Hunts' Guide to The Upper Peninsula

Ridge and Arch Historic District

Ridge St. pile
The 1880 mansion of machinist and investor Daniel Merritt is the most imposing residence remaining in the Ridge and Arch historic district. The 1880 sandstone pile is at 410 E. Ridge.

Marquette's mining, shipping, and commercial magnates built their homes on a high bluff between downtown and the harbor. The dramatic site and the concentration of grand, well maintained historic homes in an intact neighborhood make this a fine place for a leisurely walk. A $2 printed walking tour can be purchased at the Marquette County History Museum on Front Street, open weekdays.

Larger, older houses are on the long blocks of the east-west streets, starting with Ridge, and north of it, Arch, Michigan, and Ohio. Here are some architectural highlights, beginning at Ridge at High, with historical details from Kathryn Bishop Eckert in her Buildings of Michigan survey of historic architecture and her much more detailed The Sandstone Architecture of the Lake Superior Region.

• FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. 111 E. Ridge at Front. The two steeples of this big brownstone church on the Ridge are distinctive elements of the city skyline. Amos Harlow, one of Marquette's founders, was with his wife Olive the moving force to build the church. Peter White helped raise funds though he was not a Methodist. Harlow's wealth was based on real estate speculation and development in the growing city. The Romanesque Revival church was finished in 1873. Beautiful stained glass windows incorporate ships, anchors, and the Ten Commandments. A later remodeling blocked the large round window over the entrance. Sculpted in Stone ($17.50), a detailed history of the church's first hundred years, can be looked at in the entrance foyer. The office is open weekdays from 9-4 in summer, with Sunday worship at 8 and 10 a.m. Winter hours are 8:30 to 4:30, with Sunday services at 9 and 11:15 a.m. (906) 225-1344. Wheelchair-accessible through side entrance, elevator.

• ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 201 E. Ridge at High. Marquette's wealthiest congregation spared few expenses in taking St. Paul's Cathedral in Green Bay as the model for their impressive Gothic Revival brownstone church, finished in 1876. Kathryn Eckert wrote that its "rich hammer-faced walls and high-style Gothic forms celebrate both the social and economic achievements of the parish and the city. [It] was conceived in the strictest ecclesiological terms. . . . [It is] so elegant and splendid inside and out that some regarded it as out of character with this city in the wilderness." She called the architect, Gordon Lloyd, "one of the Midwest's most fashionable church architects." His work throughout the Michigan is familiar to Episcopalians and admirers of 19th-century historic buildings.

    Visitors are welcome to stop in at the church office on Ridge Street, pick up a tour pamphlet, and look inside. The brilliant stained glass windows, recently restored and releaded, are visitor favorites. The Christian Family window (1922) shows Christ blessing the 11 children of Samuel and Juliet Graeveret Kaufman, one of whom built Granot Loma.

    Ask to be admitted to the Morgan Memorial Chapel (1887-1889), paid for by Peter White as a memorial to his son. The Resurrection Window in the west gable, from the Tiffany studios, is strikingly contemporary and abstract in the way the rich, deep reds and blues on the circumference blend and become light and bright in the center, for a transcendent, spiritual effect. (906) 226-2912. The office is open in summer Mon-Thurs 9-noon. Otherwise it's Mon-Thurs 8-noon. Or you could come to 5:30 Wednesday evening prayer, or to Sunday services at 10:30 Sept-May, at 10 in summer. Wheelchair accessible.

• The elaborate 1880 ITALIAN VILLA at 410 E. Ridge. Its huge central tower makes it a sort of a Charles Addams affair in sandstone. It was built for Daniel Merritt, who made a lot of money first in a foundry and machine shop, then by investing in mining, banks, and land. He too was an Episcopalian. A master stonemason from Devonshire, England, designed the house and many of Marquette's leading buildings. Here he used variegated sandstone, reddish brown streaked with white, to good effect.

• The 1875 brown sandstone GOTHIC REVIVAL HOUSE at 430 E. Arch, built for Andrew Ripka from Philadelphia, who managed the mines' railroad company and dock.

• The board-and-batten GOTHIC REVIVAL HOUSE at 450 E. Ridge, built in 1867 in the picturesque style of Andrew Jackson Downing for Henry Mather and Mary Hewitt Mather. (They also had a home in Cleveland.) He came from Cleveland to buy iron-rich land and became the first president of the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, precursor of Cleveland-Cliffs. Later this house became the summer home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice George Shiras. Summers in Marquette led his son, the celebrated wildlife photographer George Shiras III, to explore the outdoors and take up wildlife photography.

• The newer homes east of Arch and Cedar, on the bluff overlooking Marquette Bay, mark the site of the John and Mary LONGYEAR MANSION, one of the largest and grandest houses in the Upper Midwest. It can now be seen in Brookline, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. It was a vast sandstone mansion in the round-arched, vigorous Romanesque Revival style, with landscaping designed after a site visit by no less than Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of the American parks movement. Longyear, from Lansing, started with surveying jobs and parlayed the influence of his father, a Congressman and judge, into a fortune of millions. As a landlooker, Longyear became familiar with Marquette mineral lands, then went on to make fortunes on the Gogebic and Mesabi iron ranges. "Longyear's shrewd ability to assess the region's mineral and timber resources and to deal with speculators, developers, and regulators aided his own transactions," writes Eckert. The Longyears planned to donate bluffside property near here as a memorial park for their dead son. Other civic leaders rejected the plan and opted to build a railroad along the lakeshore. Rebuffed, the Longyears dismantled the house under the architect's direction, shipped it off on 190 railroad cars - this oft-told story is always embellished with 190 railroad cars— and rebuilt it in Brookline. The rebuilt Longyear Mansion, after serving as a museum and archive for the Christian Science church headquarters, is now the clubhouse for an elite condominium project that adjoins it and respects its historic architecture.

• The 1887 SHINGLE STYLE HOUSE at 425 Ohio, one of the few surviving houses designed by the important Chicago architect John Wellborn Root.—8/2010
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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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