Small Towns: Marinette Historical Museum

MARINETTE, Wis. - The history of Marinette as we know it was built on the backs of folks who signed up for work in the logging industry. 

On Stevenson Island in Marinette, there’s a one of a kind museum that captures a moment in time in the late 1800’s when Marinette was on the cutting edge of expansion. 

“At one time we were about 16 thousand people during the boom era so to speak. Now we’re down to less than 11 thousand,” said Ed Baetke, Marinette Historical Museum curator. 

The museum is a place that showcases a window into Marinette’s history that produced great changes in a matter of a handful of decades.

“I’ve heard that we built about 1/3rd of Chicago after the Chicago fire so a lot of it must have gone to Chicago and went to Milwaukee,” said Baetke.

A tour of the museum will walk you through what it was actually like to be a lumber jack.

“Get up in the morning work till you’re tired, you go to bed and sleep, you get up before the sun gets up and you start all over again,” said Baetke. 

Many of the jacks were farmers who would get out of their fields during the winter and head to the woods. This was an opportunity for them to make cash and pretty decent daily wages for their time.

“Some of the better cutters would make maybe a buck and a half some maybe two bucks,” said Baetke. 

So if you want to take a look at how the logging industry helped shape a community and left its mark on history, consider checking out the Marinette Historical Museum for a one of a kind exhibit that showcases how real work can be marveled at to the extent that you’ll go down in history for it.

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