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Superior History

Superior History

MARQUETTE — Anyone who’s ever been in Marquette is familiar with the Janzen House. The Janzen, for a long time, was a traveler’s hotel. In fact, it was one of four such buildings that once sat on the 100 west block of Spring Street, a block that for a span of over sixty years was home to ...

History quiz

Q: Based in U.S. Census statistics, what year did Marquette County’s population peak at 74,101 people? A) 1910 B) 1950 C) 1980 D) 2000 Answer: C, 1980.

Celebrating the fourth in the north

The Fourth of July is little more than a week away but this year’s public celebration has been canceled. Marquette has a long history of Fourth of July celebrations over the last 165 years. Here are some of the highlights. As Peter White noted in a speech for the holiday in 1891, “On the ...

William Gwinn Mather: mining chief

MARQUETTE — Marquette often honors our county’s most important citizens with very short streets. Consider Mather Street, which runs east just one block from Fourth Street to Third Street between Fisher Street and the U.S. 41 bypass. It is named for William Gwinn Mather (1857-1951). As ...

A man with stories to tell: Raymond Shaw

MARQUETTE — Everybody has important stories to tell—and often funny ones too. Here are a few from an oral history interview done with long-time Marquette resident Raymond Shaw. “I had two rules for cutting pulp. I never went into the woods with a chainsaw by myself and I never had a ...

Bacon Block fire devastated building

MARQUETTE — Just before 7 on the evening of July 5, 1912, a fire was reported in the Grabower dry goods store on the west side of Front Street between Washington and Main streets (the block currently occupied by Flagstar Bank). The ensuing conflagration was reported as “the most ...

History quiz

Q: According to the U.S. Census, in what year did Ishpeming’s population peak? A) 1880 B) 1890 C) 1900 D) 1910 E) 1920 Answer: C, 1900. (13,255)

Marquette celebrates Memorial Day

MARQUETTE — This year’s Memorial Day observances were somewhat different than normal due to the current pandemic. As we remember the ultimate sacrifice that soldiers have given for American freedom, let’s look back at the holiday’s rather complex history. The U.S. Department of ...

History quiz

When did Father Jacques Marquette arrive in Quebec? a. 1666 b. 1671 c. 1675 d. 1679 Answer: A, 1666

Dr. A.K. Thiell influences modern medicine in Marquette

MARQUETTE — Marquette physician Annandale K. Thiell moved to Marquette at the age of nine when his father accepted a job with the Marquette, Houghton, & Ontonagon Railroad in 1867. He was one of six children, but only he and his sister Bessie lived to adulthood. Upon graduation from ...

An unusual tourist attraction

Quick, can you name an 1889 sandstone building in Marquette that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is still in use but is not in any tourist guides and is almost never seen by visitors? If you guessed the Marquette Branch Prison, you are correct. Designing the prison was ...

Marquette’s first appearance on silver screen

MARQUETTE — If you were to ask 100 Marquette County residents the name of the first Hollywood feature shot in the area, you’d probably get 100 answers of “Anatomy of a Murder.” But they’d all be wrong. “Anatomy,” in fact, wasn’t even the first Otto Preminger feature to have a ...

Blacks in colonial upper Great Lakes

The first people of African descent entered New France or Canada with the French. Louis XIV, in May 1689, permitted slavery in the colony. This was further legalized by decree and extended to the Upper Peninsula when the French settled here. However, in the early days most of the slaves were ...

Marquette’s last cigar maker

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula’s history is full of weird and interesting trivia. Did you know that around 1900, there were 42 cigar makers in Marquette? By 1950, just one remained, Frank LaMora, who had been making cigars for 44 years. When he began serving his apprenticeship in the ...

St. Clair tragedy, Part 2

The steam barge St. Clair was burning on Lake Superior twelve miles north of Ontonagon at 2 a.m. on July 9, 1876. With reportedly 32 people on board, only a small metal boat with a capacity of less than 15 people was available after a much larger wooden lifeboat burned in the first few minutes ...

1918 funeral home ledger shows pandemic history

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — It’s hard for Virginia Kerr Zoller to tell grieving families that only 10 mourners can come to a funeral at Kerr Brothers on Main Street these days. But if she needs a reminder of why these quarantine restrictions and distancing rules for COVID-19 are in place, all ...

History quiz

Q: Which is not a name previously used for Marquette? A) Worcester B) Carp River C) Iron Bay D) Burtsville Answer: D, Burtsville was not used but Worcester, Carp River and Iron Bay were.

St. Clair tragedy, Part I

In the mid- to late-19th century, men had land and mineral interests in more than one region of the Upper Peninsula. Among those men was Marquette resident Judge Joseph Edwards. Edwards came to the Upper Peninsula from Youngstown, Ohio in 1851 for his health, first settling in Ontonagon, he ...

When Spanish flu came to Marquette County, part 2

MARQUETTE — Last week we discussed the spread of Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 and Marquette County’s preparations before it arrived. The first case appeared in Marquette on October 17, 1918 reportedly brought to the city by healthcare workers who had gone to help with the outbreak in ...

When Spanish flu came to Marquette County

In light of recent events with the spread of the Covid-19 virus, comparisons are being made with a similar worldwide pandemic from just over a century ago. The accepted origins of the so-called Spanish flu were at Camp Funston (now Fort Riley) in central Kansas in March 1918. Over the course of ...