School at Gay

The school at Gay is one of the
recent acquisitions of the KCHS.

Neil Woodward

A proud Keweenaw
National Historical
Park Heritage Site

Announcements: All of the Keweenaw County Historical Museums will begin reopening on June 11, 2017 for the summer season. See the Site and Museum Schedule page for the exact time and dates for specific museums.
We have also posted a complete calendar of events for our summer season on our Calendar of Events page as well as a summary of our Adventures in History programs on the Adventures in History page.

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Gay School black and white

An early black and white image of the
Gay school when it was active.

The town of Gay, Michigan, is located on the shore of Lake Superior along the southern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula, about 12 miles south of Mohawk. It was originally a commercial fishing village to harvest fish from Lake Superior and later a lumber community to harvest wood for the copper mines of the Keweenaw. In 1898 the Mohawk Mining company built their stamp mill in Gay to take advantage of the water available from Lake Superior to use in stamping or separating copper from mine rock. Soon another mill for the Wolverine Mining Company was built alongside the Mohawk mill and the town of Gay became part of the copper mining process in the Keweenaw. The town was named for Joseph E. Gay, one of the founders of the Mohawk and Wolverine Mining Companies. The stamp mills closed by 1932 and today only a large smoke stack and a mile of gray stamp sand are left of the mills.

Gay school before restoration

A view of the Gay School before
restoration was begun..

The first school in Gay was built in 1902 to meet the needs of the families working at the mills. It became overcrowded and a new, six room, two story building was built in 1927. It served students from grades one through 10. Students attending school past grade 10 went to Calumet. The school was a center of community life until the mills closed in 1932. By 1959 only 25 students attended the school and it was closed in 1961.

In 2009 the Keweenaw County Historical Society took over the property and began extensive repair and restoration work. The school will become a museum telling the story of commercial fishing in the Keweenaw as well as the impact of the Mohawk and Wolverine mills on the town of Gay. See the Sites Calander page for summer 2014 days and hours of operation.
Donation requested.

Planning your visit

Hours & Admission -The school house at Gay is currently under restoration and is not open for public tours at this time.

Location -The Gay School is located at the intersection of Lake Street and the Gay Road in the town of Gay, Michigan, about 12 miles south of Mohawk, Michigan via the Gay-Mohawk Road. GPS: N 47 13.645 W 88 09.764, Decimal Degrees: 47.227417, -88.162733

Need a map? Click on this small Google Map to open a larger version that will give you complete access to a larger Google map of the area, satellite view, etc. You may use this link to go to Google Maps Help if you are not familiar with Google Maps.


Related Links - You may wish to explore the following sites for additional information additional information about the school at Gay and the area.

Keweenaw Geoheritage

(Geoheritage information specific to the sands at Gay)