The Alva Kepler log cabin in Manistique’s Pioneer Park dates back to the 1880’s and was once part of the Byers’ settlement in Hiawatha Township, 12 miles north of Manistique. The cabin became a source of controversy in the mid-1890’s, when Abe Byers and Walter Thomas Mills formed a cooperative community known as the “Hiawatha Village Association.” People who joined the colony promised to move into association housing as soon as it became ready. When Civil War veterans John and Alva Kepler refused to do so, the firestorm it ignited lead to the demise of the Utopian experiment in Schoolcraft County.
In 1896, the United States Navy Department donated a Civil War era cannon to Manistique’s George F. Fuller Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. The cannon had seen service on the James River in Virginia during the years 1861-65. After it arrived in Manistique, the cannon was placed on the Courthouse grounds where it soon became an honored emblem of national pride. The cannon played an important role in the life of the community. It was paraded through the streets of the city on Decoration Day and on the Fourth of July. Its thunderous boom could be heard on National holidays and on extraordinary occasions, such as at the death of President McKinley in 1901, when the Presidential Salute was given. It took two men to fire the cannon, and the duty fell to Civil War Veterans, Henry Brassel and John Gayar.
During the early 1900’s, the month of November marked the beginning of the indoor baseball season. Fans flocked to the Star Opera House to watch an indoor version of the national pastime. Season tickets cost a dollar and a quarter. Indoor baseball was invented in the 1880’s and was the forerunner of modern fast-pitch softball. In Manistique, the fraternal societies organized a “city league” which included the Masons, Legionites, Maccabees, Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.