THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Peshtigo Fire Memorial for Menominee Co. Visitors
The Menominee County Historical Society and the Menominee Township Board have collaborated the past several years with plans to erect a memorial for the victims of the Peshtigo Fire of Oct. 8, 1871 in Menominee County.
Ken Goffin and the Board officially approved the plan on Aug. 31. The Flame Memorial will be erected in the Townships park located on Highway 41 near Birch Creek where the greatest loss of life occurred.
Joe Wagner and staff of Menominee Granite Co. are involved in the project.
The Great Fire is regarded as one of the worst disasters in the United States. Historical records focus on Peshtigo, where the catastrophic loss of life and property were the greatest. Little has been written about the Fires impact on the little village of approximately 100 settlers and a group of Native Americans who lived in the Fires northward path as it advanced into Menominee County. Birch Creek, Mich. suffered the loss of 26 residents including 18 children. A child also died in the Little River area.
Those who perished were buried where they were found in graves along the country road known as Bay de Noc. Lilac bushes were later planted to mark the places where the victims were buried. No gravestones or other memorials are known to exist. Very few people are aware of the significance of the bushes that remain today to honor the deceased. Mary and Doug Lueskow, Society members, care for the lilacs on their property where five people were buried.
Historian, James Borski, has researched and written a history that has been adapted and will be posted in the Park to share Menominee Countys place in the history of the Peshtigo Fire.
A dedication of this memorial is planned for late October. Menominee County is celebrating its 150th year as a county established in 1863. The disaster at Birch Creek is part of its history.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Flame Memorial may send contributions to the Menominee County Historical Society, P.O. Box 151, Menominee, MI. 49858-0151. Please mark fire memorial on the check.
The Society committee chairman is Katherine Murwin at 906-863-8355.