150th celebration coming to an end

HANCOCK – The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the city of Hancock is coming to an end with two more major events, and one minor one, according to John Haeussler.

Haeussler, who is a member of the Hancock City Council and chairman of the city’s sesquicentennial committee, said the first upcoming event is a presentation about painter and photographer Edward Steichen, who lived in Hancock for about 10 years as a child.

“He lived in Hancock for most of the 1880s,” Haeussler said.

The free event will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Copper Country Community Arts Center on Quincy Street in Hancock. Local writer and photographer Charles Eshbach will talk about Steichen’s work as a photographer.

Eshbach said he’s urging all local photographers to come to the presentation, which he’s titled Calling All Photographers, whether they know about Steichen or not.

“If you’ve been a serious photographer at all, you’ll be able to see how Steichen influenced you,” he said. “Every serious photographer in the Keweenaw should see this presentation.”

Eshbach said Steichen was influential in nature, fashion and architectural photography in the early 20th century. In World War I and World War II, he was in charge of the military photography corps.

Steichen’s family, including his sister, Lilian, who was poet Carl Sandburg’s wife, lived in a building on the lot on Quincy Street now occupied by Nutini’s Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge, and Haeussler said there will be a ceremony next week to place a plaque on the front of the building indicating the Steichen’s house used to stand on that site.

Haeussler said the final event for the sesquicentennial celebration is a free presentation about early Italian leadership in Hancock, which will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Finnish American Heritage Center on Quincy Street. The talk will be given by Debbie Mann, who is a member of the Hancock planning commission.

A book for the sesquicentennial called Hidden Gems and Towering Tales was created, which focused on people, such as Steichen, who either grew up in Hancock, or came to the area as an adult, but had an impact in their field or business.

“We’ve gotten comments on the uniqueness of it,” he said.

One of those comments from the August-September edition of Lake Superior Magazine said, “This highly readable, fascinating collection profiles remarkable people with local ties. Some left their impact on Hancock; some left their mark on the world.”

The book and events were sponsored by 49 businesses who provided a total of $20,000, and Haeussler said they enjoyed how their money was used.

“From what I’ve heard, the sponsors have all been pleased with what happened,” he said.

After the final presentations, Haeussler said there will have been 17 events for the sesquicentennial celebration beginning in January with a presentation about hockey in Hancock.

“They’ve all been well attended,” Haeussler said of the events.

Haeussler said based on comments he’s gotten or heard about, the events of the year were enjoyed by those attended them.

“I think (the celebration) was very well received,” he said.

More than 1,000 people attended all the events, so far, Haeussler said. One of the more popular events was a presentation by Hancock Fire Department Capt. Mark Dennis, who talked about infamous fires when Hancock was a village and later a city.

Haeussler said also on the sesquicentennial committee were Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson, Roland Burgan, Jack Eberhard (whose company, The Book Concern, published the sesquicentennial publication), Eshbach, Robert Grame, Mary Pekkala and Rob Roy.

Haeussler said the main criticism of the events he’s heard is that it was spread over the entire year, which made it difficult to plan for some out-of-town people who may have wanted to see only one particular event.

Despite that concern, Haeussler said he thinks the sesquicentennial events were well worth the effort.

“I think it was a wonderful idea to do it,” he said. “It sparked a lot of interest in people.”