Ontonagon History

ontonogan-riverThe area was first inhabited by Ojibwa Indians. European occupation began in the 1790s with English fur traders. Miners were then drawn to the area. Ontonagon did not become a flourishing town until the economic upswing in the 1880s with the construction of lumber mills soon followed by shingle mills.

The fire of 1896 destroyed the town. It was not until 1921 and the arrival of a big paper mill that the town was fully revitalized. Ontonagon was home to the Upper Peninsula’s first newspaper and pioneered the inter-city phone.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Ontonagon MichiganOntonagon is a harbor town located at the mouth of the Upper Peninsula’s longest river and near the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The town is located just west of miles of beautiful sandy beach on Lake Superior. The harbor serves as an official harbor of refuge, and is the only safe Lake Superior port of any size between Eagle Harbor and Chequamengon Bay in Wisconsin.

The Ontonagon Chamber notes that Ontonagon County has a distinguished history of logging and mining and is the site of the first telephone system in Michigan. The oldest standing log home village in the United States is located at Old Victoria near the village of Rockland.

Ontonagon links

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Photos from the Pictured Rocks

Photos and information about the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the Lake Superior shore between Grand Marais and Munising.

This is a great spot for hiking and kayaking.

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L’Anse Indian Reservation

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community L'Anse Indian Reservation flagL’Anse Indian Reservation is home to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Bands of Chippewa Indians. The L’Anse Reservation is the eldest and largest reservation in Michigan. It was established in 1854 under the Chippewa Treaty of 1854. The entire reservation encompasses nearly one third of the area of Baraga County.

Wikipedia – L’Anse Indian Reservation

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Gwinn is known as the Heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Located in the center of the upper peninsula, Gwinn serves as the perfect home base to explore the area. Only 25 minutes from Marquette, Gwinn allows easy access to the city, while being surrounded by beautiful scenic outdoor attractions. On June 24, 2002, Gwinn was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the “Gwinn Model Town Historic District, Forsyth Townsip, Marquette County, Michigan”

Wikipedia – Gwinn

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Bikes roll in Marquette

Bikes roll in Marquette

Bikes were rolling this weekend at the 2007 Superior Bike Fest in Marquette. $8,000 in cash was awarded to the winners, but the real prize was participation and competition. Here’s a shot of an early leader taken from the corner of Washington and Third St. in downtown Marquette.

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Canoe a foggy lake


Last night I was out in the canoe, and the lake was beautiful. Even the trout cooperated (for a while). We’re “catch and release” anyway, and a beautiful brown jumped several times and threw the hook on the third jump. That’s called a “long distance release.”

There’s magic and mystery when fog blankets the lake. It can be a very introspective experience or at the extreme you can get lost. On a really big lake, or Superior, you need a compass. That’s true whenever you leave the roads and wander about in the U.P. And wandering is important: Just like anywhere else you have to leave the big roads to find what makes an area unique and wonderful.

When I first visit the city I hear lots of noise, feel lost, and the city is a strange and of threatening place where I’m “on alert”. But then instead of noise I start to identify the sounds of a bus, and garbage collection, street vendors and neighbors. As I learn where to go, what to do and how to get there it becomes a place I know and appreciate. The wilds of the U.P. are just like that: Familiar and friendly to us; mysterious and strange until you learn where to go and what to see. You have to learn the territory. And we can help with that.

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