Tag Archives: Marquette

Native American Student Association’s Annual Pow Wows

Last week, NMU hosted its 24th annual “Learning to Walk Together” traditional Pow Wow. The Pow wow starts off with the grand entry and flag song, followed by the veterans’ honor song. The Pow wows also consist of a variety of male and female traditional dances such as jingle dress and grass dance, as well as social dances such as the inter-tribal, round dance and two-step. Accompanied by songs and other performances. Crafts, reference materials, and food can all be found at the artisan and vendor booths as well.

The archives has many photographs and articles related to the pow wow over the years. Here are some photographs:


Photo of a tribe member dancing from the 1994 pow wow


Photo of a tribe member from the 1993 pow wow


Photo of a tribe member from the 1993 pow wow


Written by Libby Serra


Collection Spotlight: Postcard Collection

This week we would like to highlight our collection of postcards from Northern, Marquette, and the UP. The postcards date from as early as the turn of the century and contain some fascinating scenes. Many also have messages written on them. Below are some of our favorites:


An image from Calumet, MI of a tunnel leading to a store, year unknown.


A sculpture of snow and ice made in Marquette, MI in the 1940s.



The view up Front Street in 1909 with a message from travellers in the UP on the back.



An image of Washington Street from around 1909 with a message from a Northern student to a friend or relative in Ontonagon.


A postcard depicting Northern State Normal, ca. 1900-1930.



A postcard advertisement for Northern’s summer session, ca. 1923.



A postcard from 1907 depicting Northern.


A postcard from the early 1920s depicting Northern’s bizarre Elementary Swedish Exercises class.


Northern’s bowling alley, year unknown. The bowling alley was where the bookstore is now.



An image advertising the Upper Peninsula, year unknown.

Come in and check out the rest of the postcard collection! Our schedule for the winter semester is Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Location Spotlight: Sugarloaf Mountain

As you know, this past weekend was Labor Day weekend. Students, locals, and other tourists will have been enjoying the great outdoors last weekend and this upcoming weekend. Among all the places to enjoy spending time outside, Sugarloaf Mountain is arguably the most popular in the vicinity. With how close it is to town, the ease of access to people of multiple skill levels, the quick hike time to the top, and its breathtaking views, it’s no wonder the climb is so well-frequented. Do you know the story of the monument at the top? That it had fallen into disregard, was trashy, and mothers even chose not to take their children up Sugarloaf? I’ll fill you in on a bit of the history of the mountain from various documents at the archives.

Sugarloaf Mountain has been a beloved spot to hike since at least 1900, and most likely earlier. One thing that most people probably don’t know much about is the story behind the stone monument at the top of the peak. It was constructed by Boy Scout Troop #1, the first Boy Scout Troop in the nation, in dedication to former member and esteemed friend Bart King. Bart (Alanson Bartlett King) was born in 1894, grew up in Marquette, and was an original member of the Boy Scout Troop #1, which grew up hiking, camping, scouting, and reading maps. Bart was a friend, debater, hard worker, and natural artist, drawing and painting “colorful futuristic designs as well as capturing the familiar faces of those he most admired in warmly penciled illustrations” (Bothwell 2). Bart graduated Northern State Normal School (now NMU) with a Life Certificate in Education by age 20 and taught in Thompson, MI, a “tough U.P. logging town routinely avoided by most college graduates” (Bothwell 2). After teaching and running his one-roomed school for three years, Bart enlisted into the Army along with all the rest of the original Boy Scout Troop #1. He earned the rank of master sergeant and refused further promotion in order to stay with his friends. He fought bravely in France amidst terrible battles and awful conditions in an engineering unit. Sadly, Bart died of pneumonia, the only one from the original troop to not return home. He was nominated for France’s croix de guerre (the War Cross), but did not live to receive it. Upon being brought home by his companions in 1921, he was reburied in Park Cemetery.

Later that summer, Troop #1 met and began the long process of finding rocks and moving them up the mountain, a process that would take through November. In addition to all of the stone, the troop “hauled over 100 bags of sand, 3,000 pounds of cement and lumber, and tons of rock,” where “each day the boys made ten or twelve trips to the summit.” Talk about dedication! Aided by a Marquette stonemason, the boys finished the 12 foot high monument in November of 1921. Although the monument has been buffeted by winter’s winds, had stones chiseled out of it, and has even been struck by lightning, it still stands today as a remembrance and honor to Bart.

This information was all found from an article written by Henry Bothwell, which is in the Rudi Prusok papers (MSS-011). Bart and his memorial are pictured below:


Later, Sugarloaf became an undesirable place to visit. Multiple accounts report large amounts of trash present, vandalism on the rocks at the top, including paint, and young people performing “activities better unseen.” Over these years though, the Exchange Club and the local Boy Scout Troop #1 continued to volunteer and put in innumerable hours to clean and maintain the area. It got to be such a problem that groups like the “Citizens to Save the Superior Shoreline” researched the real owners of the land on which Sugarloaf lies. It was found that the land encompassing Sugarloaf belonged to the Marquette County Road Commission, who didn’t know that they owned it. The job of policing the area was the responsibility of the Marquette Sheriff’s Office, but their office was “unable to cope with the problem.” So, an idea was proposed to form a committee of “ecology-minded citizens, Northern Michigan University students, and Marquette High school groups” to focus on the cleanup of the area. Two NMU students were chosen to help lead a clean-up day event at Sugarloaf Mountain, focusing on picking up every piece of trash present. The results can be seen pictured below:



After this success, groups and individuals have continued to preserve the popular hiking destination. It has returned to its original beauty as shown below. The brass plate has been restored to the monument, and the area is as wonderful as could be. To learn more about this story and others, feel free to stop down and visit us here at the archives! Our open hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Have a good weekend!


View off of Sugarloaf as of now with Presque Isle in the background. Photo by Stefan Nelson.


Written by Stefan Nelson

City of Ishpeming Records: Ishpeming and World War II

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the country went to war. Along with countless other communities, the city of Ishpeming suddenly had to deal with restrictions, rationing, and more. The committee reports from the years 1942-1944 give an interesting look at just some of the problems and challenges the Common Council had to face.

One of the very first items was the purchase of a roadway snow removal unit. In a letter to the Common Council on December 9, 1941, the Board of Public Works held a special meeting and placed an order for a Model LRT Snogo. The Board had met on December 2nd, but deferred action due to questions on the suitability. On the 9th, the questions were quickly cleared up. “To comply with National Defense priority restrictions, the immediate placing of this order was imperative, if we were to obtain delivery before March, 1942.” This was not the usual order of business, as approval was needed prior to placing the order, but as the board stated: “Trusting that your Board’s action in this matter, under the circumstances, will meet with the concurrence and approval of your Honorable Body.”

At the regular meeting of the Common Council on October 8, 1941 the council wanted the citizens to vote on whether or not they wanted a change in the form of government. A resolution was to be adopted at the February meeting and voted upon at the annual April election. However, the resolution that did come out of the Common Council stated “those actively interested in the promotion of the idea of a new charter or a new form of government are now actively engaged in war work and other defense activities and such work will undoubtedly increase in the future….giving said citizens little time to devote to this project.” The question of a new style of city government would be postponed “until some future election.”

In March of 1942, the Common Council recommended the purchase of $6,000 in Series G Defense Bonds. Their reasoning was that “said investment will yield the City 2 ½% per annum instead of the 1% which it now receives, and it being to the interests of the City of Ishpeming to do so…”The monies came from the Cemetery Trust fund.

In a June 1942 report to the Common Council the Board of Public Works addressed a citizen’s petition for grading and surfacing on several streets in the 6th ward. Part of the board’s response stated: “Since governmental restrictions no longer permit the use of railroad cars for delivery of paving asphalt or tarvis, it would be impossible at this time to comply with the request for tar surfacing.” Grading of the streets in question would have to suffice.

Also in June of 1942 comes a report from the Board of Public Works regarding street signs. The report stated: “Compliance of this idea would involve the purchase of signs and standards or posts upon which to attach them, metal in both cases being most practical and slightly. Because of current governmental restrictions upon use of steel and other metals, it is improbable that such metal material could now be purchased.” A further report dated July 7th stated “Enquiries have been made by your Board of Public Works of many manufacturers and dealers in such signs, and replies from six leaders in these specialties state that they are now unable to supply such, and are aware of no foreseeable future date on which they could promise delivery.” The issue of street signs would be dropped until governmental regulations were withdrawn.

Both of the past two reasons were used to answer John Koski’s request for a culvert to fix his driveway. “Due to governmental restrictions on both steel material and railroad car transport facilities, culverts cannot now be purchased for road uses. “

A letter from the Social Security Board of the United States Employment Service highlighted a problem with recruiting war production employees. Some prospective employees were reluctant to leave their current positions as they were afraid of losing their seniority or service rights. Since the country desperately needed workers for war production and since many of those highly skilled tradesmen were employed by cities and other governmental agencies, the SS board asked the Common Council to adopt a policy of protecting seniority rights for any workers who wished to work at full time defense or war work. The Board of Public Works, Cemetery Board, and Library Board had no objection to the adoption of such a policy.

Even something as simple as the installation of a street light was subject to additional paperwork! A citizen petition asking for a street light on Salisbury Street got the following response from the Michigan Gas and Electric Company. “We have investigated the possibility of installing a street light on Salisbury Street, and are quite sure that it can be done without any pole installation or line extension, as the circuits are already on the pole where the lamp will be installed. However, formal application will have to be made to the War Production Board, and we are quite sure permission will be granted for its installation.”

Changes were made at city hall. There was a special meeting of the Common Council in July of 1942 to act on bids for the remodeling of two rooms in the basement of city hall for use as headquarters for the Civilian Defense Council.

There were some positive things to come out of all the restrictions. In August, the Common Council had to deal with a petition from city workers asking for an increase in wages. The Board of Public Works had this to report to the Common Council. “In regard to that part of the petition covering wage and salary increases, it should be remembered that this request was not made in time for, nor was any financial means provided for, meeting such an additional expenditures in the City Budget for year 1942. However, due to war restrictions on material preventing further street improvements and other work provided for, your Board, after careful consideration, concluded that it could be arranged to grant an increase of approximately 10% in wages and salaries.”

The war time restrictions did have an impact on safety, especially when it came to trains. A letter to the Common Council dated February 1, 1943 stated “I wish to make a plea for a Safety Signal at the Third Street Railroad crossing in behalf of any person or persons who must pass this crossing at night. I had a very close call there recently as the Streamliner approached the city. Who knows who may be next – perhaps one of you – and it may not be merely a close call, it may be fatal.” This was a letter that the Common Council took seriously as shown in the March 3, 1943 report from the City Attorney.

“The railroad people (representatives of Duluth. South Shore & Atlantic and Chicago & Northwestern) pointed out that due to present regulations, it was impossible for them to furnish any additional crossing protection by furnishing additional watchmen since they were now short of manpower as it was, and are having difficulty in even maintaining their present watchmen service. That it was further impossible to furnish flashing signals at these crossings due to shortage of material and the refusal of the Government to release such equipment for such purpose.” In short “The Committee regrets that there apparently is nothing that can be done to relieve this situation at the present time.”

After further investigation into the matter, which included researching the cost of flasher signals at several of the intersections in the city, a report from the Committee on Street Lighting to the Common Council stated, “We would recommend that no action be taken on the installation of these signals at this time, as the committee feels that the railway companies are the ones who should furnish the protection to all traffic over their crossings.”

Remodeling of City Hall in 1943 required “War Production Board authority to proceed with the remodeling of the City Hall.”

In October of 1943, the Common Council received a resolution from the Wakefield City Commission asking the government to increase the meat ration allotment for miners and lumbermen. The resolution stated, “Whereas, because of their arduous tasks a more nutritious diet is necessary than that which can be obtained at present due to rationing restrictions, and Whereas it is deemed necessary that a larger allotment of meat be made available to each person so engaged in order that a diet consistent with the amount of energy expended daily be adequately provided.” The resolution was forwarded to each community in the Upper Peninsula, although there is no indication in the reports if the allotment was ever increased.

By 1944, there was little mention of World War II in the Committee reports. Whether this was due to an easing of restrictions or to some other factor is not mentioned. One cause for this may be changes in the city government. The postponement of the city charter issue mentioned earlier only lasted several months as the question surfaced again in the summer of 1942. A special election in September of 1942 showed that residents did want the charter rewritten and did not want the current aldermanic form of government. Once the charter was rewritten, the city council size went from 20 alderman (one for each ward) and a mayor to 9 council members, elected at large, and one mayor. In addition, the city, for the first time in its history, hired a city manager. There were not as many committees and not as many reports were generated. The end of World War II is not even mentioned in the Committee Reports.

Come see these reports for yourself at the archives! We are open Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Tuesday/Thursday 10 AM-7 PM.

Written by Karen Kasper

Collection Spotlight: Marquette County Coroner’s Reports

We recently finished indexing our Marquette County Coroner’s Reports, making them far more accessible and easier to search. They run from 1872 and through 1986. The reports were produced for murders or suspicious deaths, as well as for suicides, mining and other industrial accidents, and sudden illnesses.

Here are a selection of some of the coroner’s reports:


The most typical type of coroner’s report: a mining accident. Joseph Maletto died due to a fall of ground in the Lake Superior Mine in Ishpeming on August 12, 1898.


Another typical coroner’s report: Michael Fitzgerald fell from the ore dock and drowned.


This report from 1900 is the first mention of someone dying by electrocution in Marquette County, in this case due to a telephone wire.


Here we have one of the rarest forms of coroner’s reports: a murder. The middle line was obscured by a fold in the paper, but the full cause of death reads that Harrison Howard came to his death “by blows struck by a rock in the hands of Jacob Brown and delivered by him which caused the death of Harrison Howard.”

The coroner’s reports often also contains transcripts of testimonies and autopsies. Here is the first page of the testimony for the Harrison Howard case:


The testimonies go on to reveal that Harrison was a crippled salesman traveling with Jacob and John Brown, a father and son from Ohio looking for work in the UP. Harrison mentioned how much money he had in the bank to Jacob Brown ($350) and showed him his certificate that would allow him to withdraw the money. Jacob then killed him on the side of the road in the middle of  a stormy night. Jacob threatened to kill his sixteen year old son John as well, but did not. John eventually made his way to the police and told them what had occurred.

The coroner’s reports are obviously of use to genealogists. However, they are also a rich mine of information about life in Marquette County throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The index gives a brief description of the cause of death for each person, so you can search it by exact name or by type of death. They are also just fascinating to look at, and they are all open to the public! You can stop in and look at them at any time. (Note: we keep them at our off-site storage location, so we will need up to 24 hour’s notice to pull a report).

The Coroner’s Index can be accessed on the Genealogical Resources page on our website. To learn more about the coroner’s reports, or other collections that we possess, e-mail us at archives@nmu.edu or come in Monday through Friday from 8 AM-5 PM.

Written by Annika Peterson

Happy Archives Month!

October 1st was Ask an Archivist day on Twitter (#AskAnArchivist). We had multiple people and groups that tweeted questions and comments to us. People asked about alumni at NMU, current projects the Archives is working on, and our favorite photographs of previous strikes in Marquette County. Here are a few of the pictures that we posted on Ask an Archivist day:

blog pic 1In December of 1968, the Black Student Union sat in at an NMU basketball game to protest unfair treatment of African American students by NMU security police among other concerns.

blog pic 2USWA strike April 25, 1946 at the Mather Mine in Ishpeming. Singer Paul Robeson happened to be in Marquette for a performance and came to support the strikers.

blog pic 31949 Gossard Factory strike picket line. The Gossard was a factory in Ishpeming, MI which made bras and underwear. Other than the mines, it was the main employer in Ishpeming in the first half of the twentieth century.

We have multiple events coming up later in October to celebrate Archives month.

October 15th at 6:30/7 PM: Archives Open House and Evening at the Archives: The Embezzling Bishop: The renovations at the Archives are finally complete! To celebrate, we will be holding an open house before our Evening at the Archives event. Come get a tour of the Archives, including our processing area and stacks which are normally closed to the public.

The presentation will begin at 7 PM. Elizabeth Oliver, one of our Magnaghi visiting scholars over the summer, will present on Hayward Ablewhite, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan in the 1930s who went to jail for embezzlement. In a bizarre twist of events, he worked at the Ford Foundation after his release from jail. Refreshments will be provided.

Embezzling Bishop PosterPoster for the upcoming Evening at the Archives event.

October 29th at 7 PM: Dr. Chet Defonso will speak on the role of Archives in documenting LGBT history. He will also discuss materials related to LGBT history here at the NMU Archives. Refreshments will be provided. We’ll keep you posted with more details about the event as we have them.

Edit: Please note: this posting previously contained an announcement for a screening of the movie Anatomy of a Murder on November 1. Due to complications, we have cancelled the event for this semester but do plan on hosting a screening next semester. Check our blog and Facebook for upcoming announcements regarding this event!

Happy Archives Month everyone!

Labor Day Weekend Spotlight: Iron Workers Local 783

The fall semester is well underway, but there is still one last holiday weekend before the real grind begins: Labor Day. In addition to enjoying the outdoors and grilling hamburgers, one longstanding Michigan tradition is the annual walk across the Mackinac Bridge. For almost sixty years, curious and adventurous residents from above and below the bridge partake in the event.

Especially on the eve of such a holiday, we should not forget the iron workers who risked their life to create one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.
During the construction of the Mackinac Bridge, iron workers banded together to form Iron Workers Local 783 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron Workers. After much planning, Marquette’s local chapter was officially installed on November 23, 1957 just three weeks after the Mackinac Bridge opened to motorists. The NMU Archives is lucky enough to have a collection, MSS-24, which documents the creation and administration of Local 783.

sarapiconeA copy of the original 1957 union agreement.

The original charter says roughly 70 men signed the original charter as founding members of the chapter. In addition, this folder also contains a letter from the General Treasurer which outlines the initial funds supplied to the chapter, Due and Benefit Stamps (100 each) for paying members, and confirmation that Local 783’s seal was officially on order. (Box One, Folder 10).

In a copy of the 1964 approved union bylaws, monthly dues were $6.00 a month for journeymen and $5.00 a month for apprenticeship members. The bylaws also carefully outline election procedures for officers, how the revenue from union dues would be used, and how worksite stewards must be placed on each job immediately (Box One, Folder 7).

sarapictwoThe first of two books which document meeting minutes.

In addition to the original charter list and the bylaws, the collection also contains meeting minutes, financial and benefit records, and election information. The records span from the chapters founding in 1957 to 1994 when the Local 783 merged with Local 8. In addition to these union records, you may also be interested in Sheet Metal Workers Local 94 (MSS-044), UAW Local 2178 (MSS-104), and UPIU Local 209, 110, and 21 (MSS-094) manuscript collections.

As we celebrate Labor Day this weekend, let us remember those who fought for early labor rights in America. For more on our collections, including more records pertaining to the labor movement in the UP, please visit our collections website here.

Blog written by Sara Kiszka