Ranger Bob let me know yesterday that one of my favorite places on the planet, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, can boast another addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Apostles already boasted an impressive list of historic sites, but effective July 3, 2008, the Rocky Island fishing community was added when it was officially recognized as a unique and historically significant place. The Rocky Island historic district preserves both a type of structure and a way of life that played a significant role in the history of the region.
Apostles is so well-known for its historic lighthouses --there are six light stations within the park's boundaries -- that it's easy to overlook the fact the park also has a rich and deep history in the economic development and history of the upper Great Lakes. Commercial fishing, lumbering, and brownstone quarries are all part of the park's history.
The Rocky Island community began as a summer fish camp used by Norwegian immigrant fishermen and their families. It evolved into a summer recreational community, but with descendants of the same families returning each summer for multiple generations.
The nomination for Rocky has been in process for at least 7 years now, maybe longer -- if you go back to the original nomination of the Hadland Fish Camp, a site that is now considered a contributing element within the larger district, it's been more like 30 -- so it's good to see it finally officially recognized.
The black and white photo is from 1947 and shows the Nelson cabin on its way to Rocky from one of the other islands. The photo right below it shows that same cabin as it looked in July 2006. All photos courtesy Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, of course. The district nomination is not yet available through the National Register website, but I'm looking forward to reading it once it's up.