Gossard Girls Quilt Exhibit

Iron ore isn’t the only world–class product to have ever come out of Ishpeming.

At one time, the Gossard Company of Chicago was the world’s largest maker of intimate apparel for women.

Gossard had a factory in Ishpeming from 1920 to 1976.

They also once had one in Gwinn.

Most of the hundreds of employees at the plants were women, and they called themselves ‘Gossard girls’.

A tribute quilt produced last year in their honor is on exhibit at the Peter White Public Library.

One of the quilters wanted to help honor a Gossard girl that she knew.

Esther Johnson of Harvey had a very good friend who worked at the Ishpeming Gossard plant starting at age 15 — her friend’s family needed the income after her friend’s dad died in a mining accident.

Esther says that situation wasn’t all that unusual when she and her friend were young.

Esther was one of three area women who took apart 1950’s corset remnants from the Ishpeming plant.

Chris Wiik of Marquette, a Gossard Girl herself, did the quilting to the company’s old standards.

Esther says Gossard was very exacting in its desire for high quality, so the four of them wanted to keep that in mind when they were preserving the memories of all those U.P. women.

The Gossard quilt will be on display at the library through mid–June.

Then it’ll go on permanent display at the new Marquette Regional History center.

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