In the 20th century many resource-based company towns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula shared Nahma's uncertain future. Nahma's plight caught the eye of the nation when it was put up for sale. The owners mounted a campaign to find a suitable buyer not only for the sawmill business assets, but also for the community itself. A national search for potential buyers culminated in a 1951 cover story in Life magazine that built the mystique that still surrounds Nahma today: a “town for sale.” Since those early days, there remains the strong sense of community that defied the fate of other company towns. Nahma would not become a ghost town.
What was it about Nahma that kept it alive when so many other company towns simply passed out of existence? Selling Nahma will examine how and why this unusual business decision led to Nahma's survival and what makes it notable amongst Upper Peninsula communities. Gathered through oral histories, film, documentary, photographs and personal reminiscences, Selling Nahma will offer a personal perspective from the remaining townspeople and former residents. Find out what it was like to be living in a company town at the time of the sale.
The Selling Nahma humanities project includes:
• Thursday, June 26 at 3 p.m. - The exhibit Selling Nahma will begin with an open-house musical performance, Bunyan & Banjoes, about Michigan’s lumber history by Kitty Donohoe.
• The exhibit will run June 26 – August 7. Each Tuesday at noon - A Brown Bag Lunch series of humanities presentations in the gallery. (Click for details.)
• June 26 - August 7 - A companion exhibit, “Nahma Now,” featuring artwork inspired by Nahma and its environs, located at Christine's Gallery, downtown Nahma.
• On-going exhibit tours by reservation. (No charge.)
Working in conjunction with the Nahma community there will be a number of community events in downtown Nahma, including:
• Friday, June 27 at 7 p.m. - Opening Reception for “Nahma Now” at Christine's Gallery, in Nahma.
• The annual Nahma Music Festival Saturday, June 28.
• Labor Day celebration event featuring Great Lakes Maritime Music by Lee Murdock and stories by Jen Straus from Stories-Be-Told.
Be sure to check out the "Nahma Township Memories" facebook page to share & read stories.
TV6 News Piece on "Selling Nahma."
Selling Nahma is made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Michigan Humanities Council.