City of Escanaba turns 150

ESCANABA – With the arrival of 2013, the city of Escanaba moves into its 150th anniversary year.

The city – then a tiny village – was founded in July of 1863 at the height of the Civil War. The lakeport hamlet of log cabins would evolve by the turn of the century into a city with thousands of residents and a thriving waterfront.

The Esky 150 Steering Committee recently reported meeting three-fourths of its financial goal to put on a gala celebration this summer.

The private, not-for-profit group has announced a series of events to commemorate Escanaba’s milestone. The committee has made steady progress, but is asking for contributions to ensure all programs will be a “go.”

“We’re asking for public support to help make this sesquicentennial celebration one to remember for another 50 years,” said Esky 150 Co-coordinator Kay Johnson. “We want as many folks as possible to attend and be reminded of all the great things our town has to offer.”

To date, monies have been raised on the Internet (see, by letter campaign, and in person. Esky 150 Chairperson Pat Baribeau and co-coordinators Johnson and Lori Hertig have also spoken to an array of local organizations, from non-profit groups to business and industry.

In-kind donations, publicity help and volunteers are also being sought. Johnson noted many events under the 150 umbrella theme will act as fundraisers for charitable and community interest groups.

“We want this event to not only highlight our community, but give back to the area while building goodwill and morale,” Johnson said. She said volunteers are needed for certain individual events as well as some areas such as the 150 Youth Committee.

Baribeau noted the 150 event is completely separate from the city of Escanaba administration and that all donations will go specifically to the sesquicentennial. Pledges are being processed through the Community Foundation for Delta County, which has much experience in fund drives.

Donations in any amount may be mailed to the foundation at: 2420 1st Ave. S., Suite 101, Escanaba, Mich. 49829. For more information call 786-6654.

“We’ve had donations so far ranging from $5 to $20,000,” said Johnson. “We realize our economy has been through a difficult time, so families or association members may want to pool resources to help our endeavor. We sincerely thank all who have contributed so far.”

All donors will be recognized on the Esky 150 website, added Baribeau.