“Brockway Mountain Drive is a 8.883-mile (14.296 km) scenic highway just west of Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States. Drivers can access the road from state highway M-26 on either end near Eagle Harbor to the west or Copper Harbor to the east in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The drive runs along the ridge of Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Fault and climbs to 1,320 feet (402 m) above sea level, 720 feet (220 m) above the surface of Lake Superior. Several viewpoints along the route allow for panoramas of Copper Harbor, Lake Superior, and undeveloped woodland. On a clear day, Isle Royale is visible approximately 50 miles (80 km) in distance from the top of the mountain.
Brockway Mountain was named for David D. Brockway, one of the pioneer residents of the area. The road was constructed by the county road commission with funding through Depression-era work programs in 1933…
Construction of Brockway Mountain Drive began in early 1933 by the Keweenaw County Road Commission with federal highway funding designed to provide meaningful work to the many copper miners who became unemployed during the Great Depression. Rather than provide welfare, the government provided work for the jobless. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was the agency on the federal level responsible for the project. Up to 300 laborers were employed for a wage of 25¢/hr (equivalent to $4.49/hr in 2012). The work required to build the road was carried out by manual labor, with the assistance of a team of horses, in a project designed to maximize the numbers of men employed. The grading and leveling of the road surface was done by hand; no survey instruments were used to level the roadway. The road was opened for public use that October 14, at a cost of preliminary $30,000. During 1934, additional work was done to the roadway to build the stone walls. Motorists were restricted to one-way traffic, and the road was only open to the public on Sundays and holidays. In the interim, the road was temporarily used as a connection between completed segments of the parallel state highway, numbered M-129 at the time. This highway, now part of M-26, was built starting in July 1933 but was not completed through the area until October 1934. The KCRC declared the road initially finished on June 14, 1935, at a cost of $40,000.
According to historian LeRoy Barnett, “this county highway quickly became one of the most popular motoring destinations in the Midwest.” According to the Ironwood Daily Globe in December 1938, “at least one million persons” had traveled on Brockway Mountain Drive in the first five years it was open, sparking a tourism boom in the area. The eastern end of the roadway was paved in 1938, with the final two miles done in 1940. The first Skytop Inn was built at the summit of Brockway Mountain in 1935. A replacement structure, the one that stands on the summit today, was built in 1965.”
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