Historical and Environmental Projects
Following the GLC business meeting on August 3, 2010, Lee Sweitz, Ph.D. student in the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program at Michigan Tech, gave an engaging presentation on her research on the history of Bammert farm. Lee is focusing her study on the food system which supported the mining industry in 19th and early 20th century Copper Country. Bammert Farm, located about two miles west of Gratiot Lake in the headwaters of Snake Creek and the Bruneau River, is a main subject of her inquiry.
Lee found that Jonas Bammert immigrated to the Keweenaw from Baden, Germany and that in his 20’s he worked as a miner at Cliff Mine in 1854. He made the first of several land purchases for farming in 1857. His farm grew to help feed the burgeoning population of miners at Cliff and Central mines. It was in its heyday by the 1880’s and by the turn of the 1900’s was known as the “best farm in the Keweenaw.” Through examination of transactions at Foley & Smith Store and Petermann Stores and the state agricultural census, Sweitz found Bammert Farm sold oats, Irish potatoes, hay, clover, and timber. The records show that a good portion of production was in crops used to feed livestock. In the 1890’s the thriving farm expanded to dairy production, a market garden, and apples. Logging was mostly done during the winter.
Photo Courtesy of Keweenaw County Historical Society,
Margaret Hoffenbecker Collection
The farm was owned by Jonas Bammert who passed away at 82 years of age in 1909 (Mining Gazette headline “Aged Pioneer Dies”), and then by his heirs until 1916. The 480 acre farm was eventually owned by Petermann Stores and purchased by Joseph and Mary Lizzadro in 1934. The children of Joseph and Mary Lizzadro donated four hundred and sixty-six acres of Bammert farm to GLC in 2004.
The Conservancy now has a sustainable forestry plan for Bammert Farm which includes an educational collaboration with the Keweenaw Community Forest Company and Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. The selective logging will ultimately produce a healthier and more diverse ecosystem. Care is being taken to protect the historical remnants that remain there.
Lee Sweitz is eager to learn more about Bammert Farm and to find answers to such questions as:
How many people worked at Bammert Farm at any one time?
Were workers from any particular ethnic group?
Where did the workers live?
What was daily life like at Bammert farm?
Were other crops grown on the farm?
Who are the people in the historic photographs which have been provided by the Keweenaw County Historical Society’s (KCHS) Hoffenbecker Collection and by Frank Carlton?
Descendants of Jonas Bammert, many of whom live locally, were in attendance at Lee’s presentation. Interviews with descendants whose families were involved with Bammert Farm have been helpful in Lee’s research. Lee is hopeful that others in the area who may know the missing pieces of this history or have documents or photos that pertain to Bammert Farm will be interested in sharing the information. Please contact Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org 906-281-6205
In addition to gathering historical data regarding Bammert Farm, Gina Nicholas and Nick Wilson have been busy exploring the property and have installed GLC boundary signs and blocked open roads/trails at Bammert Farm. In a recent Powerpoint presentation to the GLC Board, Gina presented some of this historical information she has gathered.
Gina will be doing a more complete history for the Historical Society.
Bammert Farm History
Jonas Bammert - original owner circa 1850 was logger and farmer.
Known as the "Best Farm in Keweenaw" circa 1900 under Jonas and Joseph P. Bammert.
Jonas died 1909 and Joseph died by 1912; Farm changed hands several times and ended up with Petermann Stores.
480 acres purchased by Joseph and Mary Lizzadro in 1934.
466 acres gifted by the children of Joseph and Mary to Gratiot Lake Conservancy in 2004.
Bammert Farm Preserve Goals
History -- early mining, logging, farming
Gina's Nicholas's Powerpoint presentation (originally 110 MB) including numerous photos of the property
can be downloaded in smaller pdf or Quicktime formats below.