• Across the Keweenaw copper was king.


    National Historical Park Michigan

High School Local History Smackdown Sample Questions

A night class is conducted for immigrants to the Copper Country in the early 1900s.
Immigrants to the Copper Country gather for a night class in the early 1900s.
Keweenaw NHP Archives, Jack Foster Collection.

2014 Smackdown sample questions. (Hint: These are often the questions used during the first round of competition).

1. What labor union waged the 1913-14 strike in the Copper Country?

ANSWER: The Western Federation of Miners

Source: Cradle to Grave

2. Known as "Big Jim," this man was superintendent of one of the biggest mining companies in the Copper Country during the 1913-14 Strike. Who was he?

ANSWER: James MacNaughton.

Source: Cradle to Grave

3. What was one tactic used by the Western Federation of Miners to encourage immigrants to join the union?

ANSWER: Hiring organizers who spoke the immigrants' native languages/communicating with the immigrants in their native languages.

Source: Cradle to Grave, p. 208

4. At least 73 people, mostly children of strikers, died during a panic at a Christmas Eve party in 1913. What was the common name of the building where this tragedy occurred?

ANSWER: The Italian Hall.

Source: Cradle to Grave, many others

5. In what community was the Italian Hall located?

ANSWER: Red Jacket (or Calumet, as it's known today)

Source: Rebels on the Range, many others

6. In what year was the Italian Hall demolished?

ANSWER: 1984

Source: Cradle To Grave

Note: The demolition of the Italian Hall is credited by some to have inspired community support for the establishment of Keweenaw National Historical Park.

7. Before the 1913-14 strike ended, 2,500 workers left the Keweenaw to find work downstate. In what industry were they primarily hoping to find work?

ANSWER: The auto industry.

8. The strike wasn't the only thing that happened in the Copper Country in 1913. One of the most famous of all Keweenaw shipwrecks occurred on November 8th, 1913, when this freighter ran aground near Gull Rock in an intense snow storm. What was the name of this ship?

ANSWER: The L. C. Waldo

Source: Terry Pepper Seeing the Light

Note: After spending many harrowing hours trapped inside the wreck, using a bathtub and pails to serve as a stove and burning furniture – and even parts of the ship – for warmth, all of those on board were rescued by the crews from Life Saving Service stations at Portage and Eagle Harbor.

9. During the 1913-14 strike, why were some people of Finnish descent referred to as "Red Finns"?

ANSWER: The Red Finns were known for their socialistic, sometimes radical, pro-labor views.

Source: Finns in Michigan, p. 58

10. Why were some other people of Finnish descent known as "White Finns" during the 1913-14 strike?

ANSWER: The White Finns were known for their anti-socialist, pro-management views.

Source: Finns in Michigan, p. 58

Did You Know?