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Bit of a long shot query about North Michigan miners


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Would anyone here know if there were likely to be African-American miners in North Michigan in the late 1950s to early 1960s?

 

I want to make sure I get the ethnic mix right for Duncan's Mine 2.

 

And before anyone rolls their eyes muttering "PC gone mad", this is a serious enquiry in the name of prototype accuracy.

 

 

Thanks

 

steve

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See attached.

I watched a TV program about this strike recently on PBS.

 

According to the program the local mining companies looked specifically for miners from Europe and would run special trains carrying them and their families from the East Coast immigration centres to Michigan (the cost being later taken out of the men's wages).

 

Notice that the local newspaper in Calumet, Michigan was printed in Finnish. 

 

Trust this helps.

 

http://lawcha.org/wordpress/2013/07/25/100-years-later-michigans-1913-14-copper-country-strike/

 

 

Best, Pete.

Edited by trisonic
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Northern Michigan (the Upper Peninsula or 'da Youpee') was mostly Cornish and Finnish miners, particularly the Keweenaw (Houghton/Hancock/Calumet/etc.).

 

There are a lot of Finnish names around (roads etc.) to this day, there are Finnish restaurants in the towns, and the signature dish of the area is the pastie.

 

Based on the current ethnic mix in the area, I'd suggest that there were very few (if any) African-American miners in the '50s and '60s.

 

There is a long standing (car) rally based in Houghton that I used to go to, so I got quite familiar with the area (and the 12hr drive to get there).

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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I'll ask my daughter-in-law, who is Michigan born and bred if she has anybody in her family who might know.

 

Remember that there is a vast difference between 'Michigan born and bred' and 'yooper'*. The Mackinac bridge is a great divide.

 

*someone from the Upper Peninsula

 

Adrian

 

Edit to correct spelling...

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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The information I gave you was obviously from an earlier time but Miners tend to be traditionalists in that it stretches down through the generations - besides there is probably sod all else to do there....

 

Share some photos of the model when available?

 

Best, Pete.

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- besides there is probably sod all else to do there....

 

Leaf-peeping in the fall, huddling around the fireplace in the winter...  the summer can be pretty nice and it is beautiful country (especially at the top of the Keweenaw peninsula). Plus, you can drive through the town of Gay, MI.

 

You can also sometimes see ships taking cut through the middle of the peninsula (between Houghton and Hancock), with the lift bridge in operation.

 

Also, there used to be a passenger train that ran through to Calumet - the Milwaukee Road's Copper Country Limited, so you could actually get a direct sleeper berth to civilization (well, Chicago, but that's close enough).

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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  • 9 months later...

I grew up in Munising, pronounced MEW [rhymes with 'pew', NOT 'muhn', rhyming with 'bun'], with stress on the first syllable, Munising, Michigan, about in the east-to-west middle along the south shore of Lake Superior, and at the end of the east branch of the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad, one of the Upper Peninsula's iron ore hauling railroads. The name is Ojibway Indian and means "place of the island", so, if you look at a map and find Grand Island off the south shore of Lake Superior, you're in the right place.

I lived there from 1949 through high school graduation in 1962 and I can tell you there was not a single African American around, except a few students at Northern Michigan University and some others, "imported" from the lower peninsula, in the state prison in Marquette. 

The ethnic mix of miners is as others have stated above: Finnish and Swedish (mainly in the Marquette iron range and the copper mines in the Keweenaw Penninsula), and Cornish and some Welsh (in the Gogebic [go GEE bik, with both "G's" hard] iron range around Ironwood at the west end of the peninsula along the Wisconsin border). But there is also a large presence of Italian and other Europeans up there as well.

 

I commend you on choosing this area to model. It's a beautiful place and, if you choose the Fall color season to model, it can be quite spectacular!

 

- Paul Ingraham, ex-Yooper [correct spelling!], now living in California

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I commend you on choosing this area to model. It's a beautiful place and, if you choose the Fall color season to model, it can be quite spectacular!

 

And if you model the section between Shingleton and Seney (east of Munising) you only have to lay straight track, ;) :jester:  and your scenery can be pretty minimal. :sungum:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=46.34667,-86.362868&spn=0.000007,0.004801&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=46.34667,-86.362868&panoid=oOfkKBx0oABCB9gD6x_5ag&cbp=12,182.88,,0,0.6

 

That bit of M-28 is one of the straightest pieces of road I've driven on and it is aligned exactly east-west.

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian Wintle
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