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History saved in restored log cabin

August 23, 2012
The Mining Journal

The Negaunee area is steeped in history surrounding the discovery of iron ore in the mid-1800s and the mining industry that discovery lead to.

That history is well documented, with facilities such as the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and Negaunee Historical Museum telling the story of Negaunee, and the developing Iron Ore Heritage Trail providing a walking tour of the region.

There's another little project under way that also provides a glimpse into the lives of the people who lived in the area back in the late 1800s, thanks to the Negaunee Lions Club.

The club, in conjunction with the city of Negaunee and the Negaunee Area Historical Society, have saved an old log cabin from the wrecking ball.

The log cabin saga started three years ago, when Ben Noskey and Anna Dompierre were removing an old building in their yard to make way for a garage. After removing the siding and drywall, they found an original log cabin, made of hand-hewn red pine and cedar logs, with dovetail notches, more than 100 years old and possibly one of the homes of some of the earliest Negaunee residents.

Not sure what to do with the structure, Noskey contacted Dave Dompierre, Anna's grandfather, and the effort to learn more about the building and save it was under way.

It is believed to have been built by Samuel Collins, one of Negaunee's earliest residents, and dates from the 1860s or '70s.

Lions Club members carefully dismantled the cabin and numbered the logs so it could be reconstructed in an appropriate location.

Fast forward to late last week and the cabin walls rose again, this time along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail at the new Jackson Park in the Old Towne area of Negaunee.

Once finished, the cabin will be furnished in the late 1800s style, so visitors can look inside the windows to get a glimpse of early Negaunee life.

The project is being financed through donations, including ones from Dan Collins, a descendant of Samuel Collins, and his wife Fae; Jonelle Collins, in memory of her husband George, who was also a descendant of Samuel Collins; and Dr. Michael and Helen Grossman.

More donations are needed to ensure the project is completed, and can be sent to the Negaunee Historical Society at P.O. Box 221, Negaunee, MI 49866.

This project is a good example of how a community can come together to preserve its history and offer a snapshot of early life in the area.

 
 

 

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