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Keweenaw County Historical Society

Explore the History of Keweenaw County, Michigan

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“To me, the beauty of the Keweenaw County Historical Society is that this group of volunteers preserves, protects, and promotes the history of all of Keweenaw County by establishing museum sites throughout the county and offering programs that focus on the rich and multi-faceted history of the county.”

– Larry Molloy, President, Keweenaw County Historical Society

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The iconic Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1871 and is one of the most photographed lighthouses on Lake Superior. Shown here when the radio towers were still in place, the beacon not only welcomed ships into the Harbor but also warned them of the perilous reefs offshore and guided the neighboring life saving station crews on their missions. The light stood guard as local commerce changed from mining and supplies to lumbering, fishing, and tourism. The Keweenaw County Historical Society operates four different museums at the lighthouse complex.

Keweenaw County is Michigan’s northernmost county, and its smallest (in population). The county comprises the upper half of the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula—that beckoning finger of land that sticks out into Lake Superior. It is a region rich in history as well as natural beauty. Copper mining is a major historical theme, but commercial fishing, lumbering, maritime and life-saving history, and various ethnic stories are notable, too.

The Keweenaw County Historical Society, established in 1981, is a group of volunteers who work hard and take pleasure in commemorating and sharing that history.

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We have two of the original looms from Gay Industries in our look room on the second floor of the Historic School Museum at Gay. Our museums are staffed by volunteers who provide guided tours.

Our mission is to discover, document and disseminate the history of Keweenaw County through research, historical property preservation and restoration, development and maintenance of historical museums and archival collections, the production and publication of historical focused media and the conduct of historical education programs and events.

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See our website’s Calendar page for the hours for our museum sites which are typically open from Mid-May or Mid-June until October. The website contains maps to all of our locations as well as a calendar of events. You may also follow us on Facebook for current KCHS news.

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