"A Mining Town Down On Its Luck" Negaunee by yooperprof

Negaunee Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 8 photos

The Vista Theatre: Dreamland

Negaunee is a mining town of about 3000 people, ten miles "up the hill" from Marquette on US 41. It's been down on its luck for the last 50 years, plagued by declining employment at the mines, as well as by a series of unfortunate "cave-ins" caused by poorly designed underground mines. The downtown area is full of boarded up shops and empty lots. The Vista Theatre is both a beacon of hope and a source of pride for the community. I know that small-town community-theatre is potentially risible: "Waiting for Guffman" is not a fantasy. But a living theatre is a place of dreams, a home for dreamers - and Negaunee needs dreams very badly right now. (I'm a bit of an amateur actor, and theatres are sacred places to me.) Al Kiefer keeps this place going with lots of duct tape, his amazing energy, and the support of a whole horde of volunteers, contributors, and gifted performers.

Mid-Town Bakery and Antiques

Home of "almost world famous cheesecake" and Marybeth's amazing hazlenut torte. Corey and Marybeth opened this bakery/antique shop in downtown Negaunee a few years ago - a good place to stop in for a cup of coffee and some local gossip. It's a fact: antique shops have helped save many small towns from desolation. It's an interesting reflection upon the changing economy of northern michigan: a shift from the blue-collar world of factories and mines toward one based upon tourism and shopping.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:People definitely have the time to talk to you here
  • Cons:It reminds me of "The Last Picture Show"
  • Last visit to Negaunee: Apr 2003
  • Intro Written May 4, 2003
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