July 27-14

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2014: July: July 27-14
When Kipling, Michigan was dismantled    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from National Archives and Records Administration
Caption in Archives: The community of Kipling, Mi. is just northeast of the city limits of Gladstone. The sawmill, wood distillation & charcoal plants shown in the background were built about 1905. They operated for about 15 years & then closed down for good.
Kipling Main Street    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from National Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 09:26 am:

We conclude last week's Shoebox Memory with a look at the U.P. town at the other end of the tracks from Rudyard, with thanks to Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

In the Upper Peninsula, two towns, one hundred miles apart, have different names but were named for the same man—though he never set foot in either one. The towns are Kipling and Rudyard, and the man was Rudyard Kipling. Who he was and how the towns came to honor him is a story worth retelling.

Born a British subject in Bombay, India, in 1865, Rudyard Kipling is remembered mainly for his significant contributions to English literature. His novels, short stories, and poetry earned him an immense following and in 1907, a Nobel Prize in literature. Before the age of 40, he was acclaimed the world over for his "Jungle Books," poems like "Recessional" and "Barracks Room Ballads," and his masterpiece novel about life in India, "Kim." He was unofficial Poet Laureate of Great Britain—unofficial only because he could have had the title but declined it. His professional writing spanned 50 years until his death in 1936.

It was in the 1890s, before Kipling was even 30 years of age, when his fame prompted one Frederick D. Underwood to name two stations on a railroad route through Michigan's Upper Peninsula after his favorite author. As general manager of the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (known as the "Soo Line"), Underwood certainly had that right, but local townspeople enthusiastically approved. The tiny settlement at the head of Green Bay on the northern end of Lake Michigan became the town of Kipling. About 30 miles south of America's third-oldest city, Sault Ste. Marie, the name of the hamlet of Pine River was changed to Rudyard.

When the esteemed author learned of the honor, he immediately wrote to Underwood to thank him, saying ". . . I write to beg you to send me a photograph if possible, of either Rudyard or Kipling or preferentially both. I shall take a deep interest in their little welfares." He may have appreciated the irony of the town of Kipling being situated next to the larger city of Gladstone, named for a famous British prime minister of the late 19th century. Kipling the author didn't much care for Gladstone the politician. The former was an unabashed advocate of British imperialism while the latter worked to scale back the costly reaches of the British Empire.

Rudyard Kipling's outspoken views on the foreign and domestic policies of his day made him some powerful enemies and sometimes rattled his friends. He coined the phrase, "white man's burden," when he urged the United States to take a more active role in civilizing backward regions of the world. He so vehemently criticized America's "belated" entry into World War I that the governments of Britain and France publicly disavowed his remarks. He opposed compulsory military service but argued that a man who had never enlisted should lose the right to vote. When his beloved cousin Stanley Baldwin became prime minister of Great Britain, Kipling chastised him as "a socialist at heart."

His views on labor unions were forever colored by an experience he had while on a visit to Australia. The purchase of superior lifeboats made in Britain was rejected there in favor of buying inferior ones made in Australia. Kipling believed the unions were sacrificing the safety of the larger community. Thereafter, he regarded the well-paid leadership of organized labor as self-serving and irresponsible.

Both towns of Rudyard and Kipling remain small today, with a few hundred residents in each. But named as they are for a man of large stature and notable accomplishments, they should be proud their very existence helps keep his memory alive.
Have a good week :o)
Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 09:34 am:

That's very interesting, Charlie, thank you for sharing it with us!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 09:40 am:

Would have really been interesting to have visited these towns back in their HeyDays!

By Duane P. (Islandman43) on Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 09:54 am:

Rudyard Kipling wrote some very good works both prose and poetry. My favorite is his poem "If." It can be found at the url listed below if you would like to read it.

By philip odum (Phishinfill) on Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 01:00 pm:

Great History Charlie... just wonder if one new of a
town called nonesuch?? an older map i have shows
it. near silver city..

By Allen W. Philley (Allen) on Monday, July 28, 2014 - 08:04 am:

I wonder if any of those Company houses remained. It would be interesting to see. Crazy how a town can be done in such a short period.

By Mike B. Wishin I was back in the Yoop (Mikeb) on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 09:37 am:


And thanks for the link, Duane

By Kim J. Lake (Kjlake) on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 04:24 pm:

@ Allen W. Philley (Allen):

I was raised in Kipling; there are perhaps a half-dozen "Company Houses" still standing, though they have evolved with the years and bear little resemblance to those in the photos. Though I haven't lived there in some thirty years, it's a nice, bucolic place to grow up.

By Kris Peterson (Kris) on Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 08:33 pm:

Thank you for the very interesting materials contained herein.
Like Kim Lake above, I too grew up in Kipling. It was a
wonderful place with many points of interest for children to
have fun, whether or not they were supposed to be doing the
activity and the place they did it. There was the Furnace
Grounds, formerly a steel plant and later a fuel storage facility
with large cement buildings and storage tanks. There were at
least three gas stations and grocery stores and a school. They
are all gone now. I grew up in one of the town houses. They
had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs. They were
built with hardwood for all of the boards and nails were
apparently cheap because they used many more than would
be used in today's construction. My parents used to have a
boarding house there. The doors were unlocked and when
people came, they would check the board to see if any rooms
were available. If they found one available, they would take the
key and sleep in that room. Many times in the morning, if a
guest got up first, they would start the coffee and bacon. 40
years later my parents received mail from former guests from
all parts of the country telling them how much they enjoyed
staying there. Kipling had one major problem when I was
young and that was Norway Rats. They were in many of the
homes. At first, large steel traps were used but they were
dangerous to set and caught other animals not desired, like
skunks. We were thankful when D-Con came on the scene. It
was gross though because you would see enormously inflated
rats walking around town in the daylight before dying. Kipling
seems so different to me today when I visit it. Things change
and time moves on but I don't think you would ever find any
nicer people than lived there then or live there now.

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