Pelkie, Michigan

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Pelkie, Michigan
Pelkie is located in Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 46°48′48″N 88°38′11″W / 46.81333°N 88.63639°W / 46.81333; -88.63639Coordinates: 46°48′48″N 88°38′11″W / 46.81333°N 88.63639°W / 46.81333; -88.63639
CountryUnited States
663 ft (202 m)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)906
GNIS feature ID1621187[1]

Pelkie is an unincorporated community in Baraga County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community is on the Sturgeon River in the northeast part of Baraga Township.[1]

Pelkie was settled by French Canadians in about 1885, and was first known as "King's Landing" and was renamed Pelkie after an early settler, William Pelkie.[2][3] Finns who settled there initially called the place Kyrö, after the place they came from in Finland; however, Kyro Location is now regarded as a distinct town from Pelkie. The name became Kuro after a railroad was built through the area.[4] Because many Finns settled in the area, the Finnish name Pelkinen has been suggested as the original. However, the name actually was derived from a former French-Canadian settler.[5] It was a station on the Michigan Central Railroad, and a post office was established on April 30, 1903.[6] The Pelkie ZIP code 49958 serves areas in the north and northwest of Baraga Township in Baraga County, as well as an area of northeast Laird Township, southwest Elm River Township, and southern Portage Township in Houghton County.[7]

Historic sites[edit]

The Historic Pelkie Grade School museum, constructed in 1909, is the only one-room schoolhouse still standing in Baraga County, and is listed on the State Register of Historic Sites on June 10, 1980. The building was used as a school until 1932, then as a town hall, and underwent restoration beginning in 1979. The museum also houses a horse-drawn school bus.

Today, Pelkie is home to the Baraga County Fair, which is held every year on the second weekend in August. The community's primary economic activity is dairy farming, and most of the milk is shipped to processors in Wisconsin.


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pelkie, Michigan
  2. ^ Woertman, Elizabeth (1991). Pelkie-King Family Sketch. p. 1. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  3. ^ Thurner, Arthur W. (1995). "Ethnicity and Singularity". Strangers and Sojourners: A History of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-8143-2396-0. Retrieved 2008-09-01. French Canadian woodsmen settled at a place in Baraga County in 1885 known as King's Land; but when farmers arrived to till the cutover land, the place became Pelkie, named after an early settler.
  4. ^ Holmio, Armas K. E. (2001). "The Copper County: Kyro and Nisula". History of the Finns in Michigan. Trans. Ellen M. Ryynanen. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 101. ISBN 0-8143-2974-8. Retrieved 2008-09-01. Johnson and the other settlers decided to call the community Kyrö, after the place they came from in Finland. After the railroad was built through the cleared land, the name of the place was changed to Kuro when the station was so named. Later it was called Pelkie, which Järnefelt-Rauanheimo thinks may have come from the name Pelkinen. No one of that name, however, is known to have lived there.
  5. ^ "Michigan History Magazine". Michigan History Magazine. Michigan Historical Commission. 51-52: 341–342. 1967. Retrieved 2009-09-01. Interpreting and identifying place-names solely by the resemblance of sound is futile. For example, Pelkie, the ... Baraga County, is commonly thought of as a Finnish name. But contrary to popular belief, Pelkie derives its name from the surname of one of its former French Canadian settlers.
  6. ^ Romig, Walter (1986) [1973]. Michigan Place Names. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1838-X.
  7. ^ 49958 5-Digit ZCTA, 499 3-Digit ZCTA - Reference Map - American FactFinder, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 census

External links[edit]