Upper Peninsula iron that helped put the world on wheels is coming back to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. Commemorating a 120-year-old link between Michigan’s iron and the automotive industry, the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee will host the 28th annual “Iron, Steel and the Automobile” celebration Sunday, June 18, from noon to 4 p.m. The event will feature more than 50 pre-1970 automobiles and light trucks.
Museum historian Barry James noted that, although the auto industry dates back to 1896, when the Duryea brothers built and sold their first run of 13 motor wagons in Massachusetts, “It was Michigan men like R. E. Olds and Henry Ford who improved the invention in the early 20th century. They used steel manufactured from Upper Peninsula iron ore and mass-produced cars. The automobile went from being a symbol of wealth to a middle-class necessity.”
Individuals and community partners from across the Upper Peninsula will come together at “Iron, Steel and the Automobile.” Owners and their vehicles include John West of Marquette with a 1911 Model T, Tammy and Larry Biciogo of Crystal Falls with a 1919 Dodge Brother’s Model 30, Darrell Rouna of Ishpeming with a 1932 International Harvester Model A tow truck and Allen Wall of Kingsford with a 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible. The Michigamme Museum will offer its 1928 Ford Model AA, and the Marquette Township Fire Department will show off its 1937 Studebaker fire trucks. All vehicles at the exhibit are in original or restored-to-original condition.
At 1:30 p.m., there will be a special presentation by Robert Kreipke in the museum auditorium. The Ford Motor Company corporate historian will examine the many connections between Ford and the Upper Peninsula, which was a source for the company’s raw materials. Seating is limited.
Music rounds out the day, with the Keweenaw Bluffs band performing popular music of the Swing Era, as well as music that stirred the youth of the 1950s and early 1960s. Senors Food Truck, coupled with Willy Nilly’s Good and Chilly frozen treats, will offer a variety of summer fare to eat for the afternoon.
Public admission to “Iron, Steel and the Automobile” is a suggested donation of $3 per vehicle; admission to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum is free, although donations are appreciated.
The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is a nationally accredited museum located at 73 Forge Road in Negaunee, eight miles west of Marquette; enter off of U.S. 41. For more information, call 906-475-7857 or visit www.michigan.gov/ironindustrymuseum.