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History’s Gem of the Month - April 2008

The following newspaper clipping was found among my mother’s keepsakes. For those of you who have been to Grand Marais and noticed the wood tiled ceilings in various homes and businesses (including the Lake Superior Brewing Company), these tiles were made at the factory owned by Harry Habbershaw. The cedar stump constructed by Mr. Habbershaw survived until around 8 years ago when it finally succumbed to the weather and rotted away. Township officials recorded the history from the stump and hope some day to reconstruct it.

Cedar Stump Speaks of Pride, Joy and Sadness
By Harry C. Sahs
Detroit News (1962)
Cedar Stump

A tree woodsmen spared when they cleared land for the village of Grand Marais, Mich., lived on to tell the story -- literally. A slab cut from a red cedartree well over 100 years old stands today in the village square. Lettered on its varnished face is the story of a town which has known joy, pride, fortune, disaster, famine and near-despair.

It took Harry Habbershaw, president of Superior Wood Products, Inc., and a college student, Dawn Ostrander, half a year to gather accurate information and to inscribe it on the tree trunk. Examples:

  • 1820 “I’m a very small tree. I watch Lewis Cass survey the land on which I stand.”
  • 1880 “A new lumber mill has things buzzing.”
  • 1900 “Grand Marais is now a town of over 3,000 people. The population is growing and so am I.” (Population in 1962 has dwindled to about 600.)
  • 1904 “Fire destroyed an entire village block.”
  • 1933 “Depression and everybody looks hungry. Sixteen trolling craft attract sportsmen.”
  • 1955 “The lamprey eel has taken its toll.”
  • 1960 “The town’s efforts are directed to the tourist trade. The town has a new face for our first homecoming.”

Not yet recorded is last year’s disastrous fire at Superior Wood. The firm is hoping to rebuild with aid of a government loan.

The cedar stands ready to receive the town’s final chapters.

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)

March 2017
(Logging Era Photos)

July 2017
(Jonas Hill Letters)

December 2017
(Seagull (Lost) Island, Grand Marais Bay)

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


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