Bonifas exhibit spawns idea for book

June 23, 2015  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

An Escanaba resident is releasing a book about a unique part of Upper Michigan’s history.

In “Company Towns of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” Christian Holmes focuses on the rich histories of 18 different communities from 1840 through 1995. Holmes says that company towns were communities where the industry was based on natural resources. The company owned the land and built houses for their employees. The company would also often run a general store and employ a physician to treat the employees and their families.

Holmes became interested in the topic after getting involved with a project at the Bonifas Art Center around 3 years ago. They were creating an exhibit about the company town located in Nahma, about 45 minutes from Escanaba. Holmes became interested in the topic and spent three years researching other towns in the U.P. He visited various historical museums and talked to people who grew up in the areas.

A former resident of Alpena and Detroit, Holmes has lived in Escanaba since 1976. He graduated from Wayne State University with degrees in English composition, philosophy and library science.

Company Towns of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be released by Arcadia Publishing on June 15. For information on how to order the book, visit their website.

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