We were extremely pleased to see some of the final touches earlier this week being placed on the Father Marquette statue, situated on a knob of ground very near the offices of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. A front page story and photo package from Journal Staff Writer Abbey Hauswirth Tuesday had details.
The statue, which signifies to many as much as anything that they have arrived in the city of Marquette, had fallen into disrepair to some degree over the years. Pieces were missing and the work needed a good general cleaning. The Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee has overseen the work which was undertaken by Venus Bronze Works of Detroit.
Jacques Marquette was born in France in 1637. He served as a missionary in the region and was believed to have camped near modern day Marquette while mapping Lake Superior in 1669. The statue - moved to its current location in July 1913 - was carved in Florence, Italy by Gaetano Trentanove. Similar Father Marquette statues sit on Mackinac Island and in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.
A memorial is set for July 15 and is expected to include a presentation by Marquette Mayor Johnny DePetro, as well as the leading sculptor of the project, Giorgio Gikas. Gikas will also make a presentation at the Hampton Inn the morning of the celebration, to speak about how he restored the antique. We recommend interested people attend one or both.