The Baraga Post Office could soon be named after one of the most influential women in county history.
Legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate to honor Cora Reynolds Anderson by placing her name on the building.
Anderson was born in L’Anse in 1882. She became a teacher, first at the Indian Mission School in Zeba, and then at the Arvon Township School in Skanee. She and her husband, Charles, also ran the Thomas hotel in L’Anse for a time.
In 1924, she won the Republican nomination for state house, and was elected without Democratic opposition. Anderson was the first woman to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives, and the first Native American woman to serve in any state legislature in the nation. She served a single term, then returned to teaching.
Anderson helped establish Baraga County’s first public health service, fought for Tribal fishing rights, and was also very active in the L’Anse Methodist Episcopal Church, the Grange and the Prohibition movement. She died in 1950, at age 68.
In 2000, the Anderson House Office Building was named after her. She was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.
In introducing the bill to name the post office after her, Senator Debbie Stabenow credited Anderson with paving the way for many women to hold public office. Senator Gary Peters called her a “prolific trailblazer.”