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Iced Isolation: Opportunity and Desolation in America's Northern Frontier

Author(s): Philip A Hartmeyer

Year: 2015

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Beginning 7,000 years ago, humans have engaged Lake Superior’s Southern Shore in different ways. Entrepreneurs, voyagers, immigrants, and society’s periphery have relished, and shattered, in Superior’s raw, unforgiving climate. The region has been a hotbed for cyclical social and economic change as different ethnic and demographic groups clashed in the ice and snow. This paper presents a unique piece of Lake Superior’s landscape, the Keweenaw Peninsula, as an "island of industry in a sea of trees" that was only accessible by water up until the 1880s. Frozen or fluid, water was the only means to access this remote frontier. Consequently, an entire culture of Superior-bound steamships was birthed to support, and supply the frontiersmen living on America’s northern borderland. Historical and archaeological research will be used to present the Keweenaw Peninsula as a frontier land of opportunity amidst desolation, connected only by water. 

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Iced Isolation: Opportunity and Desolation in America's Northern Frontier. Philip A Hartmeyer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434037)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 408

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America