KINROSS CHARTER TOWNSHIP HISTORY
Kinross Charter Township, a municipality nearly 30 miles long and only four miles wide over the majority of its length, is centrally located in Chippewa County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and consists largely of a small urban community of Kinross surrounded by approximately 120 square miles of open space. The State Legislature created the governmental entity of Kinross Township in 1899. Kinross was a busy little lumbering town and a railroad center for shipping wood and wood products. The Kinross Auxiliary airfield was established in 1941 and was transformed into the Kincheloe Air Force Base (KAFB). The United States decided to close the KAFB in 1977 in the face of environmental and economic considerations.
A Base Conversion Authority was established in 1978 for the purpose of administering the transference of federal military property to civilian use. Ownership of much of the former military base land and buildings was transferred to Kinross Charter Township. Kinross Charter Township owns a comparatively large area of land within the former Air Force Base, much of which is generally vacant. This land area covers more than 900 acres. The airfields and hangar buildings went to the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation for use as an Industrial Park. A significant portion of the federal land associated with KAFB was transformed into five correction facilities owned and operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
The 1990 U.S. Census recorded 1,465 housing units in the Township. That has since changed to approximately 2,000 housing units in the Township. The vast majority of these housing units, 1,100 approximately, are contained in the Woodside housing development within the former Air Force Base. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians owns approximately one-third of the dwelling units in the development and the balance are in private ownership. Of the 6,566 persons in theTownship in 1990, 4,021 were prison inmates. The Township has since grown to 6,000 persons, excluding prison inmates. Kinross Charter Township has a comparatively young population. The percentage of persons less than 18 years of age in 1990 was considerably higher in the Township than in the County or State as a whole. Similarly, the percent of persons 65 years of age or more was approximately half of that for the County and State as a whole. The median age of Kinross Charter Township residents was 29.6 in 1990, several years lower than the County (32.2) and State (32.6) asa whole. As of 1999 there are 1,946 register voters in Kinross Charter Township.
The Kinross area is provided with extensive public services. All facilities formerly part of the Air Force Base are served by public sewer and water and both systems are capable of accommodating significant increases in demand. Solid waste collection is provided by private sector services. The Township recently initiated a recycling collection program at the sewage disposal treatment plant Police protection is provide by both the County Sheriff's Department and State Police. In addition, the Kinross Charter Township Police Department provides police protection services to all location previously part of the KAFB through a special assessment district established in 1981.
The Museum features pioneer farming, logging and household artifacts. Displays include a shoe repair shop, barbershop and a blacksmith shop. It also includes a used bookstore and a gift shop.
Local crafters and heritage members staff the Museum. In the park you will find a one room schoolhouse built in 1902 and a log cabin from 1882. There is also a 1/2 mile nature trail on the site to enjoy.
The Kinross Heritage Society was organized in September 1981, and incorporated in May 1982.
Our first project was to find a permanent home for the OLD WILSON SCHOOL
The first site was on Tone Road near the Kinross Correctional Facility, but negotiations for a long time lease of the site fell through and another site was needed. Kinross Township then offered us a 99 year lease on 20 acres of land across from the KINROSS COMMUNITY PARK
The school was permanently sited, and efforts were made to restore it. It took five years, and in 1987 a dedication ceremony was held, opening the school to the public.
A 1/2 mile NATURE TRAIL has been laid out for us by the Sault Naturalists Club, and has been maintained ever since.
Our next was in receiving and preparing for display a gift from the Beacom family of two buildings containing four fully equipped shops: shoe repair, barber shop, blacksmith, and carpenter shop. The two buildings themselves were of no historic value, and were later replaced by a larger, more secure MUSEUM building to house the contents of the four shops.
We were then offered the CALDWELL CABIN by the Caldwell family. So, while in the midst of preparing the shops and museum, we found ourselves working to put together funds to build a foundation to move the Caldwell Cabin to our site.
We have two major fund raisers per year, a booth at the Chippewa County Fair and the Annual Art & Crafts Fair in October. Other sources of income are membership fees, bake sales, book sales and donations.
We have been granted tax exempt status by the IRS. A copy of the (C) (3) is on file at the Kinross office of Huntington National Bank.
We have since deeded the buildings to Kinross Township. Kinross Township now maintains the grounds and buildings for us, providing the labor while we pay for the materials.