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History’s Gem of the Month - February 2009

While searching through my archives, I came across this article published in the Detroit Free Press on Friday, February 12, 1988. Given that we have an old fashioned winter this year, I feel that it is appropriate to include the reprint this month.

Snowstorm is kid stuff, UP folks say – Downstate troubles pale next to Yoopers’ tales
By David Hacker

Snow Drift

Bad weather downstate, eh?

Listen you Loopers, take a cue from the yoopers when Mother Nature offers a midseason white sale the likes of Thursday’s storm.

Almost a foot of snow? Ten degrees and 30 m.p.h. winds?

Pffffffft. That’s nothing they say.

Bessie Capogrosa can see snow banks 10 feet high when she looks out the window of her Superior Hotel in Grand Marais on the north shore of the Upper Peninsula.

Jim Carter, a Grand Marais native and local historian, now news director at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, recalls “the huge blizzard of 1938, when (the snow was so high) you could walk up to the second-story porch of an old hotel. I’ve got a picture of my mother sitting on the crossbar of a power pole.”

“Ten inches of snow? I wouldn’t notice it,” said Celeste Bailey of Grand Marais.

A friend of Carter’s, Ed Erickson, played for Grand Marais High School in the district basketball tournament in Marquette in March 1928. Earlier that winter, Grand Marais had been marooned for a week by impassable snowdrifts. Two weeks before the team was to leave for Marquette, the town was sealed off again.

“The superintendent, George Butler, who also was the coach, and a half-dozen players snowshoed the 26 miles to Seney to catch the night train to Marquette”, Carter said. “They lost to Republic, 27-14.”

“In the late 1880s, Carter said, a Manistique Railway train got stuck in the snow for a week a few miles from Seney. The engineer spent the week snowshoeing back and forth into town to get food for passengers.

“We think of ourselves being tough guys up here, said John Vaara, principal of Hancock High School, where 29 inches of snow covered the ground Thursday. “We have had a real harsh winter. We hear about snow days elsewhere in the state where schools are missing many, many more days. We sent the kids home early two days but we haven’t had a snow day yet.”

Bill Nyman, who has driven an Alger County snowplow out of Grand Marais, said “Our average snowfall here is over 200 inches. One winter we had over 300 inches. A year or so after I went to work here 17 years ago … -- I think it was the winter of ’72 – I’d come to work at 7 in the morning and stay until midnight. I would go home so tired I couldn’t sleep. Then I’d be plowing snow in my sleep and shoveling snow out of the end of my bed.”

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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