Around town

by Irene Grahek

by Irene Grahek<BR><BR>AH...spring has sprung...(hope it lasts) and soon fishing season begins. Fisherpeople will be arriving in a few short weeks, visiting our many beautiful lakes. Most Ely natives (and those of us who are grandfathered in) know where the fishing lakes are and what lakes to fish, but most of these lakes had different names early on in Ely’s history.<BR><BR>I have in my possession a most significant four volume set of “Historical Sketches of the Quetico Superior National Forest” written by J. Wesley White, retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 1965, who had 33 years of federal service. He spent 20 of those years as a key staff officer in the Superior National Forest and wrote his findings primarily for greater appreciation of Forest Service employees. My appreciation goes to the late Judge Shammy Somrock, a close friend of J. Wesley White, and also a very good friend of mine, who gave me these books.<BR><BR>Did you know that Basswood Lake was once called Lac Bois Blanc? Well, neither did I, but it literally means “white wood lake,” which was later interpreted to mean Basswood Lake. There is a chapter in one of the books called “Names...Today and in the Past” and I thought these facts might be interesting.<BR><BR>Moose Lake was Lac Original, known as the original by the French and declared an excellent fishery for white fish. Knife Lake was Lac Des Couteaus (a direct translation) with the names probably derived from slate lying with knife sharp edges exposed, and also called the “clearest water in the north.” Crooked Lake was LaCroche, so named because of its many bays, with the unusual names of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Bay. Each bay almost a lake in itself. These names were tagged to bays because when anyone became lost in one of the bays, presumably it would take one day to find the way out. Guess no one ever got lost on Sunday or Monday.<BR><BR>Lac La Croix, Lake of the Cross, retained its original French name and was named after Sieur de La Croix who drowned in this lake following an expedition in 1688. Curtain Falls is the English translation of the original French name LeRi’Deau, or Windown Curtain Falls. Alexander MacKenzie, the famous Nor’wester who passed it in the 1780s and ’90s remarked that Curtain Falls “derives its name from the appearance of the water.”<BR><BR>Several meanings have been given to the name Quetico, but the one which seems to have the most appropriate association is Benevolent Spirit, taken from a very old Ojibway word...a connotation Mr. White seems to agree with as he says...“it fits this land of sparkling lakes, rushing rivers and forest fringed ridges; this land of the Voyageur and explorer, named by the Indian, penetrated by the Frenchmen and treasured by wilderness lovers of today.”<BR><BR>With all those French Voyageurs running around the lakes, I’m beginning to wonder if I might have had a cousin or two somewhere in that bunch, way back then!<BR><BR>!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=!=<BR><BR>On the lighter side...If God had voice mail...“Thank you for calling heaven. I am sorry, all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line. If you would like to speak to God, press 1; Jesus, press 2; The Holy Spirit, press 3; if you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding, press 4; to find a loved one, press 5, then enter his or her social security number followed by the # sign.”