after curing powers here to for the blind to see this petroleum medicine for many years. Senator. Put it up. As it flows from the bosom of the earth without any added do it Take it away. And despite a vigorous sales campaign some here couldn't sell very much Iraq oil for medicine. But he knew his petroleum would burn and believe that if he could eliminate the smoke in the air he could develop a market for the oil. So he conducted many experiments eventually devising a crude distillation process. His original is still one barrel capacity rig set up on Seventh Avenue above ground street in Pittsburgh in 1850. The first oil refinery in the United States there is it turned out a petroleum product which he called carbon oil. It was cheaper safer and better than any illuminating oil then available. Demand soon exceeded supply. The price of carbon oil went from
75 cents to a dollar and a half to $20 a gallon. Only a few years later Uncle Billy Smith pulled up a bucket of oil from brakes well and the first oil boom followed quickly the entire Oil Creek Valley was soon leased or sold for oil drilling and by 1864 production had reached 6000 barrels a day. Meanwhile over in Cleveland the business men wondered if they should invest money in this new petroleum industry. They decided to send someone over to Pennsylvania to investigate and they selected the co-owner of a thriving Cleveland commission house. The 20 year old man who seemed promising businessman John Rockefeller. Young Rockefeller Titusville and the oil oil city. Then he returned to the oil refining but the production end was too much of a gamble for
sound investment. The oil refining business became the early refining and Rockefeller masterminded the birth and growth of the Standard Oil Company. By the time he was 38 his company 95 percent of the pipelines and refineries in the nation. John D Rockefeller retired in 1896 with a fortune made from kerosene. His retirement preceded by only a few years the emergence of the greatest consumer of petroleum ever invented. The horseless carriage mass produced the automobile. Another contribution to the Great Lakes area that assured a permanent market for petroleum. Pennsylvania Ohio Michigan New York Illinois and Indiana all produced great quantities of oil at one time or another. The ground still yields important quantities of the liquid black gold
and the refining industry is still concentrated in the lake country where John D Rockefeller gave it a start where the early oil industry helped to build up the strength and diversity of the Great Lakes industrial region. Natural gas from the ground is at work for the region to heating homes providing steady even heat necessary to such enterprises as they will the glass making industry and the chemical industries where close temperature control is required. Other sections of the ground you limestone for cement for the steel brewing process for chemical uses and gypsum for wallboard and plaster. The list of Mineral Resources is long and impressive each mineral individually important but total. A priceless heritage. The mineral rich and rich that.
Is a bank. And in the play inspiring in every.
Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes
Wealth in the ground
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on minerals and their place in the economy of the Great Lakes region.
Other Description
A 13-part documentary drama about the economic impact of the Great Lakes region in the United State.
Broadcast Date
Minerals--Superior, Lake, Region.
Media type
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Director: Kushler, Dave
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Researcher: Honsowetz, Duane
Writer: LaGuire, Al
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-33-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:54
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Chicago: “Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; Wealth in the ground,” 1955-11-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 16, 2021,
MLA: “Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; Wealth in the ground.” 1955-11-20. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 16, 2021. <>.
APA: Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; Wealth in the ground. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from