campus of the Presque Isle County Historical Museum includes two
buildings, the 1914 Bradley House and the Henry and Margaret
Hoffman Annex, located across Michigan Avenue from the Bradley
House and acquired by the museum in 2011.
House contains a wide variety of exhibits and a work and storage
area used by the museum’s staff and volunteers.
Annex includes a number of exhibits, the museum’s gift shop and
bookstore, the King Genealogical Research Room, the Gene Heinzel
Library of military books, a document and photographic file room
that has a high tech fire suppression system, and offices and
work areas for staff and volunteers.
"The Bradley House"
The expansive home that houses the Presque Isle County
Historical Museum was built in 1913 and 1914 by George Radtke, a
local contractor and sawmill operator. The home is a “craftsman
style,” or “arts and crafts style” bungalow. There are many
craftsman style homes in Rogers City, but this is by far the
George Radtke died very unexpectedly in December of 1914. The
following year, Mrs. Radtke—the former Isabel Larke—sold the
home to J. L. Marsters, general superintendent of the Michigan
Limestone & Chemical Company, which had begun operating a
limestone quarry and processing plant at Rogers City in 1912.
There is no evidence that Marsters and his wife ever moved into
the home. Six months later, Marsters sold the home to Carl D.
Bradley, his boss and general manager of Michigan Limestone and
its Calcite Transportation subsidiary.
Even though the house was almost new, Bradley
made some extensive modifications to it before he and his wife
Emma moved in. An addition to the east side of the house
included a new kitchen and two maid’s rooms with an adjoining
bathroom. Two rooms at the back of the house were converted to
guest bedrooms that were separated by a shared bath. Upstairs,
the usable space was significantly increased by adding dormers
that ran the full length on both the front and back of the
house. The west end of the second floor was occupied by a
spacious master suite that included a sitting room, bedroom, and
bathroom. A second large bedroom and adjoining bath occupied
the east end of the second floor and were used by Fred Bradley,
Carl Bradley’s son, who was a high school students at the time.
The renovations also included construction of a two-car garage,
the yard was fenced, and extensive landscaping was done.
By the time the alterations had
been completed, the home had seven bedrooms, four baths, and
three sun porches. While that might seem excessive for the
three members of the Bradley household, the Bradley’s also
entertained many visitors in their home. Mr. Bradley was
reportedly not enamored with the accommodations at local hotels,
so persons visiting Calcite were often invited to stay with the
Interestingly, the yard was much smaller then.
The house had been built at the very back of the lot owned by
George Radtke. There was just enough room behind the house for
a driveway that led from 4th Street to the garage.
On the other side of the driveway was a rental home that was
occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reinke, Sr. That home was
eventually purchased by Michigan Lime and moved to Calcite Road,
creating a backyard for the Bradley house. The pipe sticking
out of the ground near the 4th Street side of the
backyard was the water line to the Reinke house.
In 1920, United States Steel purchased a controlling interest in
Michigan Lime, and they made Mr. Bradley president of the
company. He also served as president of the company’s fleet.
The fleet was then made up of three freighters, the Calcite,
W. F. White, and Carl D. Bradley. They operated
as the Bradley Transportation Line, named in his honor.
Carl D. Bradley died very unexpectedly in the
spring of 1928 while he and his wife were vacationing in
California. He was only 68 at the time. Shortly after his
death, Mrs. Bradley moved back to New York, where she had come
From 1916 on, Bradley had a
provision in his contract with Michigan Limestone that required
them to purchase his properties in Presque Isle County if
Bradley was to die or be fired. Pursuant to that, Michigan
Limestone purchased his home and other properties in the county,
including Bradley’s “Calcite Farms” and extensive farmlands
south of Rogers City.
Carl D. Bradley
Munson, who had been Bradley’s vice-president, took over as
President of Michigan Limestone and the Bradley Fleet. Munson,
his wife, and their son and daughter occupied this home from
1928 until 1939. Following Bradley’s death, U.S. Steel
purchased all of the stock of both Michigan Limestone and
Bradley Transportation, and they operated those companies as
subsidiaries. In 1939, U.S. Steel promoted Munson to
vice-president for raw materials, and the Munson’s moved to
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, headquarters for the giant steelmaker.
Mr. & Mrs. John G. Munson
Clymer replaced Munson at Calcite. He and Mrs. Clymer lived in
this house from 1939 until 1950, when he left to head all of
U.S. Steel’s limestone operations.
The Clymer Family - 1942
By that time, U.S. Steel had
reorganized its holdings, and moved the offices of Michigan
Limestone and the Bradley fleet to Detroit. The operations at
Rogers City became U.S. Steel’s “Northern District.” Joseph
Valentin, a Rogers City native and long-time Calcite employee
took over as manager of the Northern District. He and his wife
Josie and sons Joe, Junior and Jim lived in this home from 1950
until poor health forced his retirement in 1957.
The Valentin Family
Suliot replaced Valentin as head of U.S. Steel’s Northern
District in 1957, the company built a new, modern home for him
and his family on Lake Street. The homes on Lake Street, along
with adjoining homes on First Street, and homes in the area of
South Second Street, had all been built by Michigan Limestone
for occupancy by company employees. The residents of the homes
on Lake Street were all managerial or technical employees at the
plant or on ships of the Bradley fleet.
further need for the stately old home, Michigan Limestone
offered it to the county for use as the Presque Isle District
Library. It served as the library from 1957 until they outgrew
the house in 1980.
Limestone then offered to donate the historic building to the
Presque Isle County Historical Museum. In 1973, the Historical
Society had purchased the former Schmekel residence at the
corner of Second Street and Erie Street for use as a museum.
That museum opened on November 29, 1977.
museum opened in its new location here in the Bradley House on
August 6, 1981. While the building is now the “Presque Isle
County Historical Museum,” it is commonly referred to in the
community as “The Bradley House.” Why that is the case is
unclear, but Bradley was the first head of Michigan Lime to live
in the house, and he lived here longer than any of the other
Michigan Lime personnel. Perhaps even more importantly, Mr.
Bradley has always held a special place in the hearts of Rogers
City residents. Much of the success of Michigan Lime and
Bradley Transportation is credited to his leadership. He was
also an active community leader and generous supporter of
activities that benefited local residents. Then, too, the
tragic sinking in 1958 of the ship named in his honor indelibly
linked Bradley to the people in our small community.