Michigan was the site of the deadliest school massacre in American history. In 1927, a school board member in Bath, Michigan, named Andrew Kehoe detonated explosives he had planted in the local school, killing 38 children and six adults. Kehoe had also killed his wife and set fire to his farm before carrying out the attack.
Ontonagon County, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, has a rich history that dates back to the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century. The area was initially inhabited by the Ojibwa and Ottawa Native American tribes, who lived off the land and engaged in fur trade with French explorers. The first European exploration of Ontonagon County occurred in 1661 when French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, visited the area.

In the late 18th century, the fur trade thrived in the region, attracting more European settlers. The County's name, Ontonagon, is derived from the Ojibwa language meaning "dish" or "bowl," referring to the shape of the Ontonagon River. The county was officially established in 1843, becoming one of the first counties in the Upper Peninsula.

The discovery of copper in the mid-19th century brought a significant boom to Ontonagon County. The Ontonagon Boulder, a massive natural copper nugget weighing over five tons, was discovered in 1846, initiating a copper rush in the area. Mining companies were quickly established, and the population soared as people flocked to the region in search of wealth. The county's economy became primarily dependent on copper mining, and several mining towns sprouted up, including Ontonagon and Mass City.

However, by the early 20th century, the copper industry began to decline, leading to a gradual decline in population and economic activity in Ontonagon County. Today, the county's economy is diversified, with a focus on tourism, forestry, and recreational activities. The area is known for its natural beauty, including Lake Superior's shoreline, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and numerous rivers and lakes, attracting outdoor enthusiasts from all over. Despite its mining history, Ontonagon County has evolved into a peaceful and picturesque destination, offering a glimpse into Michigan's past while embracing a vibrant present.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Ontonagon County, Michigan.

  • 1843 - The Ontonagon County area is first explored by the Government Land Office surveyors.
  • 1847 - The first permanent settler, Austin Corser, arrives in Ontonagon County.
  • 1848 - The county is officially established and named Ontonagon after the Ontonagon River.
  • 1851 - Ontonagon County's first post office is established.
  • 1861 - The Ontonagon County Courthouse is completed.
  • 1870 - The village of Ontonagon becomes an official incorporated community.
  • 1880 - The Ontonagon Lighthouse is built to guide ships on Lake Superior.
  • 1894 - The Ontonagon County Historical Society is founded to preserve and promote local history.
  • 1910 - Ontonagon County experiences a population boom due to the mining industry.
  • 1936 - The Porcupine Mountains State Park is established, becoming a popular tourist destination.
  • 1957 - Bond Falls Flowage is created to generate hydroelectric power.
  • 1982 - The Ontonagon River is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.
  • 2019 - Ontonagon County celebrates its 171st anniversary since establishment.