Western Upper Peninsula

Hauntings in Western Upper Peninsula

Paulding Lights - Dog Meadow Lights

Join us at Northern Michigan History as we journey through our 5-part series, delving into the mysteries of the most haunted locales in Northern Michigan. In this, our final installment, we’ve reached the Western Upper Peninsula. Be prepared for eerie tales of inexplicable lights, actresses who never exit the theater, and the unsettling presence of chainsaws within cemeteries. The western edge of the U.P. holds its own unique and chilling stories that should not be taken lightly! Ontonagon County Paulding Lights: Also known as the Dog Meadow Light, this enigmatic phenomenon appears in a vale near Paulding, close to Watersmeet…. Read More »

Michigan Rail Ferries

SS Landsdowne carrying passenger train cars in 1905.

We wrote about the Michigan Car Ferry System that primarily took cars across the Straits of Mackinac last week. While researching those ferries we discovered that there were ferries that transported railcars. We touched on it a little last week with the Chief WaWatam that would transport the railcars across the Straits.  Michigan State Car Ferries, also known as the “Michigan State Railways,” had a significant role in the transportation history of the Great Lakes region. Operating primarily during the early to mid-20th century, these ferries were responsible for transporting railroad cars across Lake Michigan between Michigan and Wisconsin. The… Read More »

Chappee Rapids

Chappee Rapids Area

Between 1670 and the early 1800s the Menominee River Basin was visited by Explorers, missionaries, and fur traders. They passed by on the water route of the Menominee River and Green Bay. Journals of the seventeenth and early eighteenth-century explorers talk about a small Algonquin tribe in the Menominee River Basin. They were known as “The wild rice people.” The explorers talked about a tribe of 40-80 men living in a village at the mouth of the river. By the early 1800s The Menominee numbered about 500 and lived in numerous villages scattered throughout Wisconsin. Stanlislaus Chappieu In 1794 on… Read More »

Donald C. MacKinnon

MacKinnon House 1885

Iron County was originally part of Marquette County. It was first surveyed in 1851 and the area was populated almost exclusively by Native Americans, the Menominee and Ojibwe tribes. The original survey noted that there was presence of iron ore in the area, but it would be more than 20 years before it was mined. It was not until 1875 that European settlers arrived in numbers prospecting for iron ore. The MacKinnon Brothers Arrive The brothers Donald C. and Alexander MacKinnon arrived in April 1878 searching for ore deposits. They acquired land in the area in June of 1878 and… Read More »

Don’t Forget The Fudge!

Michigan Fudged

Ever wonder how Fudge became a staple Up North? Atlantic City is known for Saltwater Taffy, Maine for Lobster and New Orleans for Beignets. Many tourist areas have their own specialty that you have to try when you visit and take some home for later. Northern Michigan is known for many things, the views, pasties, the dunes, wine, craft beer, and so much more. There is one common treat found in almost every town up north and that is fudge. You will find many local candy/fudge shops where you can watch the fudge being made, enjoy a sample, and buy… Read More »

Northern Michigan Gold Rush

Gold Panning Sign

Did you know that there was a gold rush in Northern Michigan in the late 19th century? Gold was left throughout the state waterways when the glaciers moved across the entire state during the last ice age. Small amounts of gold can be found in just about any creek or river in Michigan. According to the US Forest Service, gold has been found in over 100 places in Michigan. Gold has been found in the Manistee, Au Sable, Flat, Little Sable, Rapid, Yellow Dog and other rivers and on countless Great Lakes beaches. Rivers and lakes are not the only… Read More »

Ishpeming Historic Ski Center

Ishpeming - Historic Ski Center

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the small mining town of Ishpeming in Marquette County. With vast deposits of iron ore throughout the area, the town thrived and grew in the 19th century. Walking through the town you see evidence of that history everywhere. Ishpeming is also known as the birthplace of organized skiing. Besides being a thriving mining town Ishpeming was also becoming a hot spot for snow skiing. In the 1870s and 80s the first ski-jumping tournaments in the U.S. were being held in there. Skiers seeking thrills started doing ski flying. This is different from ski jumping where… Read More »

Western Upper Peninsula Hauntings

Western Upper Peninsula Hauntings

Join Northern Michigan History in our 5 part series as we explore the most haunted places in northern Michigan. This is our last installment in the series and we have found our way to the Western Upper Peninsula. Strange lights, actresses that never leave the theater and chainsaws in cemeteries. The western end of the U.P. is not to be messed with! Keweenaw Peninsula Calumet Theater – Legend is that Shakespearean actress, Madame Helena Modjeska who died in 1909 in the theater and that she never left. Lake Breeze – Originally a warehouse built in 1850s by William Raley that… Read More »

Zeba Indian United Methodist Church

Zeba Michigan

In the early 19th century Methodism was not practice west of Sault Ste. Marie. In 1832 Shaw-wun-dais (“sultry heat”) better known as John Sunday a Native American from Canada who become a missionary headed west to Kewawenon (Keweenaw Bay). He settled in the town of Zeba northeast of L’Anse. There he erected a log house to educate other natives about Christianity and the Methodism. John Sunday was a member of the Mississauga Tribe from central upper Canada. He was ordained in 1836 as a minister of the Methodist Church. Him and his wife Mary lost 10 children during the course… Read More »