The Forgotten History of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
What Were Pioneer Days Really Like in the U.P.?
The combination of mining, maritime and lumbering history created a culture in the U.P. that is unique to the Midwest. Discover true stories of the rough and dangerous times of the Upper Peninsula frontier that are as enjoyable as they are educational. You’ll find no conventional romantic or whitewashed history here. Instead, you will be astonished by the true hardships and facets of trying to settle a frontier sandwiched among the three Great Lakes.
These pages are populated by Native Americans and the European immigrants, looking for their personal promised land-whether to raise families, avoid the law, start a new life or just get rich… no matter what it took. Mineral hunters, outlaws, men of honor creating civilization out of wilderness and the women of strength that accompanied them, the Upper Peninsula called to all. Among the eye-opening stories, you’ll find True Tales includes:
- Dan Seavey, the infamous pirate based out of Escanaba
- Angelique Mott, who was marooned with her husband on Isle Royale for 9 months with just a handful of provisions and no weapons or tools
- Vigilantes who broke up the notorious sex trafficking rings – protected by stockades, gunmen, and feral dogs – in Seney, Sac Bay, Ewen, Trout Creek, Ontonagon and Bruce Crossing
- Klaus L. Hamringa, the lightkeeper hero who received a commendation of valor for saving the crews of the Monarch and Kiowa shipwrecks
- The strange story of stagecoach robber Reimund (Black Bart) Holzhey
- The whimsical tale of how Christmas, Michigan got its moniker
- The backstories of famous pioneers, such as Peter White, George Shiras III, Governor Chase Osborn and many others.
“Romantic ideas of the pioneer days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will fade quickly as these true tales of lawless, rugged, wild-weather, difficult times before about 1900 are perused. Laws were few, enforcement was scarce, violent events were often, and shipwrecks were many. However, opportunities to be a hero were as numerous and wonderful life-saving deeds of kindness and compassion are recorded in these pages as well. Classen does history an excellent service by revealing the truth. Sometimes we think humanity has advanced little. An attitude quickly challenged in these pages. Readers will feel gratitude for all they have today after finishing these tales.” –Carolyn Wilhelm, MA, Midwest Book Review
“Classen accomplished what he set out to do-provide readers with interesting and true tales about the U.P. He did not romanticize the history and told bold facts to enlighten the reader. The U.P. was uncharted territory with harsh beginnings. Captains battled terrible storms while sailing on Lake Superior. Corrupt entrepreneurs made money off the suffering of young women. Classen rang bells for unsung heroes. Much can be learned about Chase Osborn’s efforts-the man who became the first governor of Michigan from the U.P. and Peter White, founder of Marquette. So much can be learned by reading Classen’s book. It is highly recommended.” –Sharon Brunner, U.P. Book Review
“This book is a gold mine of vacation possibilities, providing dozens of fascinating little-known facts about many of the innumerable attractions found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With the aid of a near countless parade of carefully selected historical images, Mikel paints a picture the reader will not ever forget.” — Michael Carrier, author of Murder on Sugar Island (Jack Handler mysteries)
Hear an interview with the author of True Tales about some of the startling revelations in the book on Emma Palova’s “For the Love of Books” Podcast. Click Here.
Discover Hidden Campgrounds, Natural Wonders, & Waterways of the Upper Peninsula
2020 State History Award Winner for “Outstanding Michigan History Publication” by Historical Society of Michigan
2021 U.P. Notable Book Award by Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association
I’ve spent many years exploring the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.), and one thing has become apparent: no matter what part in which you find yourself, fascinating sights are around every corner. There are parks, wilderness areas and museums. There are ghost towns and places named after legends. There are trails to be walked and waterways to be paddled. In the U.P., life is meant to be lived to the fullest. In this book, I’ve listed 40 destinations from every corner of the U.P. that have places of interest. Some reflect rich history, while others highlight the natural wonders that abound. So, join in the adventures. The Upper Peninsula is an open book–the one that’s in your hand.
“Without a doubt, Mikel Classen’s Points North needs to be in every library, gift shop and quality bookstore throughout the country-particularly those located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Not only does Classen bring alive the U.P. through his polished words, his masterful use of color photography also makes this book absolutely beautiful. Points North will long stand as a tremendous tribute to one of the most remarkable parts of our country.”
–Michael Carrier, author, Murder on Sugar Island
“Mikel Classen’s love for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula shines from every page in Points North, a fascinating insider’s guidebook to the exceptional beauty and history of Michigan’s far north. Whether you’re still in the planning stages of your trip, or you’re looking back fondly on the memories you created–even if you wish merely to enjoy a virtual tour of the Upper Peninsula’s natural wonders from the comfort of your armchair, you need this book.”
–Karen Dionne, author of the international bestseller, The Marsh King’s Daughter
“Many of the places in Points North may sound familiar, but Classen has spent time exploring them all, finding out the wonders others drive by and miss. And some of them may baffle you as much as they did me: the UP has a WWII glider museum? Classen has scoured every inch of the UP, visiting every campground, ghost town, lighthouse, waterfall, and beach that you may have never heard of. This book is full of surprises for even the most knowledgeable visitors to the UP. And if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself marking up the pages, making notes of places you have to visit next time you’re up north.”
–Steve Lehto, author of Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Strike of 1913 and the Italian Hall Disaster and Michigan’s Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton
“Until I read this book, I had not realized the large number of hidden treasures that the U.P. has. More than just an interesting history, this book is a descriptive roadmap to these treasures. Points North can be used as a guide to an adventure you would never have known about on your own. The pictures and place descriptions here are fantastic! These hidden locations have suddenly become easy to find with this book. I recommend it highly.”
–Bob Hruska, author of Humorous Hunting, Fishing, and Camping in the U.P. and Canada
Learn more at www.PointsNorthBooks.com
Lake Superior Tales
Fiction Stories of humor and adventure on the Lake Superior frontier.
2020 U.P. Notable Book Award by Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association
Order Your Copy Here
Also available at Amazon, or can be ordered through any bookseller.
Pirates, thieves, shipwrecks, sexy women, lost gold, and adventures on the Lake Superior frontier await you! In this book, you’ll sail on a ship full of gold, outwit deadly shapeshifters, battle frontier outlaws and even meet the mysterious agent that Andrew Jackson called “the meanest man” he ever knew. Packed with action, adventure, humor, and suspense, this book has something for every reader. Journey to the wilds of the Lake Superior shoreline through ten stories that span the 19th century through present day including “The Wreck of the Marie Jenny,” “The Bigg Man,” “Wolf Killer,” and “Bullets Shine Silver in the Moonlight.”
“It’s clear that Mikel B. Classen knows and loves the Lake Superior area of Michigan and brings it to life in a delightful way. If you want frequent laughs, unusual characters who jump off the page, and the fruit of a highly creative mind, you’ve got to read this little book.”
— Bob Rich, author, Looking Through Water
Lake Superior Tales is currently in development as an audio book to be released in April 2021. To hear a teaser sampler of the book follow the link: Click Here!!!
Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial
On the same day Theodore Roosevelt narrowly survived an assassination attempt, his press secretary handed him a newspaper editorial from the Iron Ore, a small town daily located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Its publisher, George Newett, had printed “…Roosevelt lies and curses in a most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all his intimates know about it.” Tired of having his boisterous personality equated with intoxication, Roosevelt angrily shouted, “Let’s go at him!” and the paper was formally charged with a suit of libel. As the case convened, a cadre of admirals, statesmen and fellow explorers descended on Marquette to testify to T.R.’s unimpeachable personal character in the biggest libel trial of the early Twentieth Century.
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Au Sable Point Lighthouse, Beacon on Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast
Skeleton ship frames surround Au Sable Point, marking a mile-long sandstone reef that reached out into Lake Superior waiting to grab any and all ships that passed by. In an effort to end this tragic loss of lives, the Au Sable Point Lighthouse was constructed to warn mariners of its hidden reef. At the heart of the famed “Shipwreck Coast,” Au Sable Point was a beacon of hope and safety. Mikel B. Classen charts the history of the lighthouse and the dangerous reef that waits six feet under the lake’s surface and serves as the final resting place for so many sailors.
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