Hunts' Guide to The Upper Peninsula

Lake Superior & Ishpeming RR Ore Dock

Marquette oredock

This steel-framed dock juts out almost a quarter of a mile into Lake Superior, 75 feet above the water. It's a monumental sight to see - and to hear when loading is in progress. The railroad approach is a mile-long earthen embankment. Railroad cars bring taconite pellets from Cleveland-Cliffs Iron's taconite processing facility near their vast open-pit mines south of Ishpeming and Negaunee, the tilden and Empire mines. The rail cars continually move out along the top of the ore dock and empty taconite pellets down into the ore dock's 200 pockets. (Taconite is a concentrated form of iron-bearing rock, formed with clay into balls for compact, cost-effective shipment.)

Some 20 to 30 bulk ore carriers a month come to load taconite. Chutes from each pocket are lowered into the vessel's cargo hold, and taconite thunders down into it. Then the ship shifts 20 or 30 feet (winches being tightened or loosened let it move), and new pockets empty into the hold. It's a noisy, impressive spectacle - a worthwhile opportunity to view big freighters in action. Vessels that carry taconite are usually older 600-footers. Thousand-footers usually come to Marquette only to unload coal.

This particular ore dock, built by a Cleveland-Cliffs subsidiary in 1912, revolutionized the shipping of iron ore. Its technology has been superseded by Escanaba's ore dock, which uses conveyors to load the ore.

The first vessel of spring to come to Marquette Harbor is greeted with fanfare. This tradition is always covered in Upper Peninsula newspapers as a welcome sign of spring. It goes back to the city's early years when citizens were isolated all winter and depended on ships to deliver their food.

Nearby is the giant, coal-fired generating station of Wisconsin Electric Power. It's the main electrical plant in the Upper Peninsula. Environmentalists and landscape lovers were sick that it was built over strong objections. 8/2010
On Lakeshore Boulevard, shortly before the entrance to Presque Isle Park, about 4 miles northeast of downtown. You can view it from your car or bicycle. 8/2010

Return to Marquette

Downtown Marquette. A major U.P. destination for people who like to shop, nibble, drink coffee, dine, and explore interesting downtowns. Stroll past ornate buildings, a historic hotel, many restaurants, a classic department store, an 1883 saloon ... more

Marquette Wi-fi Hotspots. Peter White Public Library has wi-fi & public computers. 217 N Front between Ridge & Bluff. Olson Library (NMU) has wi-fi & public computers. On Tracy St., off Wright St. Dead River Coffee has wi-fi. 119 W. Baraga, just west of S. Front St. ... more

Presque Isle Park. One of the coolest city parks anywhere, it's a rocky, wooded peninsula jutting into Lake Superior with great vistas, 5 miles of walking paths, swimming pool and water slide, picnic grounds, bandshell ... more

Marquette Mountain. With plenty of snow and some of the state's highest runs, this is one of the better known Midwest ski destinations ... more

Huron Mountain Bakery . Terrific, unpretentious bakery along the highway just south of Marquette ... more

Marquette Baking Co.. This exceptional bakery complements a delightful cluster of food-related shops ... more

Marquette County History Museum. Choice artifacts, some life-sized exhibits with audio, and a good gift shop make this stand out. See an Ojibwa family group,the Burt survey party, a child-scale street of shops ... more

Risak Pottery. Beautifully complex colors adorn the pieces at this Japanese-inspired gallery ... more

Zero Degrees Artist Gallery. Cool new cooperative of broad array of artists. ... more

Greywalls Golf Course. One of Michigan's finest and arguably its visually most dramatic course, Greywalls attracts golfers from across the nation ... more

Ridge and Arch Historic District. A well-maintained neighborhood of historic homes in a variety of late 19th-century styles, and two richly detailed red sandstone churches with unusual stained glass windows, one by Tiffany ... more

Lower Harbor. The beautifully designed focus of the city's Lake Superior waterfront, with a fresh and smoked fish shop, a playground/picnic park next to the marina, a historic lighthouse, a breakwall to walk out on ... more

Marquette Maritime Museum. A colorful museum with lots of great stuff: superb replicas of freighters, three Fresnel lighthouse lenses, hands-on fishing nets and a pilot house, colorful flags from Great Lakes freighters, a miniature reconstruction of a famous WWII naval battle ... more

U.S.S. Darter-Dace Silent Service Memorial. A fascinating computerized, narrated diorama of the Philippine naval battle that crippled the Japanese navy, highlighting the critical role of two subs with U.P. crews and a replica conning tower are part ... more

Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center . At the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center are exhibits on the various immigrant groups who populated the U.P., an historical look at student life at Northern Michigan University, and the artifacts from the life of philanthropist and business magnate Sam Cohodas. ... more

Marquette Harbor Light. Visitors can now tour this oft-photographed lighthouse on the rocks and take the catwalk 300' out to Lighthouse Point, with great panoramic views of Presque Isle, ore dock, harbor, and town ... more

Lakeside bike path from the Inner Harbor to Presque Isle. You can rent a bike or rollerblades for this beautiful, busy shoreline path from the inner harbor to magical Presque Isle Park, passing a beach and picnic area for students and one for families ... more

Lake Superior & Ishpeming RR Ore Dock. Extending a full quarter mile out into the lake, this huge 75' landmark is where you can watch taconite pellets of iron ore delivered by train and noisily dumped into a waiting ore carrier ... more

Alley Kat's Quilt Shop. Outstanding contemporary shop caters to quilters, fiber artists, home sewers, Lots of examples inspire quilters. Designer fabrics, geometrics, wools (for the primitive look), & linen-cotton blends for garments. ... more

Peter White Library. A dream library renovated and expanded through community visioning: restored 1904 reading rooms, an exhibit gallery, a children's room designed by kids, a community art gallery and shop, and a café/coffee bar with fresh Greek specialties ... more

The Village shopping district on Third Street. Between downtown and campus, Third Street has several popular restaurants, an excellent outdoors shop, a terrific fabric shop, a consignment shop, a bead shop ... more

Superior Dome. See the wood framework of the world's largest wood dome, used for athletics and community walking and jogging. Interesting exhibits in its outer corridor feature U.P. minerals, ethnic groups, and Upper Peninsula legends John Voelker, Dominic Jacobetti, Nita Engle, Glenn Seaborg, and Sam Cohodas ... more

DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University. With this facility, the Upper Peninsula has a real art museum, open year-round, with some high-level nationally important exhibits along with local and regional shows ... more

Father Marquette Park/ Chamber of Commerce.. Tourist info with a grand view of a picture-perfect town, harbor, and lighthouse ... more

Marquette County Courthouse. A grand public building from 1902, used with respect. See the impressive courtroom where the Anatomy of a Murder case was tried, the great view from the steps, and the display of Voelker legal memorabilia ... more

St. Peter Cathedral and Baraga Archives. In the cathedral, stained glass windows of saints and scenes from Jesus's life. Next door, the papers of the snowshoe priest from Slovenia involved with the early history of many Michigan communities ... more

Upper Peninsula Children's Museum. Low-tech, free wheeling, imaginative fun in a whacky micro city, a recyclatorium, and a great gift shop. Kids learn about microbiology after sliding down a toilet, fly in a real fuselage cockpit ... more

Marquette Food Co-op. Cheerful one-stop shopping with good produce and more trail mixes, energy bars, soy milk and juices for travelers in the attractive new location downtown ... more

Park Cemetery. Download WMOT deejay Jim Koski's chatty Park Cemetery walking tour and a stroll through this hilly, wooded cemetery becomes a guided tour of the graves of Marquette's founding elite ... more

Jilbert's Dairy. An ice cream parlor is the centerpiece of this headquarters complex of the U.P.'s premier dairy, where you can see milk being processed, picnic next to a giant cow, and shop for various U.P. foods and knick-knacks ... more

Brewmaster's Castle Home. The exterior is exotic, but get a look at what's inside ... more

Mount Marquette Scenic Lookout. A rocky summit provides a glorious views of the city, the bay, and the vast expanse of Lake Superior beyond ... more

Marquette Branch Prison. The 1889 part of the prison that looks like it's out of Victorian England, with pretty inmate-tended flower gardens out front ... more

U.S. 41 road cut with ancient algal stromatolites. Looming above Highway 41, this rocky cliff reveals eroded remains of ancient (2 billion-year-old) mountains once far higher than today's Rockies ... more

Michigan Welcome Center. The picnic area provides a striking view of Marquette Bay and the distant city of Marquette, with helpful tourist info in the log Welcome Center ... more

Blueberry Ridge Cross-Country Ski Trail/Escanaba River State Forest. 12K of trails, 1.7 miles of them lighted, are groomed for ski-skating and diagonal stride ... more

Lakenenland. One of the U.P.'s most unusual roadside attractions, a pipefitter's quirky sculpture park. Part political, part fanciful, done just for fun. No fee, nothing to buy. ... more

Our new interactive map to U.P. motels that offer exceptionally low rates. See also our useful detailed maps to U.P. TOWNS. These custom-made maps locate landmarks and attractions.
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Hunts' Guide to the U.P.

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