Red Sandstone Buildings
Favorite thing: Downtown Marquette has a strong concentration of interesting buildings, most of which are constructed with our local red sandstone - called Jacobsville Sandstone, for the region in the Keewenaw Peninsula where it was first discovered. There are outcropings of Jacobsville Sandstone at Presque Isle within the city limits, as well as at Little Preqsue Isle nearby. The Vierling Restaurant shown here is only one of our many sandstone constructions.
Marquette County Courthouse
Favorite thing: A source of civic pride, this courthouse was one of the authentic locations used in the 1959 film "Anatomy of a Murder." Old-timers still cherish the memory of the time that Hollywood came to the u.p. to film local author James Voelker's courtroom drama. I've talked with local residents who still remember when Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick sat down for beers at a local tavern. The great director Otto Preminger cast local people as extras in the court scenes. And jazz legend Duke Ellington and his band also came to town to be part of the film. It was Marquette's moment of fame.
Fondest memory: Interesting note: in the summer of 2007, the Marquette County Courthouse was chosen to be the location for the First Day Issue (a big deal in the philately world!) of the Official Jimmy Stewart Commemorative Stamp. It was a fun event - our local congressman was there to help things along, and the Post Office even hired a Jimmy Stewart impersonator to sign autographys. Look inside for photos!
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: "This neo-classical revival structure, designed by Charlton & Gilbert of Marquette, was constructed in 1902-04 at a cost of $210,000. Built of local sandstone, it is the second courthouse to occupy this site. In a case tried here in 1913, President Theodore Roosevelt won a libel suit against Ishpeming newspaper publisher George Newett and was awarded six cents, "the price of a good newspaper." Another case tried here inspired "Anatomy of a Murder," a novel by Ishpeming resident John Voelker. In 1959 the courthouse was the setting of the motion picture based on the novel. The picture was directed by Otto Preminger and the musical score for the movie was written by Duke Ellington. The courthouse was renovated in 1982-84 at a cost of 2.4 million dollars."
Lower Harbor Ore Dock
Favorite thing: This monumental structure served as an ore dock for the local iron mines for over 60 years. It hasn't been in use for a generation now - another, more modern ore dock is in use close to Presque Isle, in north Marquette. The old concrete and brick edifice still stands, looking out where freighters used to congregate. Will it be torn down? Re-used creatively? Maybe it will continue to decay silently, standing as a reminder of the industrial roots of this region.
The Coast Guard Ice-Cutter
Favorite thing: You know that spring is nigh when the Coast Guard Ice-cutter Mackinac pays a visit to the harbor. It's usually in mid-march, but sometimes not until April. There have been some years when there's been ice on the lake well into May. At any rate, the Coast Guard cutter is a colorful sight on a winter's day.
What is That Big Structure In the Lake?
Favorite thing: In 2006 we spent two weeks in Marquette, at a friend’s dock near the Lower Harbor Park, and I discovered that many tourist come down to take pictures of the structure in my photo. I was also asked a number of times what it was. What you see in the photo, is the historic, Lower Harbor Ore Dock. At one time railroad cars moved onto this dock to unload iron ore into waiting ships. This ore was unloaded into the ship’s holds through chutes (also know as pockets). The rail tracks that use to carry iron ore to this ore dock have been removed, leaving behind this enormous landmark.
Farther down the lake near Presque Isle is a newer ore dock that is still in use today, often lowering its chutes to load taconite, a concentrated form of iron bearing rock, into the holds of large ships. (See photos 2 and 3). This steel-framed ore dock runs out into Lake Superior for almost a quarter of a mile, stands 75 feet above the water, and has about 200 pockets (chutes). A rail track, running about a mile over an earth embankment, carries rail cars bringing taconite pellets from the Cleveland Cliffs Iron’s taconite processing facility, which is located near a large open pit mine just south of the communities of Ishpeming and Negaunee. The rail cars move along the top of the ore dock and empty the pellets down through the ore dock’s pockets. About 20 to 30 large ore carriers come through Marquette each month to take on a load of taconite. The size of these large ships is usually in the 600 foot range. It is interesting to watch the ship’s loading. The chutes are lowered into the ship’s cargo hold, and then the taconite noisily pours into the hold. The boat then moves 20 or 30 feet and a new pocket is lowered and the taconite is emptied into the hold again. Sometimes you see a ship that is around a thousand feet in size. If you do, this is probably a ship that has come to Marquette to unload coal.
- Historical Travel
Old Bank Building (1892)
Favorite thing: A Queen Anne office building, in brownstone and red brick. 110 years after construction, it's still one of the tallest - and most handsome - buildings in town. My dentist has his office here (well, he owns the whole building.)
Every New Years', Marquette has its local version of the Times Square ball drop here. In the cold and snow, thousands of people gather for a moment of mirth and revelry.
What to see, where to find out about it.
Favorite thing: Begin your trip at the Marquette Chamber of Commerce, where you will find maps, and many helpful pamphlets. These pamphlets range from information for tourists visiting Marquette and other areas in the Upper Peninsula, as well as pamphlets to help people who are relocating to Marquette. There is staff on hand to answer your questions, as well as postcards for sale. The Chamber of Commerce is Monday through Saturday, and is closed Sundays. Be sure to visit the lakeshore and take in the Maritime Museum.
Web : www.marquette.org
Address: 501 S. Front Road
Fondest memory: Sailing to Marquette (see my travelogue "Sailing to Marquette With Our Surprise Visitor") where we spent a few days on our way to the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore, we discovered that we had accidentally arrived during their Seafood Fest being held in the Harbor Park near the marina. During this Sea Food Fest weekend we had a great time listening to bands and sampling a wide variety of seafood at very reasonable prices. Also that summer the citizens of Marquette had been invited to create “family” poles to line the walks in the park. These poles would remain in place through out the summer and fall. Some of these were very creative. In 2007 the park was again decorated with local art, this time doors honoring women were lining the Harbor Park walkways. Photo 2 shows one of the 2007 doors in the park. (See my travelogue, “Summer Art In Mattson Lower Harbor Park“for photos of the family poles and additional doors.)
- Road Trip
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: The latest development in Marquette real estate market is the phenomenon of warehouse conversions to apartments and condos. All of the projects have been on the lakeshore downtown, as the former industrial base of the city has migrated, and tourists and trolls are moving in to stay. There are several conversion projects either recently completed or currently underway. It's an international fact: people want to live by the water, and are willing to pay top price for the privilege.
This was formerly the Levine Brothers plumbing suppy warehouse. I've heard that there will just be two units in the buildings, each going for about $600K. That's a lot of money in Marquette!
Northern Michigan University - Academic "quad"
Favorite thing: This is where I work.
Students bustle to and from classes. NMU has an enrollment of nearly 9500 students - which I think is fairly remarkable, considering how remote and isolated Marquette is. There are only about 300,000 people who live in the entire Upper Peninsula. Increasingly, the bulk of our student population comes from outside the immediate area. We even attract significant numbers of students from Wisconsin and the northern suburbs of Chicago.
Condos are coming to the Lakefront
Favorite thing: These are the new condo townhomes that are being developed near the lower harbor park. Actually, I like the design and the density of these "rowhouses": they are very "urban" and "urbane." In the next few years, many more condominiums will be developed along the lakeshore, close to the downtown area. Many if not most of them will be considerably "upscale." It's bound to affect the character of the community - and some people here are already starting to complain. They don't want to see Marquette become "over-developed" with projects that cater primarily to the wealthy from out-of-town. On the positive side, developments like this one increase the tax base of the community, and the additional disposal income that the condo residents will bring to the area should help local restaurants and businesses. Change is coming, that's certain.
Upper Harbor Ore Dock
Favorite thing: This is the ore dock that is still in use - as seen from Presque Isle Park. Occasionally you'll see two large vessels next to it, both loading up with iron pellets from the nearby mines. It spite of its practical use, it has a certain grand beauty when seen in the glow of a warm summer's night.
Presque Isle - a Frederick Law Olmsted gem
Favorite thing: The first stop for Marquette visitors ought to be Presque Isle park, at the end of Lakeshore Blvd. It's only a few minutes from the center of town, but it contains some beautiful natural features that begin to suggest the dramatic scenery of this area. It was deeded to the city of Marquette in the nineteenth century by a well-known Native American leader, Charlie Kawbagam, who is buried there. The landscape design for the park was created by the great Frederick Law Olmsted, of Central Park fame. There are some dramatic cliffs overlooking the lake, old rock formations billions of years old, and a pleasant beach. There is a one-lane road around the island, but you should walk the 2 mile circumfrence path if it is at all possible. Best of all, go to 'Inspiration Point' on a warm summer's eve for the sunset.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Go to Hogsback mountain!!!...
Favorite thing: Go to Hogsback mountain!!! That's kindof a small picture of the view but it's as good as I could find from my trips up there :o)
Fondest memory: Fondest memory of Sault Sainte Marie: The nature, the beautiful, beautiful forests!!
Go to Presque Isle Park and...
Favorite thing: Go to Presque Isle Park and hike in the park, nice hiking path and good views of Lake Superior. A lot of times you can see deer when you driving through the park. Another thing to do is hike up Sugarloaf, beautiful view of Lake Superior and Marquette.
Fondest memory: I lived in Marquette for 5 years, four of those years attending Northern Michigan University. I have a lot of great memories from living in Marquette. What I miss the most is seeing Lake Superior everyday.
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