Birdwatching takes me to lots of different places, national forests, wildlife areas, and some of the smallest towns in the Midwest.
This month my travels took me to Ishpeming, Michigan, a small town in the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
And what I found didn’t disappoint.
Located on the side of the Gauthier Insurance Building on Main Street in Ishpeming, Michigan, I found an impressive 30-foot tall mural of three iron ore miners inside a mine.
I only caught a glimpse of the mural as we drove through town admiring an old church and happened to glance sideways.
If you look closely at the mural, you’ll notice one of the miners kneeling with his half-eaten pasty, one of the best known foods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
You know how people in Chicago talk about their pizza?
Well, people in Michigan, especially in the Upper Peninsula, talk about their pasty, a meat pie with rutabagas (or carrots) and potatoes.
Background of the Mural
It took a fair amount of sleuthing online, but I finally discovered the Miners Journal story about the mural.
Created by Northern Michigan University graduate Brad Anderson in 2014, the 30-foot mural was commissioned by Diane Gauthier, owner of St. Onge Insurance Agency.
The mural reflects the family ties to the area’s iron ore mining history depicting three miners:
- Gauthier’s father, Melvin Anderson (Brad’s grandfather)
- Her father-in-law, Paddy Gauthier
- Her brother-in-law, Scotty
The setting is a mine tunnel, with rail tracks stretching down the mine tunnel behind the three miners.
According to the Northern Michigan University Alumni News, Anderson said,
It’s the history. Other people’s grandparents, their grandpa and their dad, worked in the mine, and it’s a mining community. Those guys – it takes a special guy to go down in the mine.
If you find yourself in western Upper Peninsula, take a drive through town along Main Street, and look for the mural.