Lesson Plan

Commercial and Non-Industrial Occupations
Post-Visit 2:
Research Careers of Entrepreneurs

Maggie Walz (in the back left), a Finnish immigrant and entrepreneur in the Keweenaw, poses for a studio portrait with other Finnish women

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
4.SL.1, 4.W.2
State Standards:
H - H3.0.2
H - H3.0.4
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to describe at least one entrepreneur or businessman/woman from the local area in the 19th and 20th century.


Immigrants from many different nationalities began new chapters of their lives in Keweenaw copper mining communities. While some sought employment with mining companies, others pursued nonmining occupations using skills they already had, or through resources available in the surrounding area. Supply and demand also contributed to chosen career paths. Notable men and women who sought employment in commercial, service, or health care sectors include, Manila Gipp, Maggie Walz, J.W. Nara, Myrno Moss Petermann, and Antonia Putrich.

These men and women all made an impact on the local community through business or service, including: Him Lee- a launderer and George Antioho- a confectioner.



Materials Needed

  • Notes from Calumet Visitor Center visit
  • Internet access
  • Writing materials
  • Plain white paper

Lesson Hook/Preview

Review the concept of entrepreneurs and businessmen/women from the associated pre-activity.


1. Review the concept of entrepreneurs and businessmen/women from pre-activity. Why were these concepts important to immigrants? Do present day immigrants have the same opportunities? How are the opportunities alike or different? Who did you notice as successful citizens during your visit? Would you want to be an entrepreneur or businessman/woman during this time period? Why or why not?

2. List some of the names of people from the displays at the Calumet Visitor Center (also found in the background information.) Write the names on the board and ask students if they remember each one. Why were some more memorable than others?

3. Hand out or read descriptions of some entrepreneurs that students were able to observe at the Calumet Visitor Center. Discuss the significance of them.

4. Using what they observed during the visit as well as the descriptions of businessmen/women from copper mining towns, students will create a little book or accordion book. They can choose a career or person to describe in the books.


Boarding house- a house or dwelling in which food and lodging are provided for payments

Confectioner- a person who makes or sells candy and sweets

Entrepreneur- a person willing to take a risk to start a business as a way to earn money

Additional Resources

The following information are entrepreneurs students can focus on for the post-activity:

Maggie Walz had a diverse skill set. An accomplished woman originally from Finland, Walz began her American career selling items door-to door (including sewing machines and pianos). She was a sales clerk, a founding member of a temperance society in Hancock, and was also a notary public. Maggie established the Calumet Finnish Women’s Society and helped publish their newspaper. By the early 1900s Maggie had built a three-story business block on Pine Street in Calumet, which housed two storefronts and her own clothing store. Her influence in the Upper Peninsula continued long past her death in 1927, when she passed away from pneumonia.

Antonia Putrich ran a boarding house at her own family home in Seeberville. This home had four rooms and a kitchen, and was quite small for both a family and boarders to live in. Her husband, Joseph, worked in a copper mine and was born in Croatia, as was Antonia. Their boarders were all born in Croatia as well and also worked in the mine. The Putrich family consisted of Antonia, Joseph, and eventually 7 children. In 1910, it also housed 7 boarders and in 1913, there were 10 boarders. Joseph and Antonia slept in the front room with their 4 children and Antonia’s sister, who lived with them as a domestic helper. People entered the house through the kitchen, not the front door.

Most boarders would continue into the dining room before removing their coats. Having little room on the first floor, the boarders resided upstairs and slept in two rooms. Beds may have been shared by the day shift workers who switched out with the night shift workers, a system referred to as “hot beds.” The Putrich home was like a small Croatian community. Boarding houses like the Putrich’s helped recent immigrants adapt to their new American life and work. Antonia’s hard work was able to contribute as much, if not more, than Joseph to the monthly income. At the boarding house, the 11 out of the total 17 boarders were related to the Putrichs. It was like living with extended family. This type of work, however, was hard. Antonia and her sister had to make all the meals for the family and the boarders as well. They also had to tend to the children, clean the house, and wash all the laundry by hand.” - Information from: Mine Towns by: Alison Hoagland

Marie Grierson was a librarian that worked for the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company. She was the wife of Edward Grierson, the chief mining engineer. Marie was the head librarian from the time the building opened in 1898 until 1930. The company had first hired Bertha Merrill of Boston to help stock the library with books. To learn the skills her job required, Marie attended meetings of the American Library Association and eventually became an officer of the Michigan chapter. Anna Fiske, who boarded with the Griersons, was Marie’s assistant. Marie and Anna created an inviting library with a “homelike atmosphere” to encourage patrons; comfortable furniture, open shelves, and plants gave a welcoming architectural tone to the library and attracted many visitors. Below the library, in the building’s basement, was a bath house. In 1906, Marie successfully lobbied to replace the bathing facilities with more shelving, thus expanding the size of the library. Marie provided design assistance for the new bathhouse, opened in 1911, that improved its function and accessibility for patrons.

Manilla Gipp had previously taught classes at a hospital before going to Marion Louise Whiffey Training School in Grand Rapids, MI. When she graduated, she came back to the Laurium area and was asked to teach at a training school, which she did for 2 years before the program was discontinued. At this time, she was hired as the supervisor in O.B. and worked at Memorial Hospital, a public hospital. Manilla later became the head of the hospital. According to nurse Mary Murphy, Manilla did almost everything. She began her day by working with the other nurses to address issues that arose overnight and then helped serve breakfast. She made rounds with doctors and assisted during surgeries. She even helped put linen away.

John William (J.W.) Nara was one of the first professional photographers in the area. Born in Finland in 1874, by 1892 he owned his own photography studio in Calumet. He documented history and family life of the mining era with his camera. He began by documenting his own family, expanded into community life, and then to recording the work of underground mining. Nara also invested in land near Jacobsville for logging and also providing land and homes for fellow Finnish immigrants.

Photographs of landscapes, working communities, and his own family were not as profitable as the studio portraits he took, including weddings and vignettes. His brother, Frank, assisted in the studio. Another prominent professional photographer was Myrno Moss Petermann.


Maggie Walz https://www.nps.gov/kewe/learn/historyculture/maggie-walz.htm

J.W. Nara http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/exhibits/Nara/photos/pamphlet.pdf



Antonia Putrich and Marie Grierson

Hoagland, Alison K. Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan’s Copper Country. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010

Additional Photograph lessons: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/education/lessonPlans/indices/elementary.shtml



Little Book and Accordion Book:

Lindquist, Tarry. Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies, Second Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002

Related Lessons or Education Materials

This post-activity is one of three that can be completed for fourth grade about commercial and non-industrial occupations in the Keweenaw before a field trip visit to the Calumet Visitor Center.  There is also an assortment of related pre-visit activities that can be completed as well.

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Last updated: January 14, 2017