The Keweenaw Time Traveler's Explore App is getting an overhaul—at last! Since we launched in late 2017, the Explore App has been growing. The city directory data already connected to Sanborn Fire Insurance Plans have been joined by business directories and additional color maps. The most exciting growth has come from users adding story points. People add newspaper clips, memories of their families, and students add their historical research. There's even a recent marriage proposal story!
But also a lot of growth has been happening behind the scenes. Faculty, staff, and students in Michigan Tech's Geospatial Research Facility have been developing historical data sets to be mapped. An amazing set of records from the Calumet Schools have been transcribed and mapped. Census records from 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 are almost complete. A set of almost 40,000 Calumet & Hecla employee cards are also being digitized, transcribed, and mapped thanks to a major grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. Most importantly, the individual names in all of these records are being connected to one another and to residences on the maps so you will be able see connections between people and places over time.
Until now, however, the Explore App has not had the capacity to make these additional historical records available. But thanks to a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and additional funding from the Advisory Commission of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, we are redesigning the Explore App to make more data more accessible to more people. We have teamed up with Monte Consulting in Houghton, a nationally recognized web developer to create a powerful and beautiful new Explore App.
In December 2020, we held the first of several design charrettes to get guidance from users and colleagues. Thanks to all who participated! Your feedback helped us and Monte move forward. Right now, programming is underway and we can't wait to show you an updated version and get more of your ideas. Keep an eye open for announcements in the Spring!
History is about the people who lived it, and archival material has allowed us a glimpse into the lives of early migrants from Quebec, Canada to the Keweenaw. The HESA Lab is a partner in an international collaborative research project called Three Centuries of Francophone Migration in North America 1640–1940, which unites over 40 researchers in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, and Europe to better understand the historical experiences and contemporary relevance of French-speaking people throughout the continent. At Michigan Tech, researchers will use the Keweenaw Time Traveler and other resources to investigate the lives of French-Canadian migrants to the Copper Country explore their greater significance for the development of society and industry in the Upper Peninsula.
Undergraduate history major Brooke Batterson has been learning more about one of the first families to arrive from Québec after industrial mining got underway who settled in a place that came to be known as Gregoryville (near Lake Linden). She has created a Story Map, which provides an immersive experience with historical maps and archival images to explore, as well as stories to read and share.
Sarah Scarlett, assistant professor of history, and Don Lafreniere, associate professor of geography and GIS, in the Social Sciences department, will use the Keweenaw Time Traveler and a combination of spatial and archival datasets to focus specifically on whether French-Canadians were socially mobile as they migrated from Canada to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the period of 1860 to 1940.
Geospatial Research Scientists Ryan Williams and Daniel Lizzadro-McPherson, in collaboration with Dr. Don Lafreniere and Dr. Guy Meadows, presented their work to map historic rates of change along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, at the Lakebed 2030 Tech Surge conference. The event took place in October of 2019 in Traverse City. At the conference, Ryan and Daniel shared the latest technological advancements with Great Lakes communities and businesses, which are reliant on shoreline data to make important decisions that impact everyone living or working along the shore.
“A main component of these land use planning methods is an understanding of the history of shoreline and coastal bluff change over time. This project uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map historic aerial images from 2016, 2009, 1980 and 1938 and used those images to create historic shoreline and bluff line features that could be used to visualize historic coastlines and characterize areas vulnerable to future shoreline change.” (1)
Community Planning groups such as Networks Northwest and Land Information Access Association were in attendance and were aided by the creation of the Community Coastal Resiliency Strategy, and a GIS map and app containing imagery and maps of Great Lakes shorelines, bluff lines, and a 30-year bluff-retreat risk analysis. These groups and more have gained a new tool and insight which can be used to move business, and residential development, forward along Great Lakes shores.
***Financial assistance for this project was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Developing the Copper Country Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure (CC-HSDI) (aka Keweenaw Time Traveler) has been an ambitious endeavor, bringing together researchers, students, and the heritage community to build a space-time linked deep map that revolutionizes the way people use historical maps and data. Since work started in 2015, our team has developed data-rich maps for our region between the years 1888-1950, linking different archival records such as city and business directories. In the first three years of the project community member “citizen historians” made over 250,000 classifications and transcriptions in the three builder apps. This data is automatically added to the more than 116,000 building footprints and other records which are available in the Keweenaw Time Traveler Explore app.
Since the beginning of the project we have been committed to community engagement, hosting 10 public design charrettes and introducing users to the Time Traveler at 21 festivals and public events between 2017-18.
Teammates successfully published 2 dissertations, presented over 30 conference papers, and published 11 peer-reviewed papers in interdisciplinary journals which included American Quarterly, Journal of Community Heritage and Society, and Historical Methods.
We are honored to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities has awarded us a three-year grant to move the CC-HSDI and the Keweenaw Time Traveler to the next phase! Much of the $324,985 awarded will go to support Michigan Tech students who will learn on-the-job skills in historical GIS and geospatial technology applications for public history.
Phase IV of our project has three main goals:
Toward the end of this three-year grant period, we will also offer tools for reproducibility so that other communities might be able to build their own “deep maps.” We plan to host webinars and make freely available the process, procedures, and coding that we used. The Keweenaw Time Traveler has been developed specifically to match the history, landscape, and archival resources here in our community. Other communities will need to tailor their deep maps to their own specific needs and resources. But sharing our process should make the concepts accessible so they can be used to produce rich digital spatial humanities projects that create meaning and context in other locations. These webinars will help other scholars and communities to begin building deep maps that serve their individual needs without having to reinvent the wheel.
This project has made, and is now able to continue making, theoretical and methodological contributions to the fields of historical GIS, spatial humanities, and public history. Phase IV will innovate our platform and methods, and empower others to use deep mapping to study and protect their own cultural heritage. We anticipate that three main groups will immediately benefit from our planned work, being the field of digital spatial humanities, researchers in social, cultural or environmental studies, and residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula whose work with KeTT is a contribution to their own histories.
The Keweenaw Time Traveler is made possible, in part, by our partners in MTU Social Sciences, the Advisory Council of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and the National Endowment For the Humanities.
Today we have reluctantly said farewell to a long time, Time Traveler, Rose. Rose has worked with KeTT since 2015. Users may remember seeing her at the various festivals and public events we hosted over the years. She was a mentor for our high school GIS training program, GRACE, worked on our ‘schools-as-vectors for infectious disease’ project, and much more.
Rose has moved on and up, now pursuing a MS in Geography in the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario. At HEAL Rose will be investigating the intersections of children’s health and the built environment.
We would like to congratulate Rose on her new position, and hope she comes around to say hello once in a while. We bid you farewell on your adventures and may all your travels be timeless.
Our team has been working behind the scenes for months to improve your experience in the Explore App. These functionality upgrades are just the beginning of a larger redesign that will be happening over the next 18 months. When COVID-19 in under control and we can host public design charrettes again, we will be asking you—our users—for feedback. But in the meantime, please try out the new functionalities and let us know what you think in the comments.
With this new version, searching for people, places, and stories will be a lot easier, as will sharing what you find on the Time Traveler. Instead of searching by Address, Person, Place, or Story, there will only be one search bar where you can search keywords in every category.
Your search results will be reported in the categories of Buildings, People, Places, and Stories with parenthetical numbers to tell you how many results you got in each category. For instance, the results below appear after you enter "Smith" in the Global Search bar, which results in 195 people, 28 places (which includes businesses), and 13 stories. Clicking on any of these results will take you to that location on a map closest to the year of the record.
SHARING SEARCH RESULTS
One major upgrade introduced today is the ability to share your results with friends using a distinct web address. When you find a map and search results that you want to share, click the blue "Share" button to get a link that will take other users to exactly the search results and map view that you created. This way you can share an interesting building, person, or fun story on social media, in an email, or embed it on your own website! Just click on the blue Share button to get a shareable URL.
SUMMARY OF OCCUPATIONS
Have you ever wanted to find a neighborhood where trammers worked and lived? Or are you looking for foundry workers or lumbermen? You can now see a pie chart of all the occupations for people living in the range of the map you are viewing. These occupations are as listed in the City Directories. These occupations and their percentages will change as you zoom and pan around the map, changing with what houses and people are in view. With this feature you can see how neighborhoods change throughout time and across towns. Below is the pie chart for a section of Calumet in the 1900s.
Thank you to the students in Dr. Robert Pastel's computer science course who worked to build these new functionalities, especially Mason Sayles, who helped us implement it over Summer 2020.
Written By: Kevin White, HESAL Research Associate working on the "Michigan Miners at Home and Work" Project
Looking at mining company records can be a much more difficult process than you might think. Often as I am reading the data recorded on employee cards (birthdays, birth place, name, and nationality of family members), it never crossed my mind that some of that data could be wrong. Every now and again I might find addendums that were added to the employee cards, such as an update on the card when a miner gets married, but it is very unusual to see sweeping changes like those found on the employee card of one Kamel Ally.
When I initially started working to transcribe this card, I thought that there had perhaps been a miscommunication between the employee and the Calumet & Hecla clerk that had filled out the employment card. It wouldn't be the first time that something like that had happened. However, continuing to read through the card eventually brought to light a situation that was unlike any I had found before.
Transcription of Note: "Regarding the record of Carl Ally. On May 31, 1917 the man called and stated that when he entered our service in May 1915 he gave incorrect information in order to conceal his nationality. He is a Turk and claims to have had trouble securing and holding a job on that account. See the record shown in Red on reverse side is correct."
Ally had intentionally falsified his information when applying for work at Calumet & Hecla. While this deceit alone made the card stand out from the others, my interest was further compounded when I found the reason he had lied: to achieve equal employment opportunity. At first glance at this information is interesting, and represents an anomaly among many of the other employment cards being reviewed and digitized for the Mapping Miners at Home and Work project, however I learned so much more by taking a deeper look at what this information meant.
First off, this card provides compelling evidence of a history of employment discrimination against Turkish people. At the time when he applied for the job, ethnic tensions were high around the world. Discussing the topic with Emily Riippa, one of the archivists at the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University, she mentioned that at the time Mr. Ally began working with Calumet & Hecla in 1915, World War One was entering its second year of fighting. During 1915, America had yet to enter the war, however the Ottoman Empire (the homeland of the Turks) had allied itself with Germany. While at the time America was not involved in the war, as a nation people had begun to recognize the Germans and other Central Powers (including the Ottoman Empire) as hostile powers. It is quite possible that this was the reason he may have lost his previous job, and as such when he was applying for his position at Calumet & Hecla, he chose to hide this information.
However, as the war progressed and America sided with the Allied Powers, hiding the fact that one was from a hostile nation would become riskier. This is compounded by the fact that the copper mines in the Keweenaw were a key asset in America's war-time production. Emily believes that it is quite possible for him to have revealed this information in order to protect himself from being suspected as a spy for the Central Powers. I believe he may have also done it as a sign of good faith toward the higher-ups at Calumet & Hecla. It was mentioned on his employee card that he had previously been dismissed from work due to being "disobedient". While this (like many things on the employee card) is vague, it is quite possible that he had been discharged due to working with union lobbyists or strikers, which were people who would have been seen as disobedient to the higher-ups at C&H. He may have revealed his true national origins alongside agreements to not work with those groups in order to get his job back at C&H, where he ended up working until early 1918.
Mr. Ally's employee card gives us just a small glance into what the life of a Turkish immigrant might have been like in the United States. There were many Turkish immigrants who arrived in the country in the early 1900s similar to Mr. Ally, and their stories echo similar discrimination. Many Turks immigrated prior to World War I and adopted Christian names (such as Carl, as opposed to Kamel) in order to try and assimilate into the predominantly Christian America and avoid persecution and discrimination. Many Turkish people also chose to immigrate back out of America after the Republic of Turkey was formed in 1922. But it appears that Mr. Ally decided to stay in America despite discrimination he had suffered in the past, as can be seen by Mr. Ally's participation in the American census (thanks again to Emily for finding that!). It is also worth noting that he did continue to use the name Carl on these later documents, perhaps to assimilate into American life.
American government and industrial powers bred suspicion and distrust during WWI. The neighboring Quincy Mining Company posted this notice in 1918 printed in six different languages instructing citizens and non-citizens alike to follow orders and avoid the appearance of treason. HAER MICH, 31-HANC, 1-278, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.mi0086.photos.089087p/
Upon reviewing Mr. Ally's card, another question comes to mind: how many other people falsified their information? It is highly unlikely that Mr. Ally was alone in his scenario, and there were likely additional employees who chose to change their names and nationalities in order to avoid discrimination. Many of those documents may never have been rewritten or marked. It reminds me that data should not just be taken at face value. I am studying computer science as my major, and I am used to dealing with data sets with thousands of entries. But seeing things like this reminds me that every data point has a story and a person behind it. The data we collect from the Mapping Miners at Home and Work project can be used not only to help us create an overarching view of history in the Keweenaw, but also to bring to light the lives of the individuals who made it what it is today.
Recently, James Juip, Senior Research Associate here in the HESA Lab, has undertaken the task of cleaning up the City Directory data that makes up much of the historical records currently available in the Explore App. His work will make it easier to read and understand information about historical people by removing "Null" entries and expanding the shorthand found in the directory to full occupation titles. For example, "lab" was the shorthand used for "laborer", and "clk" was the shorthand for "clerk". These two jobs are among the five most common jobs in the City Directory, along with Miner, Student, and Trammer.
In addition to finding and cleaning common jobs, James also found several unusual professions listed in the directories. Some of our favorites include:
Among these unusual professions were also the jobs of Huckster, Clairvoyant, Broom Maker, Traveler, Scissor Grinder, and Sauerkraut Manufacturer. What interesting historical jobs do you know of or can you find in the Keweenaw?
Building Use Classification Handbook
The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering Sciences (GMES) is happy to announce that Master's student Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson's talk, Remapping the Keweenaw Fault and Discovery of Related Structures in Michigan's Historic Copper District, was awarded the Best Graduate Oral Presentation from the Geological Society of America's 2020 North-Central Section Meeting, held online this past May. The talk was featured in the Unique Geology and Geoheritage of the Lake Superior Region Session led by Erika Vye, William Rose, Jim Miller, and James DeGraff. Lizzadro-McPherson presented on the history of mapping the Keweenaw Fault and the current remapping efforts aimed at understanding this complex fault system in northern Keweenaw County. For more information about this project or to receive a link to the virtual presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.