Hanka Homestead Museum, Keweenaw National Historic Park
While many Keweenaw National Historic Park sites focus on copper mining and its impact on the region, others like the Hanka Homestead Museum show a different side of life in the 1920s. Many of the mine works came to Michigan from Finland, and some soon wanted to focus on the farming life that they had previously known. The Hanka Homestead is a “stump farm,” and it shows what life was like for Herman Hanka, a miner who was left deaf and maimed after an explosion. This was one of the many sites we featured in our 26 Things to See and Do at Keweenaw National Historic Park.
“Many who knew him said Herman never recovered emotionally after the disaster. After the mine catastrophe, Herman sought the independence and solitude of a stump farm. To make the self-reliant lifestyle work, Finnish immigrants used seasonal work strategies to supplement their agricultural income. Many logged in the winter, trapped animals seasonally for pelts, and fished area lakes and rivers for food and profit.” Among the farm’s features are restored barns, living quarters and other buildings as well as a collection of antique farming equipment.
When visiting the Hanka Homestead, it is immediately clear how isolated and self-reliant these farmers had to be. The desire for freedom and willingness to do hard work for minimal profit speaks to a work ethic that is very uncommon in the modern era, and it is great that KNHP has helped preserve this site for all to visit and enjoy.
The Hanka Homestead is located roughly six miles from U.S. 41 near Pelkie. Follow the brown KNHP signs to turn onto Tower Rd. and then continue to follow them as the paved road ends and a narrow road leads into the woods. A $3 donation is suggested as the admission cost for visiting this historic site, find out more at http://www.keweenawheritagesites.org/site-Hanka_Homestead_Museum.php. You’ll find staff on hand 12:00PM – 4:00PM on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. You can also learn more about special events at http://www.hankahomesteadmuseum.org/.