Western Upper Peninsula

Connecting Hancock and Houghton – The Portage Lake Lift Bridge

The Portage Lake Lift Bridge, officially known as the Houghton–Hancock Bridge, is a pivotal structure connecting the cities of Hancock and Houghton in Michigan. Spanning Portage Lake, part of a waterway that cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula and links with Lake Superior, this bridge is a critical infrastructure piece for the region. US Highway 41 and M-26 both traverse this bridge, making it the only land-based connection between the northern part of the peninsula, known as Copper Island, and the southern section. In recognition of its engineering and historical significance, the bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark… Read More »


The Ardis Furnace in Iron Mountain

Ardis Furnace Iron Mountain 1908

The Ardis Furnace, an abandoned experimental blast furnace, is located at the northeast corner of Aragon and Antoine Streets in Iron Mountain, Michigan. This historic site, accessible from US-2, was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The furnace, built in 1908 by local resident John T. Jones, was a massive metal tube, 120 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, lined with firebrick and set at a slight incline. Held in place by a series of concrete supports, the tube was rotated with an electric motor to… Read More »


Northern Michigan Women in Sports

Little Girl Playing T-Ball

Breaking Barriers and Building Legacies From the early days of community gatherings to contemporary organized sports, women have played pivotal roles. They have defied stereotypes and carved out a space for themselves in various disciplines. On the playing field or coaching sidelines, the collective story of Northern Michigan women in sports is a narrative of resilience, dedication, and a steadfast commitment to breaking barriers. Elizabeth “Betty” Emry Elizabeth “Betty” Emry, born on January 20, 1923, and passing away on April 18, 1995, left an enduring mark as an infielder and pitcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Standing at… Read More »


Northern Michigan Women in Academics

Traverse City Ladies Library

The stories of Northern Michigan women in academics illuminates a compelling narrative of resilience, dedication, and transformative impact. These remarkable women have not only embraced the challenges of the educational frontier but have also played pivotal roles in transforming the region’s academic scene. Katherine G. Heideman Katherine G. Heidema (1910-2003) was born on April 11, 1910, in Audubon, Iowa, as the youngest of six daughters to Melville Graham, an attorney, and Katherine Graham (Brown). Her lineage included the esteemed poet and political thinker Leonard Brown, who was a cousin to the civil war humorist Artemus Ward and evangelist Billy Sunday…. Read More »


Women Activists Leading Change in Northern Michigan

Anna Clemenc

These women have been champions of conservation, labor and women. Join us on a journey through time as we uncover the tales of strength, resilience, and ingenuity that define the legacy of women Activists in Northern Michigan. E. Genevieve Gillette E. Genevieve Gillette (May 19, 1898 – May 23, 1986) emerged as a pioneering conservationist in Michigan, born in Lansing on May 19, 1898. After relocating to a farm in Dimondale in 1901, she pursued education at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). Overcoming gender barriers, she became the sole woman to graduate in the college’s inaugural landscape architecture… Read More »


The Remarkable Legacy of Women Aviators in Northern Michigan

Harriet Quimby flying a plane

Discover the incredible history of women aviators in Northern Michigan, where they defied societal norms and made their mark in aviation. From flying over lakes and forests, breaking barriers in early aviation, and serving our country during WWII, these trailblazers have fascinating stories to tell. Join us as we explore their courageous journeys and contributions to Northern Michigan’s aviation legacy. Harriet Quimby Harriet Quimby (May 11, 1875 – July 1, 1912) was a pioneering American aviator, journalist, and film screenwriter, born in Arcadia Township, Manistee County. In 1910, she undertook an assignment to cover the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament…. Read More »


Celebrating Women Artists and Authors in Michigan’s Legacy

Gwen Frostic Note Cards

The artistic strokes of women and the literary prowess of authors have intricately woven a tapestry of diverse narratives throughout the history of Northern Michigan. Whether native to the region or drawn here by its allure, their resilience and creativity are deeply rooted in Northern Michigan’s essence. This introduction invites us to delve into the stories of these remarkable women artists and authors, whose creativity has left an enduring imprint on the region’s cultural legacy. Gwen Frostic Gwen Frostic (April 26, 1906 – April 25, 2001), originally Sara Gwendolen Frostic, was a distinguished American artist, entrepreneur, author, and inductee into… Read More »


Charting New Waters: Women Pioneers in Northern Michigan Politics

Ballot Box in front of state of Michigan flag

This is our third part in our Women’s History Month series. Join us as we step into the political scene of Northern Michigan, where women have been rocking the boat and steering the ship for ages. These trailblazing ladies have not only faced the challenges of the political frontier but have also shaped the political landscape in profound ways. From grassroots movements to navigating the intricacies of policymaking. The stories of these women offer a unique perspective on the political evolution of Northern Michigan. So, let’s delve into the untold tales of these remarkable women in politics who’ve been at… Read More »


Wisdom Keepers: Celebrating the Legacy of Native Women in Northern Michigan

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to recognize and amplify the voices of Native American women whose stories and contributions have enriched the history and heritage of Northern Michigan. By doing so, we honor not only their individual achievements but also the collective strength and resilience of the Indigenous communities in our region. Part 2 continues recognizing Women’s History Month with 3 more Native American women who made an impact in Northern Michigan. Waunetta McClellan Dominic Waunetta McClellan Dominic (23 July 1921 – 21 December 1981), an Odawa rights activist, dedicated her life to advocating for… Read More »


Beyond Boundaries: Indigenous Women Shaping Northern Michigan’s Story

Acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of Native American women in Northern Michigan is a wonderful way to honor Women’s History Month. These women have played pivotal roles in shaping the history, culture, and communities of the region. In Part 1 of Native American Women in Northern Michigan History we highlight two Native American women who were part of fur trade in Northern Michigan and a third, a poet during the same era. Magdelaine La Framboise (1780-1846) Born Marguerite-Magdelaine Marcot, she emerged as one of the most accomplished fur traders in the Northwest Territory, covering present-day western Michigan. A woman of… Read More »


Porcupine Mountains

Presque Isle Falls Porcupine Mountains

Nestled in the rugged wilderness of Michigan’s Northwestern Upper Peninsula, lies a hidden gem. The Porcupine Mountains, also known as the “Porkies,” often escape the limelight. They were named by the native Ojibwa people because their silhouette had the shape of a crouching porcupine. In the Shadows of Pines: Unveiling the Secrets of Porcupine Mountains Amidst the whispers of rustling leaves and the soft murmur of flowing rivers, Porcupine Mountains have witnessed more than just hikers and nature enthusiasts. Legends speak of elusive creatures, mysterious sightings, and a history steeped in intrigue. As the sun sets behind the towering pines,… Read More »


Detroit Lions – Through the Years

Abstract colorful polygon lion roaring fierce

In the heart of the Motor City and throughout Michigan, where the echoes of roaring engines once dominated the airwaves, there exists a different kind of roar – that of the Detroit Lions Football Team. The Portsmouth Spartans were founded in Portsmouth, Ohio (yes, OHIO!) and joined the NFL on July 12, 1930. They moved to Detroit in 1934 after being bought by George A. Richards. They were renamed the Detroit Lions as a nod toward the Detroit Tigers. The Lions have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. From the “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line of the 1960s to… Read More »


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