This entertaining book provides an everyday, life-in-motion look at the heydays of Calumet, Michigan
(1898-1913) via informative (and often hilarious or moving) news accounts
and a TON of great old photographs. In its prime Calumet was truly
the Copper Country Metropolis. The Michigan mining capital, now being
developed as Keweenaw National Historic Park, enjoys a storied past, unrivaled in the Midwest.
See the item below for details of a recently published investigation of 1913's Italian Hall Tragedy. And click on “1913 Massacre” in our Links page for info about a current film project involving Old Calumet.
The story of “Big Annie”—Anna Clemenc—heroine of the Calumet copper strike and Italian Hall disasters of 1913, is finally told in full and just in time for the 100th anniversary of these tragic events.
It’s the first such publication by Mr. Lyndon Comstock, a former Michigander and activist himself.
The product of a monumental effort, this excellent work includes never-before-seen photographs and documentation, as well as some interesting revelations about this historic figure.
The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder
by Steve Lehto (2006); also updated in a second edition, 2013
In this successful investigative effort to sort out fact from fiction, Steve Lehto employs a unique set of talents: detail-obsessed legal savvy, previous historical writing experiences, and impressive Copper Country roots combined with a Finnish-American passion for getting to the bottom of the “1913 Massacre” story.
And need I say, with implications that reach far beyond the time and space of Old Calumet.
6 1/2 x 9 1/4 softcover, 232p., 51 b/w historic photo reproductions, carefully documented bibliography and detailed research notes.
For information about the updated, second edition (2013) of Death’s Door>>>
Steve Lehto appears in the PBS documentaryRed Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 (first aired December 17, 2013). You can watch the trailer for this video here >>> or purchase the DVD from PBS >>>.
Steve Lehto also offers this excellent 2014 YouTube video overview of the Italian Hall Disaster:
Steve Lehto takes us back to the genesis of the modern Copper Country through his examination of the life of explorer Douglass Houghton, an early witness to the commercial potential of Keweenaw copper.
Houghton, a native New Yorker, proves to be not only an important entity in the push towards 1837 Michigan statehood, but also an intriguing character whose various hats included those of physician, mayor, professor and investor.
6 1/2 x 9 1/4 softcover, 166p., 11 b/w photos, bibliography plus carefully detailed research notes.
Cornets & Pickaxes
Finnish Brass on the Iron Range
Paul Niemisto (2013)
An energetically researched and richly informative study of the Finnish brass band tradition, the history of Finnish-American brass bands, and the role of these musicians in the cultural development of communities throughout Minnesota’s Iron Range.
This 2013 publication offers a trove of details that will reward the attention of both scholars in the field and readers curious to get better acquainted with ethnic music’s contributions to community identity, harmony, and vitality.
1/2 x 10 softcover, 243p., 74 b/w historic photo reproductions & other illustrations;
fully indexed, plus appendices and an extensive bibliography.
For more information on this book and on the CDs of the Ameriikan Poijat Brass Band, directed by Paul Niemisto >>
Island Folk, first available in the late 70s, has been unleashed again by the University of Minnesota Press, now in an improved format with additional stories and photos. It explores the pre-park days of commercial fishing families who inhabited Isle Royale, based on the author’s personal interviews and evocative photography.
5 1/2 x 8 softcover, 174p. incl. a map, 2 diagrams, and 38 of the author’s b/w photographs.
and Copper Country native Peter Oikarinen considers this, his fourth
book, his best for good reason: Armour presents
an engaging portrait of ‘old timer’ Armour Sarkela,
who lived and fished quite hermit-like along the rugged Keweenaw
coast for sixty years. Oikarinen befriended, fished with, and observed
‘Sark’ for twelve years inspiring this classic work
enriched by the author’s own striking photography.
1/2 x 11 softcover, 119p., 65 of the author’s b/w photos.
High on the Big Stone Heart
And Further Adventures in the Boreal Heartland
by Charles Wilkins (2009)
Although not set strictly in the Lake Superior basin, there are nevertheless ample reading rewards—particularly the “title track”—awaiting Big Lake lovers in this fitting Hoito sequel.
Likewise, hockey fans will not want to miss the fine chapters on the great “Riot Man” Maurice Richard of Habs fame as well as former Leafs hero Bill Barilko, and for everybody else there's tales aplenty about fishermen (including Rocket Richard and Bill Barilko themselves), trappers, boat builders and swamp hags, all written with a perceptive, humorous and distinctive flair.