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Michigan's Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton Paperback – April 7, 2009
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Well-researched and updated biography of a near-legendary figure in Michigan history. --Professor Russell Magnaghi, Northern Michigan University
We Michiganders are a hearty sort, and owe much of our resourcefulness, curiosity, and good cheer to a man whose footprints covered every corner of the Great Lakes State, and whose keen eye observed all of its wonders, and yet who remains, more than a century later, largely unknown. Author Steve Lehto remedies this oversight of history to great effect in Michigan's Columbus. Armchair travelers should be doubly delighted by this journey through both time and geography. --Mardi Link, author of When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore's Secret
Michigan's Columbus is a fascinating look at a seminal figure in the early history of Michigan. Douglass Houghton's exploration of the state in the 1830s and 1840s revealed the emergence of vast deposits of copper and iron, which laid the foundation for Michigan's emergence as an industrial powerhouse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Steve Lehto's biography is a must read. --Bill Beck, Author, Pride of the Inland Seas
About the Author
Steve Lehto is a writer, historian and attorney of Finnish descent. His family has roots in Michigan s Upper Peninsula. Lehto s grandfather, Pops Lehto, was dean of Finlandia University which was founded in 1896 as Suomi College by Finnish immigrants. Currently he resides in southeast Michigan.
Lehto obtained a B.A. in history from Oakland University and his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in Detroit, where he teaches consumer protection and trial practice. He previously wrote Bobby Isaac: What Speed Looks Like and A Most Unusual Experiment: Chrysler s Turbine Car, both published by Tarheel Press, LLC. and Death s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan s Largest Mass Murder, published by Momentum Books.
Top customer reviews
But this time, Mr. Lehto thoughtfully digresses in discussing some noteworthy backdrop to these events, wisely focusing on the life of one Douglass Houghton, a native New Yorker-turned-physician, lecturer, professor, mayor, investor and, especially, explorer--leading to his early eyewitness accounts of the commercial potential of copper deposits in the then-Michigan Territory's Keweenaw region and ultimately landing him a job as Michigan's first state geologist in 1837 which afforded him the opportunity to personally identify much of the state's natural resource cache.
Indeed, this tale is set in the formative "Edgar Allen Poe" days of the Great Lake State (given that Houghton, like Poe, was born in 1909 and later drowned in Lake Superior in 1846, just prior to Edgar Allen's own tragic death in the streets of Baltimore). That is, an era when Michigan was little more than a vast wilderness with Detroit serving more-or-less as its "Park Headquarters" which Douglass Houghton made his personal base starting in 1830.
And despite the time-related challenges, Lehto succeeds in providing a great feel for a Detroit without suburban sprawl (or the Red Wings, for that matter), not to mention a Soo without Locks and a St. Ignace without the Mystery Spot--that's what I enjoy most about this book, along with the marvelous air of adventure generally created to include many interesting revelations on topics ranging from the voyageurs, to the murderous mosquitoes, of the Great North Woods.
Most of all, by sticking to the facts and conveying them in plain English, Lehto lets the story largely speak for itself, displaying his usual confidence that truth will prove out (once again) as stranger than fiction, with no need to embellish, make silly extrapolations of, or otherwise distort basic realities.
And speaking of facts, I myself know firsthand the meticulous efforts of Mr. Lehto as researcher and writer (along with the tireless pavement-pounding he puts into promoting his work), when he manages to get around as much as ... well ... Douglass Houghton!
This book accurately tells the facts of Houghton's life, so I'll give it two stars, but as far as entertainment value goes, this book has none.