Tag Archives: UP

Person Spotlight: Norman “Boots” Kakuk

Norman “Boots” Kukuk grew up here in Marquette, Michigan. Growing up, he always had a penchant for sports, especially hockey. In his four years at Northern State Teachers College, Boots earned three varsity letters for football and track and field, while continuing to play hockey for the Marquette Sentinels and maintaining his grades. He held the record for pole vault until 1939 and also earned a gold track shoe for javelin in 1940. In 1939, Boots was recommended to try out for the United States Olympic Hockey Team, but the start of World War II the following year put an end to those hopes. Interestingly, family lore claims that Adolf Hitler actually invited Boots to play hockey against the German team, but Boots’ father destroyed the letter the day he got it.

Upon graduation from Northern State Teachers College, Marquette public schools employed Boots as an Industrial Arts teacher and as a track and football coach. In 1941, Boots considered trying out for the Chicago Blackhawks or the Cleveland Barons Professional Hockey Clubs but was drafted into the army. He entered the U.S. Navy’s flight program on November 24, 1941. Boots was awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Heroism Medal in August of 1944. He also earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Air Medals during his time in the Navy.

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After the War, Boots returned to Marquette and became the Director of Recreation for the City of Marquette. He accomplished a great many things during his time as director, such as installing the first artificial ice plant in the Palestra, the indoor community ice rink. In addition, Boots managed all of the city’s recreational programs, such as sporting events and festivals. Despite all this work, Boots still found the time to play hockey with the Marquette Sentinels for several more years before finally retiring his jersey.

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Sand being laid down on the floor in the making of the ice rink in the Palestra.

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Getting ready for the Annual Ice Carnival.

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Hockey Team on ice rink, year unknown.

If you’d like to learn more about Norman “Boots” Kakuk or our other collections, come on in to the Archives, give us a call (906-227-1225) or send us an email (archives@nmu.edu) and we’ll be happy to help you!

(This post was written by Grace Menter)

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Day in the Life Spotlight: The Film Projector Cont.

Continuing with our past blog post’s theme of a Day in the Life Spotlight, I’d like to build on the continuing saga of the Film Reel Projector.

It was a cold week in October. I was given the task of training our new digitization assistant on setting up the Film Reel Projector, like so many digitization student workers before me. I had a feeling I’d met this “Reel Projector” before… But upon seeing it, without mental preparation, I became lost in the procedural nuances (cords swept deep under desks; parts put away, out of sight). This Projector setup procedure had been cracked before, but our initial figuring out of how to set it up was a real brainteaser! Like Kyleigh said two weeks ago, it took at least 45 minutes.

Here’s a haiku about the experience-

Projector’s Corner

Wires tangle up in my head

Can’t connect nada

We got it to run, but we still didn’t get it to connect to our computer and record through that. So we were back figuring it out again Friday the week after and finally we figured it out.

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Discovered new cord

Hmm is this the place for thing?

Victory, at LAST

So all’s well. Now, we have a new task at hand. One which we will enthusiastically take up for the sake of future Digitization student workers. Justice will be served to Projector (AKA we’ll be writing up more detailed instructions).

(This post was written by Lydia Henning)

Person Feature: New Student Assistants!

For this week’s blog post, all of us here at the Archives would like to welcome our new staff members! As is customary, we’ll highlight our new hires for you all.

Emily Wros will be one of two AAUP Specialists. The AAUP (American Association of University Professors) records collection is being merged with the Academic Senate records, in a large time-consuming project sponsored by a grant that our resident University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, received. Emily is a junior with a History Major at NMU. She hopes to work as a librarian or an archivist in the future.

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Our other AAUP Specialist is Eliza Compton. Eliza is a freshman with a Secondary Education- Social Studies major and double minoring in Secondary Education- Spanish, and Secondary Education- English.

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Lucas will be our Records Center Specialist, a title formerly held by Stefan (now Number One #11). He will be assisting Marcus with accessioning and other various projects out at the University Records Center- our other records storage facility. Lucas is a junior, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Environmental Studies.

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Kyleigh Sapp will be joining Lydia and Libby as another digitization specialist. Kyleigh is a sophomore with an International Studies Major, from Hudsonville, Michigan. Her interests include learning Spanish, watching random documentaries on YouTube and Netflix, and making food with friends. She is excited to see what she can learn from working at the Archives.

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Check out the Meet the Staff page on NMU Archives website to learn more about our new employees! Welcome Kyleigh, Emily, Eliza, and Lucas!

(This post was written by Libby Serra and Stefan Nelson).

Collection Feature: The Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books

Shimmering on the horizon about 12 miles north of Marquette, Granite Island is a windswept, desolate outcrop of rock raising about 60 feet above the surface of Lake Superior. Looking something like an overturned boat or the conning tower of a modern day submarine, the Ojibwe Indians aptly named the island Na-Be-Quon (canoe with a hump). By the end of the Civil War, the Island had become a serious threat to the numerous sail and steam ships serving the expanding iron ore mines and bustling town of Marquette. Recognizing the peril, in 1865 Congress approved funds for a lighthouse on the Island, and the following year the state of Michigan condemned the property and seized it by right of eminent domain. Construction began in 1868, and the lighthouse became operational in 1869 with the arrival of its first two keepers.
Granite Island Lighthouse_1904In 1999, NMU alum and chair of the NMU Board of Trustees, Scott Holman, purchased
Granite Island from the U.S. Coast Guard and began a long and expensive process of renovation. This past summer, he loaned the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives photocopies of the Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books maintained by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The original log books are part of the historical records of the U.S. Coast Guard and document lighthouse operations from 1901 to 1937. The keeper or assistant keeper made daily entries concerning maritime events, work around the lighthouse, and special visits. They would also note weather conditions and report on the visibility of the signal light during periods of poor inclement weather.

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The Keeper’s Log Books offer a partial glimpse into the rugged, isolated, and largely
mundane life of the Granite Island Lighthouse keeper and his assistant. Entries are mainly colorless iterations of the same general work activities, such as scrubbing floors or chopping wood, punctuated from time-to- time with accounts of sudden activity, drama, or horror. John Wheatley was the longest serving Granite Island Lighthouse keeper, retiring at the age of 83 after 30 years (1885-1915) in the company of his assistant keeper, annoying seagulls, and wild rhubarb. In 1898, the long suffering Wheatley lost his son to a sudden gale that overturned the young man’s small sail boat in transit to the Island from Marquette. Five years later, the assistant Keeper, John McMartin, launched the station’s boat on a routine supply run to Marquette. As McMartin rounded the southern tip of the island, Wheatley watched helplessly as rough seas smashed the boat into the jagged rocks, drowning McMartin. His body was never found. Despitethe horror of the incident, Wheatley’s laconic prose for October 2, 1903, departs little insubstance or emotion from all his previous prosaic entries about daily life on the rock.

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Regardless of Wheatley’s stoic powers of observation, the Keeper’s Log Books actually
document the most active and expansive period in the history of the Granite Island Lighthouse. Over the next thirty years, the Coast Guard constructed, among many other improvements, a new seawall; rebuilt the boathouse and relocated it to a more sheltered spot; and built steel boat ways on the north side of the island. In October 1901, a work crew arrived to build a new boat house and lay walkways around the island. Rough weather and seas made boat landings and work often hazardous, as Wheatley’s log entry about the crew’s arrival notes rough weather that included “changeable wind” and “rain squalls.”

Below are some examples of the Keeper’s log book entries.

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Transcription: At 8 AM Mr. J. McMartin went to boat houses got boat and started to sail it round to south side of island by [circling] [preparatory] to going to Marquette. Fierce wind from NE. Sea caught boat and dashed it against front of rocks; boat smashed to [pieces] and Mr. J. McMartin was drowned. Nothing was seen of body.

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Entry for October 3, 1903, documenting the arrival of a work crew to begin construction of a boathouse and walkway around the island. Note the arrival of the steamer USS Amaranth. This steamer continued to service the island well into the 1930s.

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Entry for July 25, 1926, noting an unusual social visit by a family from Marquette.

The Archives has created digital copies of the Granite Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Log Books and plans to make them available online as soon as possible. In the meantime, NMU alumni and the general public are welcome to visit the Archives anytime during our open hours, or contact the University Archivist, Marcus Robyns, for more information about the collection.

(This post was written by the Archivist, Marcus Robyns).

 

Historical Spotlight: Evolution and Name Updates of NMU

I worked this summer sorting through old undigitized historical photographic negatives about the University.  I came across this photo and loved the simple story and message:

In the beginning, we weren’t a university- we were Northern State Normal in 1899. In 1927, we became Northern State Teachers College. We then turned to Northern Michigan College of Education in 1942. Second-to-lastly, some of our alumni might have gone to our school and known it by this name: Northern Michigan College, or NMC. In the late 1950s, construction of the Mackinac Bridge was completed.

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In March 1963, NMC became NMU. This blog poster (me) believes that the bridge uniting the two peninsulas of Michigan lead to an increase of people living in the lower peninsula taking interest in and attending the College. Thus, the size of the college got big enough to permit another name change. Which brings us to the name currently held: Northern Michigan University.

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Also! A bit on an interesting recent campus events: This past Friday (September 8th) was the  Sonderegger Symposium Friday, which annually highlights the Upper Peninsula’s history! It is free of charge. This years’ Symposium included scholarly presentations about the UP’s life and culture, where lunch and refreshments were provided throughout the day. We hope all who attended enjoyed! We apologize for the slight delay in the publishing of the blog post, the next one will be on schedule this upcoming Friday September 15th.

(This post was written by Lydia Henning)

Collection Spotlight: Local 1477 Superior Grange Patrons of Husbandry Records

The Superior Grange local no. 1477 Patrons of Husbandry was an agricultural group located in Sands Township in the Upper Peninsula. However, the Superior Grange of the U.P. is but one unit in a larger organization called the National Grange. Founded in 1867, “The Grange is a family, community organization with its roots in agriculture,” according to the National Grange website. The Patrons of Husbandry were, historically speaking, farmers and their families who were involved in their community in order to improve life for everyone. However, the Superior Grange wasn’t always as accepting as they would paint themselves.

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Record types we have in this collection include song books, bylaws, correspondence, junior patron manuals, catalogs, membership applications, and member rosters. It can be found on our online database Archives Space under M17-32.20170901_115538

To find out more, come visit the Central Upper Peninsula Archives, located in room 126 of the Learning Resources Center on NMU’s Campus. The Archives has the Superior Grange’s records in house should anyone come calling. Feel free to contact us at archives@nmu.edu or give us a call at 906-227-1225.

This post was written by Grace Menter

Collection Spotlight: Hiawatha Festival Record

The Hiawatha Music Co-op will be holding its 39th annual music festival July 21-23 this year in its usual location of the Marquette Tourist Park. Featuring traditional Upper Peninsula Music, the Co-op seeks to promote learning and understanding through music. The very first festival was held in Champion, Michigan in 1979, but in 1984 it was moved to Tourist Park, here in Marquette MI. Every year about three to four thousand people come together to share experiences and listen to great music. This year the headliners have not been announced yet, but they always include local names and faces as well as many well-known musicians.

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In addition to putting on the music festival each year for 39 consecutive years, the Hiawatha Music Co-op also sponsors many other local musicians and puts on other music festivals throughout the year. Recently the Co-op has been partnering with the U.P. Beaumier Heritage Center to put on events for the local community. If you’re interested and would like to know more, you can visit their website at: https://hiawathamusic.org/, or you can come down to the NMU Archives as we just received all of their records! As a note though, the records are unprocessed (unorganized), but are still open for viewing. With the end of the school semester at NMU fast approaching, our hours will be changing slightly during the summer- starting Monday May 8- from 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday (instead of being open until 7:00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays).

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This post was written by Grace Mentor.