Copper Country History Linked to by Daily Kos

"Papa is Striking For Us." A children's strike parade in Calumet, Michigan in October of 1913. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Kos.)

“Papa is Striking For Us.” A children’s strike parade in Calumet, Michigan in October of 1913. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Kos.)

The Daily Kos, an online political community that offers news, community involvement, and activism updates, posted an article today about early twentieth century labor conflicts, with a special feature on the 1913 Copper Strike. A labor parade organized by Big Annie, that included hundreds of striking miners’ children, took place on the streets of Calumet. The Calumet News reported that the children were themselves upon a strike when roughly 500 young students didn’t show up for school.[1]

In addition to the Daily Kos making mention of the 1913 Copper Strike, it also quoted directly from a previous post from this site, so this blog has seen a huge upsurge in traffic today. Solidarity!

[1] The Calumet News, October 7, 2013




Rear view of the Quincy Number 2 steam hoist in Hancock. (Photo Taken by Lindsay Hiltunen, February 2013)

2013 is a big year for Copper Country history.  Heritage sites, the local universities, local museums, and many different community groups are gearing up for the centennial of the 1913-1914 Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike as well as the centennial of the Italian Hall Tragedy.  The MTU Archives has started a blog and is hard at work planning commemorative events, including a traveling exhibit panel which is making its way to various sites.  Local historians, professors, and authors are planning talks, lectures, and even conferences.  Keweenaw National Historical Park has a broad range of activities in the works for this summer.  Finn Fest is also coming back to Hancock this year.  I can’t think of a better year to move home or a better historical experience to partake in.  Commemorative events for the strike centennial will bring many people together through stories, experiences, public history, and collective remembrance.

Although this site has been quiet over the past year I am happy to say 2013 will be an active year for Copper Country History.  In addition to helping to document upcoming events, I am happy to say there has also been a recent revival of scholarship relating to the strike.  Dr. Aaron Goings and MTU PhD Student Gary Kaunonen have a forthcoming book, Community in Conflict, which will discuss the working-class history of the strike.  The Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University is dedicating their annual Writing Across the Peninsula conference (fall 2013) to the strike.

In addition, I have some forthcoming projects as well.  I am beginning the initial phases of my thesis project about the historic memory of the strike and I am currently finishing a paper that has been accepted for the LAWCHA National Conference called “Seems Like Yesterday: Community Memory and the Michigan Copper Country Strike, 1913-2013.”  I am also working on an abstract to submit for the Writing Across the Peninsula conference that will look at text and context at the Italian Hall memorial site.  In addition to research, writing, and conference speaking I will also be partaking in public history and commemoration in action.  I will be interning at the Keweenaw National Historical Park this summer, volunteering with Erik Nordberg at the Tech Archives, and helping out with Finn Fest.  2013 is a big year and I couldn’t be more excited to take part in all that is going on.  I plan to use this site to document and share my own research as well as post blurbs and links to other good things relating to local history and the copper strike.  Please check back for updates.

– In Solidarity, Lindsay

Dig Deep – Archaeology!

Cliff Bluff Ruins in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. (Photo Courtesy of the Reeder Photograph Collection, Michigan Tech University, Keweenaw Digital Archives)

I was reading the site for the Cliff Mine Archeology Project and it seems like everything is off to a smooth start this summer.  The blog, which reports on the activities of the Michigan Tech Industrial Archaeology graduate program’s field school for 2011 at the Cliff Mine in the Keweenaw, has some great photos, field activities, and news related to the project.  The field school is offering tours of the Cliff Mine to discuss the heritage of the site and to outline goals of the field work.  The project recently got some press, with a spotlight on the TV6 news, the local affiliate in Marquette.  If you are interested to learn more about the Cliff Mine, the ruins, and the field school activities please be sure to  join one of the weekend site tours being offered in June.  Tours will be on Saturday and Sunday for the rest of June, starting hourly from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  For more information about Cliff Mine tours and the field school, please check out the project website.

Copper in the Capital

If you are ever in Washington, DC there is one thing you need to see.  The Keweenaw copper on exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History is a beautiful sight.  In the geologic exhibit you will see copper skulls, small fragments of pure copper, copper with calcite, and right next to the Hope Diamond you will see something even more precious…a large, rare sheet of copper weighing 324 pounds.  When my sister-in-law was in town recently we made a trek to the museum.  It’s nice to see this red metal respected and displayed in a Smithsonian museum given the importance it played in the shaping of our history.  You can even purchase small copper fragments in the gift shop if you want to take a piece of the Copper Country home with you!  Please enjoy a few photos from our visit.

Public History in Action

Photo courtes of the MTU Digital Archives, part of the Reeder Photograph Collection.

The National Park Service has announced temporary summer employment at the Isle Royal National Park.  While the island lies quite a few miles off the coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula, this is still a great opportunity for anyone looking to partake in the preservation and interpretation of the area’s wildlife and natural history.  The announcements are closing soon so please go to USA Jobs and search Isle Royal.  You will see listings for park rangers (both interpretation and protection), visitor use assistants, and other unique positions.  The duty locations for these positions are either at the Houghton office site or the actual Isle Royal park on the island.  The Houghton office is within walking distance of many great restaurants, shops, and attractions and Isle Royal itself is home to all sorts of wild animals, gorgeous hardwoods, and spectacular views of Lake Superior.  What a great way to spend a fun summer in the Copper Country!

Value of Community and History

Quincy Mine Hoist, part of the Quincy Unit of the Keweenaw National Historical Park (Photo by L. Hiltunen)

The Keweenaw National Historical Park came into being in the early 90’s and since then it has had a tremendously positive impact on the local area. According to a recent article in the Daily Mining Gazette the park has had a positive economic impact of over 42 million dollars. This figure includes 18 million for park staff salaries, upkeep, and operational expenses with the remaining 24 million representing the acquisition of new properties to enhance the park, preservation efforts for local history, as well as contributions to local heritage site partners. The historical park has 55 partners in the local community and the park is spread throughout a few local towns.  Please feel free to check out the Daily Mining Gazette article for more details.