L’Anse Triumphed Over Tragedies; Baraga County, Michigan: 1900-1950s
At the head of the Keweenaw Bay lies the village of L'Anse (French for “The Cove”). In the mid 1800s there was a stagecoach line and boat passages that all led to this area. Once a new railroad line and station came here, that was it - the settlers decided to build a town.
In 1871 the village of L'Anse began growing and thanks to the trains, boats, and stagecoaches, it was becoming the biggest booming town in the Upper Peninsula, even beating out such heavyweights as Escanaba and Marquette. Throughout the early 1870s, more businesses and residents began settling here; more construction on buildings and a dock for iron ore. The price of acreage zoomed...L'Anse was heading toward being the UP's trading center. But that wasn't going to happen.
The Panic of 1873 (“a financial crisis that triggered an economic depression in Europe and North America that lasted from 1873 to 1879”) was the beginning of L'Anse's stalemate.
On May 9, 1896, the L’Anse Lumber Company caught fire; sparks blew, flying over the town and setting the whole village on fire. Not to be discouraged, the good people of L'Anse all rallied and over time rebuilt the town.
Henry Ford had his hooks in the towns of Alberta, L’Anse and Pequaming, owning lots of land and three sawmills. Wanting to control any business that his Ford Auto Company used for manufacturing, he was able to own the towns of Alberta and Pequaming but not L'Anse...they were still happily on their own (mostly).
L'Anse thrives to this day and the town that was rebuilt in the late 1890s still retains those old buildings. It's another great UP town to visit on a roadtrip...or to stay the night...
Photos of L'Anse, Baraga County: 1900-1950s
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