Superiorland Yesterdays

EDITOR’S NOTE: Superiorland Yesterdays is prepared by the reference staff at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette.

30 years ago

CRYSTAL FALLS — So what if it isn’t the world’s biggest? The Humungous Fungus brought instant fame to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and that’s more than enough reason to celebrate. At least, that’s how they feel in Crystal Falls, where a three-day Fungus Fest got underway Friday. The affair was inspired by the spring discovery that the woods around this southwestern Upper Peninsula town were home to what scientists said was the largest organism in the world–a fungus roughly the size of 38 football fields. The bloom on the Armillaria bulbosa faded a little in May, when scientists in Washington State claimed the Northwest woods were home to a fungus so big it made its Michigan counterpart look puny. “Our 38-acre mushroom may–or may not–be bigger than the one on Mt. Adams in Washington,” Jeff Syrjanen, who owns the Ben Franklin store in Crystal Falls, said this week. “But a U.S. Forest Service pathologist out there said ours certainly is friendlier than Washington’s, which he said was a dangerous fungus as well as maybe not a single living organism.” The Washington fungus is said to be 1,500 acres in size and covers parts of three counties. “This could be a bad fellow,” Syrjanen said, explaining that the Washington fungus destroys its habitat as it grows and may be harmful to wildlife that eat it. “Our fungus is a friendly one that doesn’t harm anything as it grows, and it’s edible,” said Syrjanen. Crystal Falls’ Mother of All Mushrooms was revealed last April in the British journal Nature. Scientists who found the Iron County fungus said it was between 1,500 and 10,000 years old. Genetic analysis proved it was a single organism.

60 years ago

RAPID RIVER– The annual “poker run” of the Upper Peninsula Chiefs Motorcycle Club has been postponed until next Sunday. The trail ride was originally scheduled last Sunday. It will begin at noon at the Dutch Mill Park, seven miles north of here. George Brown, trail boss, said any motorcyclist is invited to join the trail ride. Prizes will be awarded and lunch served after the cyclists return to the starting point.


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