The Negaunee Historical Society
303 East Main Street (P.O. Box 221)
Negaunee, MI 49866 (906-475-4614)
Editor: Roland Koski (

FROM THE PRESIDENT, Virginia Paulson

We look forward to spring and those of us who lived here all our lives know that it is coming. The sun is already warmer and we have experienced the ice melting off of our driveways and parking lots. Spring is coming and we are in full cleaning mode at the museum. We have new showcases that have to be filled, picture displays and new floor coverings still to come. Spring is coming and it’s time to set our clocks ahead.

Daylight Saving Time Considered - “Early enactment of legislation to provide for daylight saving time throughout the nation was forecast by Chairman Lea (D-California). Lea said he would call his committee into session this week to consider legislation which would authorize the President to order clocks moved forward all over the country during the war to conserve electricity”. From the “Mining Journal” January 1942

On March 3, 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem of the United States as President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution.


Thank you once again to Mark Trewhella for sharing so many of his treasured photos

"I can't say I help, I never say that. I say I try.
Some case I say myself, I don't know what I can do.
But I do my best. God give you a chance to go, you gotta do it.
You gotta help people." Lugina Baldassari

What is a masseuse and why don’t we hear of that name today? I did some research for this article. The titles masseur and masseuse have a long and colorful history related to massage. Both terms were used to describe men and women, respectively, who provided massage in exchange for payment. But these terms, especially masseuse, were hijacked by prostitutes operating under the guise of “massage,” beginning in the 1950s. Today, state laws protect titles including massage therapist, massage practitioner and massage technician. How many of us can still remember Negaunee’s famous neighborhood masseuse, Gina Baldassari, who operated her business from her home on Ann Street to anyone in need of pain relief?

Born in Italy in 1904, Gina arrived in Negaunee in 1936 not knowing the English language but having to learn it by listening to others talking. Her patients would arrive early in the morning to await their appointments by sitting in the living room. Sufferers from bursitis, arthritis, back trouble and what she called “nervous sickness” were all regular visitors. If by chance she didn’t know something about a malady her only advice included “Take a good bath in the Epsom salt.”

Mrs. Baldassari didn’t have office hours and was known to have worked on Christmas Day. She even received phone calls late at night but she said every call is important. “If they’re feeling good they don’t call me. If they’re feeling good they stay home.” Amazingly, she didn’t have fees for her customers. “I don’t charge nothing, I never do”. I tell them, what you give me, I am satisfied”. She had clients from several states vacationing in the area to go with her regular daily customers. After her treatments, her patients would say, “Gee, Mamma, I feel good now”, and Gina would reply “I very glad you feel better”. Everyone signed their name and address in a notebook near the front door on their way out. Gina Baldassari died at the age of 79 on October 10, 1983.

“You help somebody else and God help you. Look at me. I can go. I have my own garden. I can take care of myself. In the morning, the first thing I say is, Thank you, God, I feel good again today.”
Note: Quotes in this story came from a Lifestyles article by Vickie Norman in the July 28, 1978 “Mining Journal”


Robert Sutherland – 15DEC2017
Rachel Hirvonen – 15DEC2017


The first roadway along the route of the modern CR 492 was a plank road built in the 1850s. The roadway was originally named the Marquette–Negaunee Road, due to its endpoints. Roadside workers, who were painting a fence alongside the road, had witnessed a number of near collisions around a “dead man’s curve”. Traffic along the road was heavy for the era, and along the curves, drivers would follow the innermost side instead of keeping to their own lane. One of those workers took it upon himself to paint a white line in the road to assist drivers with staying in their own lane. Several minutes later, Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer, head of the Marquette County Road Commission, drove up and stated it was an idea worth adopting. He ruled centerlines should be painted on all sharp curves in the county and two years later the Michigan Department of Transportation adopted the policy statewide. Hence, the first highway centerline in the nation was painted in 1917 along a section of the road known as "Dead Man's Curve". Sawyer added arrows to indicate travel direction and found that motorists used the appropriate travel lanes.

Named in honor of K I Sawyer, the county Air Force base became the home of the 473rd Fighter Group on January 24, 1956. The base closed on June 1, 1995 after 39 years but the legacy of Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer still remains as his name is still used at the county airport.

In 1987, the Marquette County Historical Society (MCHS) Historical Marker Program was inaugurated in honor of Michigan’s 150th anniversary. Their first marker was placed at the location of “dead man’s curve” in October 1990.


Iron ore was discovered in 1844, but Negaunee’s 170-year history filled with many memories has begun to fade away. The Jackson Iron Mining Company began mining on a small scale in 1846 to become Negaunee’s first settlement and contained about six roughly built log houses in the Cornishtown location. One of those log houses has been restored by the Negaunee Lions Club and now sits in Old Town Park. In 1847, the first forge was constructed on the property now housing the Negaunee Iron Mining Museum. The Plank Road was constructed in 1850 between the Carp River and Negaunee which would be near the cemetery on CR492. The principal food was salted meat, bread and apples. Settlers had to make their own furniture consisting of one table and a few chairs and beds.

In 1857, the Pioneer Blast Furnace was the most famous of all the 23 furnaces that operated in the Upper Peninsula. Another settlement sprung up and came to be called Pioneer Location which was about one mile east of the Jackson Mine location. Negaunee’s population began to grow and the vacant spots between these locations were soon occupied with homes and stores. By 1870, there was a remarkable growth as the population grew to almost 500. Mine employees were able to live in houses built by the companies. These locations were named after mines which were numerous such as Cambria, Lilly and Rolling Mill.

Only a few of the locations remain today because of fencing off areas designated as “caving grounds” back in the 1950’s. But to some of us “old timers” there are places that we still remember such as Sunrise, Blue Hill, Cornishtown, Finn Alley, Swedetown, Bellevue, Rolling Mill and Beverly Hills. Yes, it’s still nice to look in that mirror and remember those early years and happenings in Negaunee.

(Since our December newsletter)

Ron Kauppila – monetary gift
Jacqueline Miller – monetary gift
Jim & Betty Steward – monetary gift
James & Vivien Penrose – monetary gift
Nancy & Nolan Duquette – monetary gift
Miles Parkkonen- snow removal at the museum
Kathleen & Raymond Beauchamp – monetary gift
All of the ladies volunteering their time updating museum rooms
Karen Northey Saad – monetary gift in memory her parents and sister Kathleen Giddings

(Note: If your name was omitted from this list, please notify the museum so we can acknowledge your kindness)

Excerpts from a written proposal by Ray Brotherton on April 10, 1935

Ray Brotherton put together his ideas for the construction of a swimming pool for Negaunee after investigating various locations and pools in other cities. His proposal would be for the pool to be situated across from the Negaunee football field and located in the area now occupied by Pasquali’s (formerly C&P Lounge). This site was chosen because Mr. Brotherton believed it fulfilled all of the requirements needed for a pool. These included being located in a central location and where the greatest number of people could be accommodated with an attractive surrounding. The water supply, drainage and soil conditions were of major importance also. Surprisingly, the opinion of the State Board of Health required that there should be 800 gallons of water for every person using the pool at one time. I couldn’t imagine how much water would have been needed for 200-300 swimmers.

A complete swimming pool consists of three parts: the pool, the bath house and the water supply and purification equipment. Essential parts of the pool are the circulation system, scum gutters, ladders, diving boards, lighting fixtures, walks, beaches, etc. The bath house should contain lockers, showers and toilets for men and women, an office, water supply equipment and storage space.
Most modern pools provide for both swimming and wading as this would accommodate small children to expert swimmers. The diving platform and tower would be placed in the center of the pool and could only be reached by swimmers. Brotherton’s plan would be the cheapest, safest and most satisfactory design for the city to construct.

Evidently, his swimming pool proposal was never adopted by the city over 80 years ago but his complete report with sketches and figures are still on file at the museum. Ray Brotherton died on October 27, 1960 at the age of 77.

Dear Negaunee Historical Society,
“This is a thank you to Virginia Paulson for providing a tour of the museum for Chapter EJ of Negaunee, P.E.O. on Saturday, January 13th. P.E.O. is a Christian women’s group that helps raise funds for scholarships, grants and loans for women wanting to further their education. Our local education program for our members was learning more about the museum. We would like to make a donation of $50.00 to the museum as a thank you”.
Chris Hendrickson, Treasurer


Front Row: Leon Korte, James Lahtinen, Lee Johnson, Bill White, Bruce Collins, Coach Harry Sortal
2nd Row: James Stolnack, Roger St. John, LeRoy Anderson, Fred Terres, Bob Thompson
3rd Row: Stanley Chapman, Dave Ghiardi, Jerry Johnson, Jack Korpi, James Gervae, Tom Hares
Back Row: Donald Roberts, Richard Salo, David Anderson, Robert Herman, Bill Hyry, Bill Kokko, David Tamblyn

(Information was provided by Robert Anderson of Virginia)

A patent request filed on July 17, 1024 by Joseph Sedlock, Sr was for a combination hangar and rest for saxophones. Almost four years later, the patent was finally approved on June 19, 1928 and Joseph and Charles M. Steele, both Negaunee residents, were the recipients of a government patent. Correction: I erroneously wrote that this patent was issued in 1924 in my December 2017 newsletter. Their invention related to combination hangers and rests for musical instruments but more particularly saxophones. The primary object was to provide a simple, economical and efficient article for this purpose. The hanger is adapted to enable the player to hang his instrument on a rack, a music stand, on the back of a chair or in fact on anything and the instrument will hang perfectly straight, allowing the condensation to drain to the bell, thereby protecting the key pads from moisture. This hanger and rest could be inserted in the lower end of the lyre socket of any size saxophone. It is so small that it can be left attached to the instrument without any inconvenience to the player. Also it will take no extra room in the instrument case or it may be carried in the pocket. This eliminates the carrying of heavy, inconvenient and expensive equipment for orchestra work.

Excerpts from "Negaunee Iron Herald" - 1968

It was 50 years ago this month that a Negaunee family was really involved in the district basketball tournament at the Memorial Gymnasium with Negaunee, Ishpeming, Gwinn and Munising competing against each other. Regardless of which school advanced, the “Ghiardi clan” would continue to follow the winning team to the regional that would be held the following week at Northern Michigan University. The children and the grandchildren of Joseph and Rosina Ghiardi more than likely gathered for a weekend of basketball excitement. The oldest son, Dominic, was the tournament manager and he would deliver the championship trophy to the winning team. Next was Peter, who lived in Negaunee but was a teacher at the Gwinn High School. The coaches were David “Mulla” Ghiardi (NHS 1955) for Munising and Gordon “Corky” Farragh (NHS 1953) (daughter Eugenia’s husband) for Ishpeming. The grandson was Joe Ghiardi who would be on the floor for the Miners. Oh, the 5th child in the “Ghiardi clan” was Catherine Haupt. She and husband Jack were probably working at the Beau Chateau that evening and would be serving lunch to the family members after the game, especially those from Munising. Pete Ghiardi probably had more complications in determining where his allegiance was, he being a teacher in Gwinn and watching his son Joey playing for the Maize and Blue. Undoubtedly occupying a reserved seat was “Pa” as Joseph was known by family and friends. Regardless of which school was presented the championship trophy by son Dominic, “Pa” would be sure to have a winner.


Can anyone recognize this picture from the past? It’s the present School Superintendent’s Office and the historic Breitung Hotel on the right. Notice the carriage in front.




Two years ago, our membership roll reached 300 for the first time ever and we reached that mark again in 2017. Now would be a good time for others to help and support the preservation of Negaunee’s history by renewing their membership and seeking new members. The museum displays are being continually updated and improved for our visitors. Thank you for all the past memberships, donations, gifts, grants and to all of our volunteers.