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Small Town History
Wednesday, Sep 6, 2006 from Baraga, Michigan
After a bowl of Corn Chex I headed to the Baraga County Historical Museum where I met Jim Dompier. Jim’s entire family has roots in Baraga, from many generations. If there’s something that somebody needs to know about Baraga he’s the person to talk to. He filled me in on the history of the town, how it developed from Bishop Baraga and Captain Bendry, to the influence that Henry Ford had on Baraga county. Some of the more recent developments are within the Ojibwa Tribe and the Pettibone Company.
A town like Baraga isn’t known as well as the growing suburbs of Detroit and other cities. Modern suburbs don’t have that extensive history. The area was founded 150-200 years ago and has gone through many changes. So many people grow up in towns like this and go their entire lives, myself included, without knowing how the town was founded.
Jim’s passion for history can easily rub off on someone. He’s done a great job in helping to preserve the history of Baraga County and sharing his knowledge with others. When customers come in he makes sure to not just welcome them, but to answer their questions, elaborate on stories, and really give them something to walk away with.
At the end of the day I have a little more appreciation for the town and it’s great to be able to share some stories with others, such as the soda pop factory that used to be here, the penny ladies, and learning about Captain Bendry’s importance. Just imagine if I can talk to someone like this in each town I visit, and at the end have this great collection of interviews possibly connecting some of these towns across the country. It’s impressive how well one person can tell the history of an entire county. -xo
Posted: Sep 6, 2006 | 304 words | 3 Comments
Comment by John Ellenich
From Phoenix, AZ
Jim's a cool guy. He used to be heavily involved with 4H when I was in it- I'm sure he still is...
Comment by Rocky
From Tampa, FL
I've known Jim for years, he is a great wealth of information concerning Baraga county.
Comment by Ann
From Menomonie, WI
Captain Bendry I believe was my mom's great, great Grandpa. My Grandma was Agatha Julie Bendry who later married Atillio Bruno Vettori. Small world. My grandmother's sister was Idabel St. Germain which many, many students in Baraga had her for a teacher and if you visit the Baraga County Historical Museum, you will find many of her own possessions there.