Vintage Photos of Beaver Island: 1900-1965
This is in no way a definitive bio of Beaver Island...this is simply a nutshell version to whet your appetite...
The white man began arriving on Beaver Island in the early 1800s, trapping, fishing, logging, and hunting. White traders and trappers began to appear in the early 1800s. Trapping, fishing, and cutting wood for the passing steamers allowed men to earn a living at this frontier.
In 1848, the Mormons began arriving, led by James Strang; the Mormons eventually forced all other residents off the island. Strang formed his Mormon colony which grew to such numbers, he proclaimed himself “king” and gave himself a harem of wives. All this “king” business and his numerous wives led to unhappy followers, of which a couple of them ended up assassinating Strang in 1856.
With Strang gone, the Mormons continued to turn the wilderness of the island into a civilized land, with roads, homes, and businesses. Mail had to be delivered by dog & sled teams that traveled across the ice from island to mainland.
The Mormons soon sought a life elsewhere, and the Irish fishermen began to appear.
Feodor Protar was a newspaper editor and acor who came to Beaver Island in order to help his fellow man. He gave free medical assistance to those who couldn't afford it and gave them spiritual help. He died in 1925, and his island friends and family erected what is now known as “Protar's Tomb” that awaits visitors to this day.
1905: Telegraph cable connected the island with the mainland
1926: Regular mail service was implemented
1940s: Lamprey eels began sucking the life out of the fish, making the fish industry suffer
The younger generation on the island began leaving to make their mark on the world and life elsewhere. The 1,000+ population was now under 200. However, Beaver Island survived – and still does – with construction the main business, replacing the fish and logging industries.
This is just a brief nutshell bio, of which you can read more HERE.
Take a look at the gallery below to see what Beaver Island looked like well over 100 years ago.
Vintage Beaver Island
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