"This is a big year for Escanaba in terms of history. We're celebrating our 150th birthday,â?? explained Delta County Historical Society President, Dr. Charles Lindquist.
Escanaba began as a port town in the mid-19th century as a shipping point for iron ore, lumber and copper during the Civil War.
â??It's kind of neat. From the beginning, you had ore boats coming in and out, and you still do,â?? Lindquist said.
Escanaba and Gladstone have been key water links for shippers, with access to major markets in the south, like Chicago and beyond. The Soo Line railroad system played a major part in Gladstoneâ??s history.
â??People were looking at the area as the future Chicago of the north,â?? said Daily Press writer, Dorothy McKnight.
â??Railroads were so responsible for so much happening,â?? Charles added. â??Of course, they were following the minerals and the forest products that were in the U.P.â??
Gladstoneâ??s rich economic history has been tied to transportation, with vast natural resources nearby.
â??Lumbering was really big,â?? Dorothy added. â??One of the earliest companies was the Northwest Cooperage and Lumber Company, and they made barrels and hardwood flooring."
While the railroads in Gladstone have since shrunk and the Escanaba port is seeing fewer ships, they're still an economic force.
â??Theyâ??re a constant reminder of what this town was all about and still is all about, to some extent,â?? Charles added.
History is worth preserving, and thanks to a generous donation, the Delta County Historical Society is building a new museum next to the Sand Point Lighthouse. Itâ??s another sign of how important the past is for future generations.