Superior High School Students Give Back to Community

Northland Uncovered: Dug Out Canoe

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Sometimes it’s unbelievable to think about the amazing history that sits right here in our backyard.

Douglas County Historical Society members are taking on the challenge of finding out more information on an old dug out canoe.

They believe it could be hundreds of years old.

Because of its age, there’s not much known about this former piece of transportation.

“There was a lot of Native Americans traveling through at that time in different areas and we’re not sure. We’re not ready to settle on what tribe it is,” explained Tony Tracy, Executive Director of the Douglas County Historical Society.

The canoe has been in storage for decades and finally made it’s way out to the showroom floor.

“We started trying to look into it and find out exactly what the story was on the canoe,” explained Tracy.

When the Wisconsin state archaeologist visited Superior he gave the society good reason to believe this is the real deal.

“He believed it to be a very, very authentic piece and only one of maybe eight in the entire state,” said Tracy.

With this impressive information, the group is looking to get it authenticated.

The carbon dating costs about $600-$700 and it might not be getting done so soon without a special group of Northlanders.

Superior High School AP U.S. History students had a friendly competition to see which class could raise the most money for the project.

“Our class is all girls so it got pretty intense for us. We really wanted to win,” said Kearra Thimm, Superior High School junior.

“If I can connect anything with the Douglas County Historical Society I try and get my students to realize what it is,” said Kyle Smith, social studies and AP U.S. History teacher at Superior High School.

The students collected money for a week and a half, getting about $350 in all.

“Which just was an amazing thing, to have these young folks interested enough in history that they wanted to help us find the answers to this,” said Tracy.

“It wasn’t like it was anything boring that we did, it was something fun, so it feels cool that we applied what we’re learning about and learned a little more about our local history,” said Thimm.

As Smith points out, it’s doing more than allowing students to make a connection, it’s giving the community a chance to keep their history alive.

“There’s only a handful of these left, and if we can help preserve it for future generations to make that local contact, or connection, I think anything like that is going to help us,” said Smith.

The students will be giving a check to the historical society Wednesday.

The carbon dating should be done within the next month.

If you’d like to donate, or see the canoe, contact the Douglas County Historical Society.

They are located at 1101 John Avenue, Superior, WI 54880.

You can call them at (715) 392-8449, or head to their website.

Once the carbon dating is done, they plan to finish up research and have a big open house.  

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