Marquette’s Masonic Bulding under new ownership


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE – Downtown Marquette’s Masonic Building, one of the city’s most notable landmarks, has recently come under new ownership.

Through the front windows shoppers may first notice T-shirts and souvenirs, but there’s much more than meets the eye.

Rusty and Staci Northrup are the new owners of this historic building. The building was constructed in 1939 after an early morning fire destroyed the original 1890 building. It housed the Marquette Opera House for a number of years.

Masonic organizations bought the building in 1927 and leased most of the building to retail establishments.

A few months ago, the Northrups bought the building from the Masons, although the Masons still meet in their temple on the top floor. Rusty Northrup is a Mason, as well as the new owner. The Northrups rent out some of the large spaces for weddings, receptions and performances during times when it’s not in use by the Masons for their regular meetings and ceremonies.

Over the years, the retail space downstairs has been home to many stores, including Montgomery Ward and Woolworth’s.

“Our retail space is 100% filled,” Rusty Northrup said. “All we have open are a few offices. We are looking to clear out some storage area to open more office space. We never thought it would be so popular. As soon as a space opens, it’s rented.”

The Masonic Mall has 65,000 square feet under one roof. The new owners are upgrading some of the systems.

“During COVID, they stopped making steam boilers, so we’ve been on a waiting list. We will get our new boiler installed in June, and a new air-conditioner will get installed in May,” Rusty Northrup said.

So shoppers are comfortable inside, and parking is convenient out the back door in the parking ramp. And it’s covered, he pointed out.

After taking care of practical matters, Staci Northrup says they’re already thinking ahead to the holidays.

“We will definitely decorate for Halloween and have a ‘haunted mall’ for the older kids. And we plan to have a Festival of Trees for Christmas to benefit children’s hospitals.

“We have lots of ideas, but we’ve only had the building for a few months.”

Along with their friends and partners, Sam and Robin Garro, the Northrups own Marquette Fence Company and Northarrow, a real estate business that includes numerous apartment buildings. The Northrups have another joint venture that takes up a lot of their time –7-year-old twins.

Retail businesses inside the Masonic Mall include Sweet Marquette (a candy store opening in May), Inkwell Tattoo, Aurora Piercing Salon, Hot Plate Pottery and Clayworks, Northern Scales Reptiles, Therapeutic Massage by Shawna, Escape Marquette (escape room games), The Gallery, Art UP Style Gallery and Love Marquette. Offices include Michigan Building Trades Council and Dust For You (a cleaning service). The Anchor Church is also located on the first floor.

Vickie Fee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is vfee@miningjournal.net


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