• Underground Tamarack Trammer Car

    Keweenaw

    National Historical Park Michigan

Fourth Thursday in History: From Europe to the U.P.

Historic photo: Immigrants aboard a ship
Immigrants aboard a steamship
Image courtesy of Barry James

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News Release Date: October 16, 2009
Contact: Kathleen Harter, (906) 337-3168

Imagine walking down Hancock's Quincy Street, sitting in the balcony at the Calumet Theatre, or waiting in line at the post office in Negaunee and hearing Slovenian, Italian, French, Arabic, Finnish, and maybe even a little English being spoken around you. It might surprise you to learn that this would have been a typical occurrence 100 years ago when the Upper Peninsula's iron and copper ranges were home to more than 40 different ethnic groups.

You are invited to come hear Barry James of the Michigan Iron Industry Museum explain why immigrants left their homelands to come to Michigan’s iron and copper mining communities. As James will describe, it was typically those facing hardships – whether economic, political, or religious – who felt that the United States offered them the chance at a better life. The U.P., with its booming mines, was a destination of choice for thousands of jobseekers of different ethnic backgrounds. Whether or not they worked in the iron or copper mines, these new settlers shared experiences of adapting to life in a new land. The U.P.'s rich history of diversity provides many insights into its modern culture.

This event will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at the Houghton County Courthouse, located at 401 E Houghton Avenue in Houghton, Michigan. It is part of the Fourth Thursday in History speaker series sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park. Additional support for this evening’s program is being provided by the Houghton County Courthouse staff.

This evening is part of the Fourth Thursday in History speaker series sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park. The Fourth Thursday in History series arranges public presentations on important aspects of Copper Country and regional history, including techniques for historic preservation. Presentations are scheduled in venues throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, particularly at historic sites associated with specific topics. They are free and open to the public. For further information, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at (906)337-3168.

This is the final event in the 2009 series. Happy Holidays and see you in January!

Did You Know?

A small memorial park in Calumet, Michigan where the Italian Hall once stood is for the 74 people killed in a stampede on Dec. 24, 1913.

Woody Guthrie's song "1913 Massacre" brought attention to a tragedy that occurred in Calumet, Michigan on December 24, 1913 during a bitter copper miner's strike. Reports claim that a shout of fire caused panic at a party at the Italian Hall. 73 people died in the stampede down the steep stairway.