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Old 07-17-2007, 05:12 PM
 
6 posts, read 17,329 times
Reputation: 11

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Hello all, I'm hoping someone can give me some good info on Houghton. I am considering doing some of my grad work at Michigan Tech and I would really like to know what Houghton has to offer.

My wife and I in our mid to late 20's and are both from Minneapolis. A while back I got a pretty good job in Dickinson, ND, so we moved out there. Bad. Decision. I think I was temporarily insane. We have found it to be extremely insular and xenophobic, with no shortage of rednecks. Coincidentally, this area is very religious and conservative. My wife and I are neither. There is also absolutely nothing to do; the whole downtown is boarded up with the obligatory Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town. That's about it.

Given the above I am wary about moving to an even smaller town, i.e. Houghton. Can anyone tell me how Houghton stacks up. I know the UP is beautiful, but how are things in town? Are there things to do besides going to bars full of wasted meatheads? Is the social climate really conservative?
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,903 posts, read 5,742,509 times
Reputation: 418
Houghton/Hancock aren't Cool Cities USA, although the downtown isn't entirely dead. If you're used to the Northland, it might be possible to do worse.

If you like skiing, coal mining, and drinking, Houghton fits the bill perfectly.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:40 PM
 
Location: L.A.
5 posts, read 35,958 times
Reputation: 12
Thumbs up Reply to Houghton query

Since my family is from the area, some still live there, and I just returned from a short visit, here is more info for you:

Xenophobic? No, just a small town, not uber-religious, and thanks to the universities, more diversity than when it was a mining town.

Locals mostly are friendly, it's very safe everywhere and gorgeous scenery. Winters are brutal and long, though. Job market is tight, which is the only real problem.

It's become very touristy these days, so you'd probably meet a mix of people due to the never-ending tourist season.

There is a great restaurant called The Library that you will love (with a very modern menu) and a coffee shop called Cyberia with 'net access. And, yep - there is a Super Wal-Mart, but it was needed.

You will have some cell-phone issues in the more isolated areas.

Not much info on nightlife that I know of though, it used to be hopping at Uphill 41...sorry to say, I think you'd need to drive to Marquette (maybe) for nightclubs. There are more restaurant/bars or bars rather than nightclubs, I think.

It's a unique area, more or less have to make your own fun/look for fun. Personally, I love it and may move there myself.

Do a trip and visit first...vibe it out. Hope that helps
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
78 posts, read 261,307 times
Reputation: 50
Default Houghton is Great for Academics

First of all, I don't think you can really compare Dickinson to Houghton. So don't let that bad experience unduly negate your decision to move to Houghton.

Houghton's pop. is about 7k, add in Hancock and it's about 12k. The entire county is about 35k.

Michigan Tech's enrollment is about 6600 -- undergrads and grads. Add in almost 1000 staff and another 400 faculty, and you'll see that MTU pretty much dominates the landscape.

While most of the staff are locals, the students and faculty by-and-large are not. It's safe to surmise, then, coming up to Houghton you'd be mingling with almost 7000 people who aren't from the area. I can personally assure you that they were once new-comers, and will make every effort to make you feel at home while at Tech. I'd bet someone will ask you to join them at the Keweenaw Brewing Company within your first ten days.

Bottom-line: You may not fit in with the locals right away, but the MTU Community is sufficiently large to compensate.

Your wife may have a problem finding employment, especially if her she's on an esoteric career path. I'd suggest talking to a faculty advisor or someone from your dept to see if they can help her land a job. (Similiarly, they can help you find a rental home).

If you are into skiing, hiking, biking, hunting or fishing you'll find yourself in paradise. But Houghton has other things to offer, too. The Rosza Ctr on the Tech campus hosts concerts and plays during the academic year. MTU's Hockey Huskies finished around the .500 mark last year, and are primed to be a real contendor in their WCHA conference.

One problem with Houghton is it's isolation from. . . everything. There are daily flights to The Cities, but nearest freeway is almost 200 miles away (north of Green Bay).

PM me if you have any more questions.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
78 posts, read 261,307 times
Reputation: 50
Default Houghton's Meatheads

Sorry, I missed a couple of your questions.

MTU is quite rigorous academically, so although some undergrads stray to the bars, most are studious. There isn't that kind of bar-scene you'd find at some of the Big 10 schools. However, Houghton attracts a lot of snowmobilers, and they can be meat-headish - but they don't tend toward the downtown Houghton scene. (Rather, they head for the taverns nearer trail access).

The aforementioned Super Wal-Mart has created some satellite development that's combined to put a bit of dent in downtown Houghton. But the city is the county seat and pretty much the only thing going in 100-mile radius. I'd say the downtown is about 80% +/- occupied. (Including the KBC, the Library, a bookstore, a couple of diners -you gotta get a pastie at the Suomi Cafe.)

Is Houghton conservative? Well, probably more so than other college towns but not as much as comparably-sized small towns. Our State Sen. and Rep. are both Dems, as is our US Congressman. I think the county split about 50-50 in the last Pres. election. You will see many more NRA than GLAAD bumperstickers, if that's any indication.
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Michigan
500 posts, read 1,294,014 times
Reputation: 442
As long as you're married, you'll do fine. Houghton is a terrible place to be a single male grad student. The student body is 70% male, and there aren't very many available local women. Aside from that, it's not a bad place to be at all. What program are you looking at?

I was gonna make a joke about the guys there dating Miss Michigan but I thought better of it.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Saginaw, MI
736 posts, read 1,755,526 times
Reputation: 242
Go to the Ambassador.....good pizza
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,903 posts, read 5,742,509 times
Reputation: 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuebor View Post
As long as you're married, you'll do fine. Houghton is a terrible place to be a single male grad student. The student body is 70% male, and there aren't very many available local women. Aside from that, it's not a bad place to be at all. What program are you looking at?

I was gonna make a joke about the guys there dating Miss Michigan but I thought better of it.
I received a negative rating on my above comment, which was written with the facts (such as that you mention) in mind. Houghton is not unsafe, dirty, dangerous, etc but there are downsides. Seriously people, grow a pair, or Bigfoot will eat you for dinner. (Bigfoot is in the Keweenaw, not Ann Arbor ... no matter how many New Jersey people assert so.)

There's nothing sarcastic about my original reply: if you fit the "I love the winter outdoors and don't mind sitting inside with a heater on flipping through dusty library books otherwise" bill, and shopping at the one or two big box stores in town for your Saturday Night Fever ... it is not a bad place.

It is small, because not many people like that kind of life, but it's a purist conception of the life for those that do. I could handle Marquette for a job ... Marquette Mountain is better than Mont Ripley anyway (uh oh, gonna get negative rep ratings on this )!
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