Ernest Hemingway visited Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1919 after he returned from the Great War, travelling from St. Ignace to Seney. This image shows the author in 1918, a year before his UP trip.
The trip became the inspiration for "Big Two-Hearted River," one of his early - and semi-autobiographical - stories featuring a war veteran, Nick Adams, who travels to a remote area and finds the wilderness restorative.
Jack Jobst presents a detailed account of Hemingway's Seney adventure in his article Hemingway in Seney. Hemingway traveled northward from the Straits on board the St. Ignace Branch of the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad, and would have disembarked at Trout Lake to make a connection with a west-bound DSSA train. We are not sure how much time he spent in town, but he certainly would have spent a bit of it at the depot, built in 1907, and which still exists today.
It is also possible he may have taken the short jaunt out to Birch Lodge - one can dream - although unlikely. But you can bet we will be searching through old guest records for any mention of the young war veteran.
From Trout Lake, Hemingway would have traveled to Seney, and disembarked at the depot. This small depot, built ca. 1890, still exists in town but has been moved and serves today as Seney's Museum and Historic Railroad Museum. The Museum focuses on the town's colorful logging era history and also offers exhibits relating to Hemingway's visit to the area.
Seney is situated on Hemingway's primary objective, the Fox River - and its wealth of trout. Hemingway undoubtedly caught many fish during his visit, an inspiration for his successful literary alter ego, Nick Adams, who successfully fished on the Fox's riparian alter ego, the Big Two Hearted River.
Both the Main Stream and East Branch of the Fox, today, offer fine fishing for brook trout, with natural reproduction aided by stocking by the Michigan DNR. Some 18 miles of the Fox Main Stream north of Seney have been designated a Michigan Blue Ribbon Trout Stream.
The river, which multiple sources indicate is little changed from Hemingway's time, is easily accessible from Seney and from many points along roads in the vicinity. Seney is just a little over an hour from Birch Lodge, so when you visit the area you can retrace the steps of Heminway and try your luck catching some brookies on the Fox.