Cook County Historical Sites
Fish House & Tug the Neegee
FISH HOUSE REPLICA (Located on the west edge of the harbor near the North House Folk School.)
The historically accurate Fish House Replica, c1930 offers a self guided tour of the artifacts from the commercial fishing collection including tools, implements, clothing, as well as 2 locally built fishing boats.
In protected harbors such as Grand Marais, the fish houses were often built out into the water on cribbed docks allowing skiffs to come alongside. Three such fish houses had been located just to the east of this replica. Else where on the North Shore fish houses were built on land. Now an almost forgotten occupation on the North Shore, a remnant of the fishing industry remains at Grand Marais.
The Fish House Replica is set on cribbing, 12 x 20 feet in size and represents the early days of the 1900's. The fish house interior is handicapped accessible with a display foyer upon entering and a 1930's fish house interior visible from the foyer. Local high school students have helped created a typical fish house scene including manikins of a fisherman and his wife cleaning herring, preparing it for shipping to Duluth and on to Chicago.
Alongside is a typical boat ramp and a fishing skiff built by the Scott family and previously owned by Russell Zerbach. This type of skiff and ramp were used by most fishermen on the shore. The second boat on site is the Neegee.
There are interpretive posters explaining the artifacts and well as photos of other commercial fishing activities in Cook County.
The fish house replica was made possible by many volunteer hours and a grant from the Lake Superior Coastal Zone Program administered by DNR and NOAA.
The Fish House Replica is operated in cooperation with the City of Grand Marais Park and Recreation program and is free to the public.
TUG THE NEEGEE
The Neegee was built as a “workhorse” for the harbor. She was used not only for fishing but also as a tug to tow large pulpwood booms out of the harbor to be added to a larger boom that would be towed to the paper mills in Ashland, Wisconsin. She required a crew of three and many local men remember their time aboard the Neegee.
Neegee was owned and used by the Scott family into the 1950’s when she was sold to Dick Eckel, local fisherman. The lamprey, however, ended the lucrative trout fishing by the end of the 1950’s and she was sold to the Sivertson fisheries to be used at the head of the lakes as a “smelter”. The Neegee eventually was stored on land at Sivertson fisheries in Superior, Wisconsin until given to the Cook County Historical Society in the late 1990’s. Grants from the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program, along with many many volunteer hours, helped to stabilize and restore the Neegee. Work continues!
The Neegee is on display year round, located in the Grand Marais Recreational Park (Municiple Campground). Next to the Neegee is the Fish House Replica. And a typical skiff used by most fishermen.
The Neegee working at Isle Royale
The 4th Grade Class of 2004 visiting the Neegee