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Ironwood in Gogebic County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer

 
 
The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 13, 2014
1. The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker
Inscription. When they say "cold as heck," they're talking about this place, Kaukauna, Wisconsin. The birthplace of the Stormy Kromer Cap. It was here, in 1903, that George "Stormy" Kromer finally lost his cool. And his hat

He was an engineer on the steam locomotive lines that crisscrossed the frozen prairies, and to see where he was steering those steamers, he had to stick his head out the window. Now, you can darn near feel the wind just thinking about it, and it stole Mr. Kromer's baseball caps-one by one-off into the icy dark.

It didn't take long for Mr. Kromer's stormy temper to flare up, but even that wasn't enough to keep his ears warm. He asked his wife, Ida, to sew some flaps on the last of his caps-the one he wore through several successful seasons in the minor leagues. She took a few tries with the needle, and the original "Blizzard" cap was born.

It was odd-looking headgear for the times—six woolen panels stitched into a beanie shape; a low-angled brim to keep the wind from achieving lift; and, of course, those slide down flaps that kept the hat in place and the ears toasty. It was no fedora, that's for sure, and maybe that's why so many of Mr. Kromer's fellow engineers wanted one.

After ordering-and selling-1,200 caps out of a factory in Milwaukee, the Kromers decided to set up
The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 13, 2014
2. The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker
their own shop in Kaukauna. That "shop" consisted of a run-down brick building and three women-a few more when orders jumped in the fall.

By 1918, the ladies could no longer keep up with the desire for Kromer Caps, and Stormy Kromer Mercantile moved back to the big city. Mr. Kromer ran the business himself until the 1960s, expanding it more than a few times, and when his health began to fail, he passed the hat, if you will, to the next generation.

Well the next generation took care of things for a good long while, until roundabout 2001, when word got around that production would cease on the legendary Stormy Kromer Cap. Bob Jacquart got wind of that news by way of Mark Fitting, who, by the way, owns Hobby Wheel, mere steps from where you are now standing. Bob had a mind to give a call to the folks down in Milwaukee and see if he couldn't make Stormy Kromer part of his company, Jacquart Fabric Products. A month later Bob was the proud new owner of Stormy Kromer, and Ironwood officially became the home of the legendary cap it had always struck a certain sentimental claim to. You see, folks in Ironwood have been wearing Stormy Kromer caps for generations, and it seems this has always been their true home, where the North Wind blows cold and the snow falls harder than almost anywhere else.

Today, residents of the Gogebic-Iron Range sew Stormy Kromer
The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 13, 2014
3. The Truth Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer Marker
Caps right here in Ironwood - as a matter of fact, they do so in a factory right behind you. Stop in for a tour, which we offer every day at 1:30.

It's true, you're standing in the presence of a legend, and you may want to tip your hat.
 
Erected by Stormy Kromer Mercantile.
 
Location. 46° 27.786′ N, 90° 8.573′ W. Marker is in Ironwood, Michigan, in Gogebic County. Marker is on East Cloverland Drive (U.S. 2) 0.1 miles east of Luxmore Drive, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ironwood MI 49938, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pabst Mine "H" Shaft (approx. 0.6 miles away); Newport Hill (approx. 0.8 miles away); Curry House (approx. one mile away); Penokee Iron Range Trail – Historic Iron County Courthouse (approx. 2.2 miles away in Wisconsin); This 5 ½ Foot Diameter Drill Core (approx. 2.2 miles away in Wisconsin); Norrie Park (approx. 2.3 miles away); Iron Mining in Wisconsin (approx. 2.5 miles away in Wisconsin); Erwin Central School (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ironwood.
 
Also see . . .
1. Stormy Kromer. (Submitted on September 21, 2014, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
2. George J. "Stormy" Kromer at FindAGrave.com. (Submitted on September 21, 2014, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
 
Additional keywords. Fashion
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesRailroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2014, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 341 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 21, 2014, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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