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A look at the past

KNHP historical resources survey presented

December 13, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET TOWNSHIP - There are thousands of buildings and other structures still standing in the Copper Country which are representative of the long-lived copper mining industry, and a survey of those structures completed in August was the topic of presentation Wednesday at the Keweenaw National Historical Park headquarters building.

Before the presentation, Jo Urion, KNHP historian, said the historical resources survey project began in 2008, and the KNHP Advisory Commission got involved in 2009.

Urion said major funding for the project was provided by the Americana Foundation, the National Scenic Byways Program, the National Park Service, and the Advisory Commission.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Independent contractor Jane Busch gives a presentation Wednesday about the historical resources survey she managed for the past three years. The survey examined 27,000 items in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties.

It was a natural fit for the park to be involved with the survey, Urion said.

"The (National Park Service) shares an interest in preservation with the Advisory Commission," she said.

Jane Busch, an independent contractor who conducted the survey, gave an overview of the survey and answered some questions from the approximately 20 people in the audience.

Busch said the project was a "windshield survey," meaning those conducting it examined and photographed only items they could see from their vehicles traveling mostly on improved roads. Another parameter was only structures built no later than 1970 were part of the survey.

Within those parameters, as many features as possible were examined, Busch said.

The survey included several types of buildings, Busch said, including but not limited to houses, churches, barns and outbuildings, including saunas and government structures such as lighthouses, village and city halls, fire halls, railroads and boat docks.

"This survey looked at everything," she said. "The information from the survey was entered into a database."

Busch said 27,000 resources were examined in 62 districts, and 1,600 photographs were taken to document them. Only standing structures, whether whole or in ruins, were examined. No digging was done.

For purposes of the survey, Busch said the Keweenaw Peninsula was defined as most of Ontonagon County, all of Houghton and Keweenaw counties, and a small portion of northwest Baraga County. There was no copper mining in Baraga County, but there were some stamp mills in the northwest part of the county.

The survey included 17 historical themes, Busch said.

"We used these themes to make sense of the features we surveyed," she said.

The copper industry was the main theme, Busch said, but agriculture, fishing, timbering and quarrying were also included.

Many structures were divided by architectural style for the survey, also, Busch said.

Churches were an important part of the survey because of their cultural significance, Busch said.

"Churches are the most visible remnants of cultural heritage," she said.

Commercial buildings, mostly in "commercial villages," were represented in the survey, also, Busch said.

Education was a subset of the survey, Busch said.

"The education theme is represented by an array of school buildings," she said.

Many school buildings are now serving other purposes.

Busch said the field work part of the survey ended in August, and now she has to begin to put together the final report, which will include recommendations for preservation. The first draft of the final report will be made public on March 1, and on April 15 there will be a public workshop with it, at which time comments about possible changes will be taken. The project will end June 30.

In response to a question from the audience after her presentation, Busch said implementation of possible preservation actions will have to be taken by local groups or organizations.

"The best thing to do is give people the tools," she said. "This is a big-picture thing. Hopefully, (local) people will pick up the reins."



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