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IRONWOOD -- With fall here and winter on the way, it's time to start thinking about keeping warm during the cold months. But do you know the history of one of the most recognizable hats in the U.P.?
It's become a trademark of a true yooper. The hat with the earband. Perfect for the long, cold, snowy winter months. But how did the Stormy Kromer hat come to be?
Gina Thorsen, President, Stormy Kromer, explains, "So Stormy Kromer is named after a person who was named George 'Stormy' Kromer and he lived in the Green Bay area of Wisconsin. And he was a semi-pro baseball player who eventually started to work on the railroad."
But working on the railroad in the Wisconsin winters proved to be too much for Stormy's hats. The story goes that after losing multiple hats, he asked his wife, Ida, for help.
Thorsen continues, "He came home one night and he had an old baseball cap and he asked his wife, Ida, to sew and ear band on it to help it stay on his head and keep his ears warm. So that was how the cap was born, that was in 1903."
Stormy's fellow railroad workers quickly wanted their own Stormy Kromer caps and in 1919 a factory was opened in Milwaukee.
Fast forward to 2001, the company, still in Milwaukee, was on the verge of closing. That's when Bob Jacquart of Jacquart Fabrics in Ironwood, Michigan bought the company and one month later, production officially began in the U.P. Seemingly, finally making it home.
Thorsen says, "It's funny, when we bought the cap from the gentleman in Milwaukee, he actually said the problem with this hat is that the entire market is within 60 miles of Ironwood. So, I don't know why, but for whatever reason it has always kind of had it's home here. I think because it's functionable, it's durable, it's meant to withstand our winters that we have. The U.P. has embraced it and we love it, it's just natural that it's wound up here."
Tune in to Local 3 News tomorrow to see the second installment of Yooper Jobs where we go behind the scenes of production and find out how a Stormy Kromer hat is made.
For more information on Stormy Kromer visit their website here.