Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Public meeting on 1913 Strike Centennial Project to be Aug. 16 in Eagle River

By Erik Nordberg, Michigan Tech University Archivist
Announcement posted on the Michigan Tech Archives Blog on Aug. 10, 2012
Photos and captions by Keweenaw Now.

On July 23, 2012 (the 99th anniversary of the start of the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike) at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, Erik Nordberg, Michigan Tech University archivist, helps community members brainstorm ideas during the first of three meetings on the 1913 Strike Centennial Project, a district-wide community effort to commemorate the historic strike -- possibly through exhibits, historical re-enactments, music, theater, conferences, speakers, K-12 reading and writing activities and more. The second meeting on the project will be held at 7 p.m. TOMORROW, Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Houghton Township Community Room in Eagle River. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- A public meeting at the Houghton Township Community Room in Eagle River at 7 p.m. TOMORROW, Thursday, Aug. 16, will discuss activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. The nearly year-long strike by members of the Western Federation of Miners is one of the most significant events in Copper Country history and also figures critically in national labor struggles of the era.

During the July 23, 2012, meeting on the 1913 Strike Centennial Project, Hilary Virtanen, Finnish American Heritage Center public programming coordinator, and Glenda Bierman, Quincy Mine Hoist Association manager, chat with Gary Kaunonen, Michigan Tech graduate student in Humanities. Kaunonen is co-author, with Dr. Aaron Goings of St. Martin's University in Washington State, of a book (to be published by Michigan State University Press) which argues that the 1913-1914 strike was the culmination of decades of regional labor struggles.

The meeting in Eagle River is intended to confirm specific events during the commemoration. Historical exhibits, speakers’ events, tie-in activities for K-12 students, tours of historic sites connected to the strike, a scholarly symposium on historical topics, a memorial ceremony at the Italian Hall site, and other activities will engage both local residents and out-of-town visitors in remembering and understanding this important era in local history.

Hancock City Councilor John Haeussler speaks at the July 23 meeting about commemorating events of the strike that occurred at Hancock's historic Scott Hotel.

An additional meeting is scheduled at the Ontonagon Theatre in Ontonagon at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15. All meetings are free and open to the general public.

During the July 23 meeting in Hancock, Kathleen Harter of the Keweenaw National Historical Park makes suggestions concerning a possible multi-media presentation on the historic events of 1913.

At the July 23 meeting, local historian and Red Jacket Trolley owner Wil Shapton, who also has experience working with children's historic costume programs and re-enactments, suggests ways to involve children and connect them to the historic events.

Joanne Thomas of Keweenaw County talks about her research on 1913 strike leader "Big"Annie Klobuchar Clemenc with Brian Hoduski, chief of Keweenaw National Historical Park museum services.

Whether or not you attended the July 23 meeting, you are invited to this second meeting in Eagle River and to the third meeting in Ontonagon.

Click here for the updated list of suggested activities.

For more information about this 1913 Strike Centennial Project, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, e-mail, or visit

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