Monday, April 23, 2012

Archivist Erik Nordberg to present "Houghton County Potato Farming" at Calumet Library Apr. 25

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will host Michigan Tech Archivist Erik Nordberg, who will make a presentation on "Houghton County Potato Farming" from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at the Calumet Public Library.

Betty and Marie Onkalo assist each other in bagging their potatoes just picked on the Sohlden farms near Klingville. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives. Reprinted with permission.)

The Great Depression caused widespread distress in the mining and timber communities of the Upper Peninsula. Unemployment skyrocketed, and the short growing seasons and cold winters squeezed the people’s ability to survive. The circumstances transformed Houghton County into one of the nation's most productive potato-producing regions in the 1930s and 1940s.

The enterprise, which Nordberg illustrates with dozens of historical photographs, featured a community of growers, numerous potato warehouses and a niche market for high-quality, table-stock potatoes in Midwestern cities.

Nordberg’s presentation, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library. Refreshments will be served.

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