Woven wool rug in the east parlor of the lighthouse circa 1897. Weavers have always been a part of the arts and crafts community in Ontonagon.
Oil painting of locally built fishing boat the Viking II. Ontonagon was an important fishing port until the lake trout population crashed due to lamprey invasion in the 1960s.
Fall Lake of the Clouds oil painting by George Johnson. The Lake of the Clouds is perhaps the most photographed feature in the Porcupine Mountains region.
Summer Lake of the Clouds oil painting by George Johnson. The Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area is located in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Spinning Wheel in Granny’s room on the ground floor of the lighthouse circa 1880’s. James Corgan’s mother would spend part of her summers at the Ontonagon lighthouse and, perhaps, outfit the children with mittens, caps and scarves for the coming winter.
Poetry and Pressed Flowers Book birch bark made by Helen Woodworth Paul daughter of James K. Paul. His first building in what would become Ontonagon was the Deadfall Saloon.
Lake Superior Flowers, pressed flowers on birch bark made by Helen Woodworth Paul daughter of James K. Paul, the founder of Ontonagon. He chose the east bank of the Ontonagon River for the town site because the Ojibway had a permanent settlement on the west bank.
Painted Propeller B-17 blade from the plane that crashed in the Porcupine Mountains on April 19, 1944 after losing an engine on a training run. It was ditch in Lake Superior or crash in the Porkies, and the crew chose a hard landing in the Porkies over dying of hypothermia in the big lake.
Thomas Stripe Jr., self portrait painted by looking at reflection in mirror. His father, Thomas Stripe Sr., inaugurated the 1866 brick lighthouse by moving in with his wife Katherine and their six children. Stripe was the lighthouse keeper until 1883.
Quilt with Flying Geese pattern in the Keeper’s bedroom in the lighthouse. A local quilting club using antique fabric made the quilt. Thomas and Katherine Stripe would have used this bedroom and bunked the children in the larger room on the second floor.
Worsted Slipper made by Mrs. James Mercer for display at first Ontonagon County Fair 1868. Worsted is a fine, smooth yarn spun from combed, long-staple wool.
Wooden Round Top Trunk brought from Norway circa 1858 by the Elmer Webber family. Immigrant families would have arrived in Ontonagon with most or all of their belongings in trunks like this one. Ontonagon County provided a destination for families from Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Mice in Bread oil painting by Josephine Corgan circa late 1890’s. This painting hangs in what became the master bedroom of lighthouse and answers the question, “Did the family need a mouse bread drawer in the Hoosier-style kitchen cabinet.
Hunting Camp shadow box miniature of UP hunting camp. Hunting camps are the traditional abode of deer hunters during firearm deer season in late November.
Woolen Barn Socks hand knitted by Mrs. Henry Antilla 1918. Barn socks were typically knitted out of wool and rose over the calf of the wearer.
Woolen Coverlet woven by Sylvia Laitala. Sylvia established Syl’s Café, which is still a River Street anchor business.
Skier Judge Toys manufactured by Ontonagon Judge of Probate Charles Willman. Willman wrote several articles about Ontonagon history including “Events of 100 Years Ago Recalled by Files” for the Ironwood Globe in 1960.
Wooden Logging Truck, another popular Judge Toys manufactured in Mass City during World war II when raw materials were in short supply.
Reciprocating Loggers, an axe swinging action toy made by Judge Willman. All of the Judge Toys are exhibited as a collection in the Ontonagon County Historical Museum.
C. V. Millian Lumber Company Locomotive oil painting by Ontonagon High School students. Lumbering became the main industry in Ontonagon County after the mines closed in the 1870s.
Ontonagon Fishing Pier Scene oil painting by Ontonagon High School Students based on 1910 photograph. The scene illustrates the vibrant fishing industry in Ontonagon that provided whitefish, lake trout and fish livers to restaurants in Chicago and New York.
Mine Hoist, an oil painting by Ontonagon High School students. The hoist would have been an essential piece of machinery in underground mines, transporting both men and copper ore between the surface and the workings.
Hand carved rolling pin on display in the lighthouse kitchen. In many households, a family member would have carved simple, wooden kitchen tools such as rolling pins and spoons.
Hand made lace collar on display in lighthouse master bedroom. James and Josephine Corgan moved into the large “bunk room” on the second floor to give themselves a more generous space.
First Ontonagon County Courthouse. Alex Enos created this oil painting from memory by in 1898 while incarcerated in Marquette Brach Prison.
Deluxe Hoosier in the lighthouse kitchen has a flour sifter on left side and pie shelves on right side. The lower right hand drawer is a tin lined mouse proof drawer with a sliding lid. The paper piece hanging inside the sifter drawer is a kitchen timer and includes cooking times for meats, vegetables and baked goods.
Scottish Highlands, oil paintings by Grace Adams. Ontonagon County mines attracted immigrants from Wales, Cornwall, England, Scotland and Ireland.
Little Grace, an 1885 watercolor painting by Grace Adams, is one of the few surviving works by Grace Johnson Adams who lived in Ontonagon in the late 19th century.
Painting of a schooner displayed at the Ontonagon lighthouse. Because if its’ shallower draft, the schooner was an ideal ship to transport men, materials, supplies and livestock to Ontonagon in the 1800’s, before roads or railroads existed.
Painting of the Ontonagon lighthouse (and outhouse) in the mid 20th century displayed at the lighthouse. The painting can be dated because long woodshed that extended from the kitchen addition has been replaced by a small structure, and the shutters on the windows have been removed. In the 1990’s, a writer for the Lighthouse Digest visited the Ontonagon lighthouse and expressed amazement that the campus still housed the 1866 brick outhouse.
Logging Display in Museum
James K. Paul’s Cabin
Museum farm tools
Museum ancient miner artifacts
Ancient Miner Artifacts
Ontonagon Lighthouse Interior
Bruce Johanson spinning
Ontonagon Lighthouse Interior
Room in Lighthouse
Tools from the Horse Age
Ontonagon Lighthouse Interior