NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – What once was a booming mining town, Old Town Negaunee is rich in history even if the evidence is no longer visible.
“Everything that you see over here in Negaunee off to our east was here on the west side too,” Mike Ilmonen, the Heikki Lunta Snowshoe Lantern Tour guide said. “There were homes, businesses and there was a neighborhood as well as a big school, Jackson School up on top of the hill over here on Snow Street. People don’t remember that and a lot of people don’t even know it so I think that’s important history.”
This history rooted deep within the mining town will be the topic for a lantern-lit snowshoe tour through what once was a bustling downtown during the 2022 Heikki Lunta Festival.
“There will be three of them, so we’re going to do one on Friday evening, and then we’re going to do one late afternoon on Saturday and then early evening again on Saturday night,” Ilmonen said. “We will have hot coffee and hot chocolate here. We are also being sponsored by Trenary Toast so they have donated a ton of Trenary Toast for us. So we’ll have the hot chocolate, coffee, and Trenary Toast as little snacks right here. Then as you get everybody together we’re going to start walking around this little area and don’t expect to take too much more than an hour.”
Local 3’s Haley Schoengart got a preview of what you can expect from the tour.
“As we come around the corner from the pavilion and get here on to Mary Street we’ll be able to talk about the Mary house, the huge house that was owned by Captain Mary, one of the captains of the one of the mines here, the Jackson Mine,” Ilmonen said. “Of course, we have the Jackson Pit where Iron Ore was discovered is down there so we’ll be heading that way and that is too also part of Old Town. Iron Street is over here which was cut off many years ago and it had many businesses and shops, the city warehouse was right over there. There are all kinds of things to talk about. There were people’s houses that we are familiar with that were along Iron Street and in the area. This little area right here, this hole that you see right here is known as the Jackson Bowl. Over the years that’s where kids played all the time and they had summertime sports and in the wintertime, they would put a hockey rink in there and be able to go in there and do their winter sports in there.”
The Heikki Lunta Winter Festival will kick off at 5:00 P.M. on Friday, January 28, and activities will pick back up at 7:00 A.M. on Saturday, January 29.
For more information on the Heikki Lunta Festival, click here.