Making maple syrup has been a springtime ritual on Washington Island for so many years, and has involved so many families, that I was surprised by the lack of photographic images and documentation in our Archives.
The photo above is one of very few images we have documenting the collection and production of maple syrup, or “sugaring” as it used to be called.
The photo is in our Thordarson collection of photos taken at Rock Island and is identified as “Maple Camp.” If you recognize this early log cabin and know where it was located on Rock Island, who the man might be, and approximately when the photo might have been taken, please contact us.
I’m curious if it was before or after Chester Thordarson purchased Rock Island in 1910 and began his building projects–including the massive stone boathouse–in the 1920s.
If anyone has photos at home of maple syrup production on Washington Island: tapping, collecting, boiling, finishing or bottling, please bring them in to the Archives for scanning or send us a scanned image attached to an e-mail message.
If you can identify people in the photo, location and approximate dates, that would be most helpful. We will return original photos if you would like to keep them.
We would also like to document the history of maple syrup production on the Island. If you have a good memory or even a pretty-good memory, or have kept records, we would really appreciate knowing who was collecting, when, where, and how much, and methods used.
Thanks for your help in preserving our Island history–both past and present.
If you have information to share with the Archivist, please stop in during open hours, write or e-mail. Thank you for your interest!
By Janet Berggren
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