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Downtown Marquette

Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior and the largest city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Marquette has always been an important shipping port, first for lumber and then for iron ore. The city includes several small islands (principally Middle Island, Gull Island, Lover’s Island, Presque Isle Pt. Rocks, White Rocks, Ripley Rock, and Picnic Rocks) in Lake Superior. The Marquette Underwater Preserve lies immediately offshore.

Founded in 1849 as Worcester and renamed for Jesuit explorer Jacques Marquette, the city is home to many significant urban buildings that help to frame high-quality public spaces and streets in the downtown. The bulk of the structures in downtown were built between the late 1870s and the early 1900s. Because of its local availability, sandstone (especially of the red variety) is one of the primary building materials for many of the structures, giving Marquette a unique placed-based context. While sandstone doesn't weather very well - especially not in Michigan's environment - its softness allows for intricate detailing and ornamentation.

Marquette is one of many northern Michigan cities that have a large amount of vernacular architecture, remnant connections to their historic beginnings, and adjacency to natural preserves that make them excellent examples of truly sustainable places that people love.  These kinds of sustainable places are best described by the urbanist Steve Mouzon at his Original Green website - where he establishes their 12 foundations.

Some history and facts of this place:

Marquette is home to the largest wooden dome in the world, the Superior Dome. Northern Michigan University owns the facility and holds its home football games there. The dome also hosts numerous private and public events which draw in thousands from around the region.

The city also has numerous remnants of its industrial past, including ore docks in the Marquette harbor.  These imposing structures (shown in the gallery above) were connected to nearby iron ore mines by rail and allowed for the loading of the ore onto Great Lakes freighters for delivery to industrial centers like Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburg.

More about the ore docks can be found here.

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