Superior History

Camp Sidnaw: German POWs in the U.P.

More than 370,000 German prisoners of war were housed in the United States in the final years of World War II. Approximately 1,100 were kept in five remote camps in the Upper Peninsula, near Au Train, Mass, Raco, Sidnaw, and Wetmore. German POWs supplied manpower for the local lumber industry. ...

Michigamme devastated by fire in 1873

“The confusion, the agony of the women and children, and the terror of the whole community, cannot be described. Men rushed wildly toward their houses to save their wives and children, women shrieked for aid, and children wailed for help which did not seem available.” ...

City official shot in the line of duty

MARQUETTE — Robert Hume was born in Ontario, Canada, and came to Marquette as a child in the 1860s. His first job was with at the city of Marquette as the first sexton at Park Cemetery, beginning in 1886. He worked with Peter White, the park commissioner to shape the look of the cemetery over ...

Capt. Bendry was quite a fellow

James “Captain Jim” Bendry was born in Wiltshire, England in June 1822 but he didn’t stay there long. At just 12 years old he signed on as a cabin boy on a merchant ship that sailed in the Mediterranean. Over the years he also worked on Atlantic routes between Liverpool, New Orleans, the ...

Local reading group to meet

MARQUETTE — The Transition Marquette County Reading Group will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Dandelion Cottage Room of Peter White Public Library to discuss “Sustaining Lake Superior” by Michigan Tech University professor Nancy Langston. Lake Superior has a fascinating history, ...

Superior History

“In the first eight or ten years of my experiences in Marquette, the flight of pigeons in the spring was a feature of life here. Everyone turned out with shot-guns.” — John M. Longyear In 1833, renowned ornithologist John James Audubon, identified the passenger pigeon as the most ...

Harvey named for talented engineer

Charles Thompson Harvey (1829-1912) was born in Colchester, Connecticut. His father was Joseph Harvey, outspoken pastor of the affluent Congregational Church of Westchester. His mother was Catherine Desire Seldon Harvey, granddaughter of the famous Colonel Samuel Selden who died from wounds ...

The 1889 typhoid epidemic in Negaunee

During the 19th century, typhoid fever was not uncommon in Upper Peninsula, so when William Prisk, age 20, died in Negaunee on Aug. 26, 1889, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But two weeks later, the paper noted, that while the number of typhoid fever cases in Negaunee was not increasing, ...

A history of Pewabic pottery in the U.P.

St. Peter Cathedral underwent renovations in 2008. The tired rust-colored carpeting was replaced with lovely tiles. During this renovation project, Pewabic pottery tiles were uncovered, possibly dating back to the Cathedral’s restoration after it was damaged by fire in 1935. This was ...

William Washington Gaines and Gaines Rock

For some ex-slaves, the remoteness of the Upper Peninsula represented freedom and the chance for a new life. In the days before railways simplified overland travel, most people came here by ship, and maritime transport was relatively slow and difficult. Bounty hunters who kidnapped suspected ...

The Jones Furnace and the New Process Metal Company

Have you ever noticed the rubble stone and concrete monoliths at the east end of Northern Michigan University’s Jacobetti Center parking lot? They are the remains the Jones Furnace owned by the New Process Metals Company. It was the last of four experimental forges built by John Tyler Jones ...

Women’s snowshoe clubs in the U.P.

In December the Marquette Regional History Center shared an image to our Facebook page titled “It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter.” Look at these ladies enjoying the outdoors! Women’s Snowshoe Club circa 1880s, compliments of the John M. Longyear Library” which was viewed around ...

Seymour Avenue and a strange love story

Place names are the best windows into local history. The mundane hides outrageous stories. A family that once occupied the upper echelon of high society in Marquette is remembered with a short road that runs north from West Washington Street to West Ridge Street. Seymour Avenue is named for ...

The Lake Superior Ice Company

Milk box, coal chute, ice box, mail box, paper box ... two of these remain. Some people vaguely recall the first three and certainly check the fourth and fifth frequently. After last week’s brush with arctic weather we may still be thinking about snow and ice. Historically, having ice to ...

30 years since tragic plane crash

The front page of The Mining Journal on Feb. 1, 1989 had shocking photos of a plane crash, one with smoke still billowing from the wreckage. The headline read “Tanker crash kills 19.” Although the crash happened in Abilene, Texas, the other headline explained why it was front page news in ...

Remember the Adams family

MARQUETTE — Adams Street, which runs north from West Hampton Street and terminates in a dead end just past Blemhuber Avenue, is named for Sidney Adams (1831-1906), an early Marquette pioneer. Born in Herkimer County, New York, Adams’ parents brought him to Rochester, Michigan, when he was ...

1902 Negaunee Mine disaster

There was no mine in the whole Lake Superior mining district which worried the miners more than the Negaunee, located in the city bearing the same name. When opening the shaft in the late 1880s, it was soon discovered that the ore body was beneath a great bowl-shaped basin of quicksand into ...

Spear family shaped harbor history

MARQUETTE — Lake Superior defines Marquette. Our city began as a safe harbor on the south shore of the largest of the Great Lakes. Iron Bay, as our port came to be known, shipped hundreds of millions of tons of iron ore to a rapidly industrializing America. One family arguably did more than ...

Water treatment in Marquette

Early water supply, sanitary waste disposal MARQUETTE — Prior to municipal water, wastewater systems, and indoor plumbing, water use in the home was facilitated through the use of water pitchers and chamber pots. A water pitcher and basin would have been used on a washstand in a bedroom. ...

The story of Christmas

CHRISTMAS — Christmas is a small town in Alger County along M-28, approximately three miles west of Munising. It wasn’t always called Christmas. Ojibwe people used the land that would one day become Christmas as a favorite camping ground in the summer as they migrated to Grand Island ...