Eastward of Duluth-Superior, along the south shore of Lake Superior, lie
several small fishing villages. Here, along the shoreline, Port Wing was
the first consolidated school district in Wisconsin; early settlement and
development of the territory was along the shore of the lakes. Port Wing,
by the way, may have been one of the first communities in the U. S. to bus
students, so to speak. Wagons and sleds were used to bring them to the large
three-story clapboard schoolhouse.
It was just to the east that Minneapolis lawyer Thomas J. Stevenson sailed
along the shore around the turn of the century and noticed the abundance
of wild fruit and grasses growing throughout the countryside. Remembering
the mythological horn of plenty, he named the town he founded here in 1902
Cornucopia. He may have been a bit optimistic; the coming railroad bypassed
The land past Cornucopia ends in a blunt, red-banked point, then Chequamegon
Bay curves briefly back to the west. At the tip of this point the Red Cliff
Reservation is home to nearly 500 Chippewa natives. It was one of these
Chippewa, named Nanabazhoo, that caught the imagination of poet Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow, although it appears he didn't fancy the name. Instead he borrowed
the name of a legendary Onondaga chief here in New York, shifted it to the
other end of the Great Lakes, and called his hero Hiawatha. So, if you're
looking for the shores of Gitcheegoomee you might try north of Syracuse.
The final North American glacial period ended here somewhere around 14,000
B. C., in the period known as the Wisconsinian. One souvenir it left behind
was a series of islands off the northern and eastern shore of the point.
A group of Jesuits priests settled on the 21 islands in the group, later
British trader Jonathan Carver set up a post there. Someone decided that
there were twelve of the islands, and so they were named the Apostles. Curiously
enough, none of the islands actually took on the name of apostles, unless
there was a different set we don't know about, with names like Madeline,
Basswood, Hermit, Manitou, Rocky, Gull, Stockton, Michigan. And Devils?
I don't think so.
The islands became hosts to waves of tourists as resorts of the wealthy
sprang up along the lake shore. If you ferry out to Madeline Island today
you can tour a museum of the American Fur Company (which means it was British-owned)
or play on a golf course designed by Robert Treat Jones. The Apostles have
five lighthouse and six shipwrecks. One of the latter, the schooner barge
Noquebay caught fire in 1905 and was beached on Stockton Island. Unlike
many Lakes wrecks, there was no loss of life. But 600,000 board feet of
hemlock lumber never made it to its final destination, the lumberyards of
OUTRO: For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
© 1998 David Minor / Eagles Byte
RADIO SCRIPTS INDEX
EAGLES BYTE HOME PAGE