The library has a copy of all seven local history books written by Sonny Longtine over the past eighteen years, You can find them in our Michigan collection of regional books. The books are listed below, newest to oldest, beginning with U.P. People, which is hot off the press. All of these non-fiction books can be found by their call numbers on the upper level of the library.
U.P. People (2017) – 977.49 LO – Longtine once again uses the tagline, “Incredible Stories About Incredible People” to describe the stories within. Following the format of Courage Burning, U.P. People features incredible people who claim the U.P. as their source of inspiration. Find stories about George Shiras III, the first to photograph animals at night with a trip wire; Nita Engle, a most extraordinary watercolor artist; Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo, all-star athletes who went on to become famous coaches in football and basketball; Dr. Paul Van Riper, longtime physician and namesake of Van Riper State Park in Michigamme; Anne Clemenc, union organizer in the Copper Country; William G. Mather, who instituted safety practices in the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company; and Charlotte Armstrong, mystery writer and author of numerous television screenplays. All forty-two stories are supplemented by photos and drawings.
Buildings are grouped together by architectural design, such as Gothic Revival, Tudor Revival, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, and Modern, with the Table of Contents listing the building, the city, and date of construction all in one line. The story of each structure includes a complete history from its construction to present day use. Black and white photographs of the buildings and close-ups of architectural details add to their historical interest. There’s a huge glossary of architectural terms, with a similarly large bibliography at the back of the book.
Some of these short stories have been re-written into full-length books or made into modern documentary films. “Spousal Assassin,” a 1992 murder in Ontonagon, became “The Sweater Letter” by Dave Distel (also found in the true crime section under 364.1523 DI). “A Staircase to Death,” covers the death of 73 people in Calumet’s 1913 Italian Hall Disaster, which has been the subject of various books such as “Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913” by Steve Lehto (977.4993), and two recent documentaries on DVD: “Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913” (977.499 RE) and “1913 Massacre” (977.4041 NI).
Wading in Blood: Murder in Michigan: A Riveting Read on Legendary Murders that Spanned Upper and Lower Michigan (2009) - 364.1523 LO – The title is very descriptive of thirty-six short stories of murder, each one more ruthless than the last. These spectacular crimes range from “A Hymn for the Hangman,” an 1830 story of a Detroit tavern owner who beat his wife to death, to “A Picture Perfect Plan for Murder” in 2008, unraveling the tale of a woman falling over a cliff at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising while hiking with her husband. Did she fall or was she pushed? The book includes photos and drawings to enhance the factual text of each story.
Courage Burning: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2006) - 977.39 LO - Longtine highlights “Incredible Stories About Incredible People” by telling short stories about notable figures in the U.P. from founding fathers to modern day pioneers. There are well-known names such as John Longyear, John Voelker, Charles Kawbawgam, and Peter White, along with lesser known, but quite awesome, people such as Fred Rydholm, William Blakewell, and Maggie Waltz. These short biographies are accompanied by photos that enhance the information.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Life, Legends, and Landmarks (2002) - 977.49 LO – Longtine moves from the history of buildings to the history of interesting people and places in the U.P. Did you know about the Flying Bietila brothers - Finnish ski jumpers from Ishpeming? How about Henry Ford’s home away from home at the Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, which was also the setting for the filming of the movie, “Anatomy of a Murder.” There are tidbits of information from every corner of the U.P.
The stories are brief, but full of interesting facts about each structure. Take the book with you on a walk around town to reap the full benefit of its content. Longtine established his style of combining story and photographs in this extraordinary publication.
--Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk.