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History’s Gem of the Month – Gitchee Agomowin

November 2015

I have hundreds of documents in the museum’s archives, all saved by the museum founder (Axel Niemi) and his family. One of the items I have is a copy of The Alger Echo, a newspaper published by James Carter. The following article was included in the Fall 1969 issue, Vol I, No 9.

Gitchee Agomowin

In early times, man stayed close to the shore when traveling on Lake Superior; Their light crafts were no match for the lake in its angry moods. Indians and early French knew well the sheltered spot they both called Great Bay or Grat Harbor – “Gitchee Agomowin” in the Chippewa language, and Grand Marais in French.

Use of the harbor on the long stretch of shelter-less coast began centuries before recorded history. Activity there was noted in earliest French accounts, and it was mentioned frequently by most travelers from that time on.

The first white man to record his visit at Grand Marais was Pierre Espirit Radisson in the summer of 1658. Many expeditions followed, and about 200 years later, in 1853, a permanent settlement was established. Fur trading, then commercial fishing and lumbering were responsible for the beginnings and development of the Grand Marais area during its early decades. It became Alger County’s largest and fastest growing town during the pine lumber-boom of the 1880s.


Grand Marais Harbor 1903

After a sharp decline in 1910 following the abandonment of the Manistique Railway, Grand Marais settled into a small but stable village where fishing and lumbering and later, tourism, provided a livelihood for this historic and beautiful community.


Birdís eye view of Grand
Marais during its heyday

West side of Lake Avenue
during the early 1900s

Freight train along Grand
Marais Bay

Passenger train along
Grand Marais Bay

Coast Guard Point in 1890
showing early lumber and
fishing docks

Early lumber camp west
of Grand Marais

 



History's Gems Archives

May 2007
(The Telescope Story)

June 2007
(The Story of the Grand Marais "Meteor")

July 2007
(Hints on Hunting Glacial Agate Article)

August 2007
(Lake Superior Origin from 1957)

Fall 2007
(Tourist Information from the 1920s)

December 2007
(Lake Superior Editorial)

January 2008
(Grand Marais Tourist Signpost)

February 2008
(Unusual Wedding Invitation)

March 2008
(1915 Rules for Teachers)

April 2008
(Cedar Stump article from 1962)

May 2008
(Old Postcards)

June 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal Proposal-Part 1)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 2)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 3)

October 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 4)

November 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal-Part 5)

December 2008
(Agate Leaflet from 1927)

January 2009
(Old Postcards)

February 2009
(Snowstorm Article from 1988)

March 2009
(Lake Superior Agate Poem)

Spring 2009
(History of M77)

July 2009
(Axel Niemi Photo)

August 2009
(Ship Travel on Lake Superior)

September 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates)

Fall 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates Part 2)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 1)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 2)

April/May 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 3)

June 2010
(Box of Rocks Gets Diploma)

July 2010
(Shipwrecks at Agate Beach)

August/September 2010
(1958 Detroit News Article about Axel Niemi)

Fall 2010
(Reprint from the Douglas Houghton Expedition)

Winter 2011
(Old Postcards and Pictures)

Spring 2011
(1905 Grand Marais Article)

September 2011
(Michigan Log Marks)

March 2012
(John Keating)

January 2012
(Axel Remembered)

March 2012
(John Keating)

June 2012
(The Shark: Post 1)

September 2012
(The Shark: Post 2)

March 2013
(The Shark: Post 3)

August 2013
(All That Glitters. . .)

November 2013
(Excerpts from The Grand Marais Herald)

April 2014
(Souvenir View Book of Sault Ste. Marie)

September 2014
(Michigan Beach Stones)

February 2015
(Michiganís Mystic Dunes)

June 2015
(Vintage Grand Marais Photos)

November 2015
(Gitchee Agomowin)

June 2016
(Grand Marais Poems)

August 2016
(1981 Article about Grand Marais)

March 2017
(Logging Era Photos)

 


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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839

 


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