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Early postcards detail city

William Ironside Sr. of the Detroit Publishing Co. is seen in 1910. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)
Light House point in Marquette around 1904-05 is pictured. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)
The Lower Harbor in 1908 is pictured. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)
The Anchor Line Dock, with the Superior Hotel in the distance is shown in 1908. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)

MARQUETTE — A collection of 18 colorized postcards of Marquette were recently donated to the Marquette Regional History Center. Several of the images were familiar but the story was new. The donor’s grandfather, William Ironside Sr., traveled around the country with a glass plate camera on behalf of the Detroit Publishing Company. He walked and hitchhiked and came to Marquette at least once.

These images are from 1902-1918. When William got married in 1912, he set down roots and became an engraver for the company until it went out of business in 1924. These postcards were collected by his daughter Vera, who is thought to be one of the few people who collected a complete set of the Detroit Publishing Co.’s postcards.

The Detroit Publishing Company got its start in 1895 using the Swiss photochrome process. With this propriety process, they were able to mass produce images in color for several decades and became one of the world’s major publishers of photographic images. The company changed names several times and hired American landscape photographer William Henry Jackson.

Not only did they produce postcards, but black and white images as well. The Library of Congress holds over 25,000 glass plates of the company’s images. A search found over 50 images of Marquette, Michigan produced by the company. The postcards can be dated by the number found on the front.

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