HISTORIC MICHIGAN: What Legendary Person Was Born in This House?
One of the all-time famous lines in film history is "win just one for the Gipper". Well, did you know the "Gipper' himself was born here in Michigan? And there is a memorial to him? Keep reading, and you'll see where you can visit...
In the U.P.'s Keweenaw Peninsula is the town of Laurium. Not to be confused with the current town of Calumet, Laurium was incorporated as Calumet on April 18, 1889, but reincorporated 6 years later as Laurium.
The town originally had six blocks, but over the years found it necessary to keep adding and adding more blocks, neighborhoods, and downtown areas. The town made its living mainly with the mining of copper by the Laurium Mining Company.
The original six blocks were bordered on the north by First Street, Fourth Street on the south, Calumet Street on the west and east by Hecla Street. It was on Hecla Street that Laurium’s most famous son was born and raised.
George Gipp, “The Gipper”, was born on February 18, 1895, in a small house at 432 Hecla Street (see photos below). After high school, he attended the University of Notre Dame and was coaxed into joining the football team by coach Knute Rockne. Gipp proved to be Rockne’s “Golden Boy” by scoring 83 touchdowns in 32 games. He became captain of the team in 1920, but was kicked out of school for missing classes and hanging out in bars. After being re-instated, he continued excelling at football, and became Notre Dame’s first All-American. Two weeks later, he caught a severe case of pneumonia and died on December 14, 1920 at the age of 25. His final words to Coach Rockne became legend: “Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper”. The line was made even more famous when uttered by Ronald Reagan, who portrayed Gipp in the 1940 film “Knute Rockne, All American”.
Gipp's 124th birthday is this month! You can find out more about George Gipp on the Village of Laurium webpage.
Next time you visit the U.P., you may wanna visit Laurium. Plenty of historic old buildings still stand, including blocks & blocks of old miner’s homes, old storefronts and many, many others. You should also visit the George Gipp Memorial for some photo ops; it’s located on the corner of Lake Linden Avenue and Tamarack Street, just a couple of blocks away from his birth home. There’s also the George Gipp Arena and the George Gipp Recreation Area & Ice Arena on the far east side of town.
Check out the photos below, then visit sometime this year!