Ishpeming historic homes tour and ‘living history’ set for today

ISHPEMING – The goal of today’s Ishpeming Historical Society’s Historic Home & Business Tour is not just to raise funds for the nonprofit’s endeavors, though it is, in fact, a fundraiser. Its main purpose, by highlighting the past, is to show people all that the city has to offer in the present.

“We’re trying to raise awareness in the community of what we have in our community that’s right under our own noses,” said David Aeh, a member of the historical society. “We’re trying to encourage people from outside of our community to come and see all we have to offer … So it’s a case about getting people to come to our town, to see what we’re all about, to have a good time and to showcase the cream of the crop of our community.”

Taking place at various historic locations around the city from 12-5 p.m., a $10 donation will get you tours of the Butler House, a Queen Ann Victorian at 602 North Third Street; the Berky Home, a mid-century ranch-style at 756 Mather Avenue; the tap room of the former Mather Inn at 107 Canda Street; the former Cohodas Bros. Distributing building at 200 East Hematite Drive, a family produce business built during the Great Depression and now home to Bell Forest Products; and the former American Cafe at 200 East Division Street, now the home of Rare Earth Goods.

The Cohodas Bros. and American Cafe sites will also incorporate elements of “living history,” as Ralph Harper, a former employee of Cohodas, and Eliza Goudge, the former owner of American Cafe, will be at those locations to visit with tour-goers and talk about what the locales were like. Light refreshments will also be served at Rare Earth Goods.

Tickets are available the day of the tour at each of the tour locations, or in advance at the Main Street Antique Mall in Ishpeming, the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce and Negaunee’s Midtown Bakery.

Aeh is also always seeking potential homes for future tours. Those interested may contact Aeh at 486-8680.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is