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‘A Beautiful Location’

New exhibition features NMU architecture, past and present

Scott Stobbelaar, a Marquette resident who is an alumnus of Northern Michigan University, visits the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on Saturday during the opening of the new exhibition, “A Beautiful Location.” The exhibit examines NMU’s past and present architecture. (Photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — Ornate buildings of the past and structures with modern design are part of Northern Michigan University’s architectural heritage, which is the focus of a new exhibition at NMU’s Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on campus.

The exhibition, titled “A Beautiful Location,” opened on Saturday. It examines how the university progressed from a campus with a single building in a remote part of Marquette to its wired campus of today.

“A Beautiful Location,” according to NMU, explores how the campus is a mix of unique architectural styles and aesthetics. It provides key information about each building, including photographs, maps and architectural plans. The exhibition even includes artifacts from the now-demolished Kaye Hall, such as chandeliers and a brass plaque, and a Jacobsville sandstone brick that was part of the facade of Longyear Hall, which was taken down in 1994.

Scott Stobbelaar of Marquette, who graduated from NMU in 1972, visited the exhibition on opening day.

Thus, he is familiar with many past and current buildings on campus.

Scott Stobbelaar, a Marquette resident who is an alumnus of Northern Michigan University, visits the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on Saturday during the opening of the new exhibition, “A Beautiful Location.” The exhibit examines NMU’s past and present architecture. (Photo by Christie Mastric)

“Of course, like everybody else, I cried when they tore down Kaye Hall,” Stobbelaar said.

However, he does appreciate modern architecture at NMU.

“I like the new Northern Center,” he said. “That center now will be dear to my heart because it’s where I got my (COVID) shot.”

The Northern Center has been a major vaccination center for COVID-19 in the community. Completed in 2019, the heavily windowed structure with unique interior lighting contains the Wildcat Den, the student activities office, meeting rooms and the bookstore, and serves as a conference center.

“With the new dorms and so forth, it’s a beautiful campus,” Stobbelaar said. “They have done a great job in keeping it up to date and attracting students.”

Groundbreaking on the new dorms, called The Woods, began in 2016. Finished in 2017, the complex houses Cedar, Birch and Maple residence halls as well as classrooms.

“A Beautiful Location” has details on buildings such as the Superior Dome — a familiar sight in the community — and Ethel Carey Hall, a girls’ dorm that existed from 1946 to 2012.

One panel is devoted to Vetville, which was originally named Veterans Village. With its groundbreaking taking place in 1946, Vetville initially was for student veterans and their families.

The Barrack Boys, a group of student veterans, were part of the first grant-in-aid athletic scholarship program at NMU, which began in the fall of 1952 and provided part-time jobs.

The men in the program paid $1 a month for rent as well as the cost of heating. The program ended when Vetville was removed in 1957.

Other features of the exhibition is a time-lapse map showing how the campus has grown and spread out over the past 122 years.

The Beaumier Center will host free architectural walking tours of the NMU campus, limited to 20 people, on July 8 and 22, and Aug. 5 and 19. To make a reservation, call 906-227-2549.

“A Beautiful Location” will be open through Sept. 4. Visitation hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information on the center, visit www.nmu.edu/beaumier or www.facebook.com/beaumiernmu.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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