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 Great 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.

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.

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