Now about Marquette

When we last surfaced in this blog, we barely had pulled into Marquette.   The largest town on the Yoop.  The “Queen City.”

What’s that?  Cincinnati is the “Queen City?”  So is Charlotte?  And Fargo?  Turns out there are some forty Queen Cities in these United States, including three in Alabama alone.*  But this post is about Marquette, because we’re in Marquette.

Before we left for another trip back to take care of some stuff in Arizona, we bopped around town for a couple of days.  The paths are green and cool and go through foliage that isn’t at all like Arizona.

We’re suckers for cool buildings, and despite being small for a “city,” Marquette has a mess of them.  Starting with the “World’s Largest Wooden Dome.”  We have no idea if the claim is true, but the Superior Dome—which is home to Northern Michigan University Wildcat football—is impressive.  We’d never heard of the Superior Dome before and as we approached Marquette in the haze we thought it probably was a huge sand pile, but we walked over to check it out.  We are able to confirm that indeed it’s a wooden dome.

NMU’s website says it’s fourteen stories high at its peak, covers over five acres, and required over a hundred linear miles of Douglas Fir decking.  Sadly the Superior Dome was closed, so we couldn’t go in and personally verify any of these measurements.

Marquette Harbor Light is another of those lighthouses that now is a supposedly-haunted museum.  It dates to 1866, when Marquette’s proximity to vast iron ore deposits created a boom in the shipping business.  Sadly the lighthouse was closed, so we couldn’t go in and verify that indeed there are ghosts flitting about.

Here’s St. Peter’s Cathedral.

St. Peter’s is impressive and has a bunch of history and all, but mostly we remain in awe of the Catholic tradition of fundraising.  Per the official Catechism, “The faithful . . . have the duty of providing for the material needs of the church.”  The non-faithful might quibble with using parishioners’ tithes to build an ornate cathedral that arguably isn’t a “material need,” but at least it’s pretty.  Sadly St. Peter’s was closed, so we couldn’t go in and donate.

After he was George Bailey and before he was Ranse Stoddard, Jimmy Stewart was a small-town lawyer who worked a minor miracle in Anatomy of a Murder, which was based on an actual criminal trial that unfolded at the stately Marquette County Courthouse where the movie later was filmed.  We do love a good movie site.

Next up, Old City Hall.  In the few minutes we were willing to spend on research we didn’t find anything interesting about it, but here it is.

This former customs house is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the Upper Peninsula.  A developer bought it and is turning it into a condo building.  If we were buying a condo we’d want a porch and more windows and better parking, but that’s just us.

Now, we know that not everyone is into old buildings.  Someone reasonably might say “The old buildings are okay, but what if I was short on time in Marquette and unexpectedly but urgently needed to buy a colorful ukulele?”  Yup, Marquette’s got you covered.  Sadly the store was closed, so we couldn’t go in and show off our harmonized rendition of “Tiny Bubbles.”

The park near the marina has a memorial dedicated to native son David H. McClintock, a naval officer whose submarine exploits “changed the course” of the Second World War.   Maybe that’s home-town hyperbole and maybe it isn’t, but the memorial is one of the coolest we’ve seen.

A couple of other boat-related things.  Ocean Navigator pulled in during our stay.  We last saw her alongside the wall in Sault Ste. Marie.  Ocean Navigator was interesting because (1) her itinerary doesn’t seem to include Marquette, and (2) although she never leaves the Great Lakes her stern shows Nassau as her home port.

We found the latter point rather disturbing, until we remembered that Tumbleweed’s home port is Scottsdale.

An unnamed Marinette 28 has been next to our spot at Cinder Pond, which wasn’t really all that interesting until we looked inside.  That’s a museum-quality display of spoon lures right there.

Finally, the nice couple on Blessings Flow pulled in while we were gone.  They’re just starting their Loop.  It wasn’t until we were chatting with Lance and Brenda that we realized we knew their Bayliner back when she was Baytripper.  Although we had some fun times playing cards and pickleball with Bruce and Bev, it’s not our fault we didn’t immediately recognize the boat because it no longer reeks of dead Asian carp.

So that’s Marquette.  If all goes as planned, ten hours underway tomorrow will get us to Hancock.


*For obvious reasons, the Alabama tidbit brings to mind Sammy Kershaw’s classic song “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer,” which includes one of the great lines in country music: “She said he rebuilds engines and his name is Earl, he’s the Charlie Daniels of the torque-wrench.”  Poetry.  Pure poetry.

4 thoughts on “Now about Marquette”

  1. Fun Facts:


    *Population: 241,361 (2020 Census)
    *Area: 184 square miles
    *Population Density: 1312/square mile (rounded to the nearest whole person)

    *Source: Wikipedia, Scottsdale, AZ page

    Upper Peninsula (Da Yoop)
    **Population: 301,609 (2020 Census)
    **Area: 16,377 square miles
    **Population Density: 18/square mile (also rounded to the nearest whole person)

    **Source: Wikipedia, Upper Peninsula of Michigan page

    I hope you get a good view of the Big Bay Lighthouse as you round the corner and head to the Keewenaw. The lighthouse is now a B&B and has great views from the tower.


    1. And as of today, Scottsdale and the UP both are covered in wildfire smoke.

      Sadly, the Big Bay Lighthouse mostly was obscured by hazy smoke (or smoky haze), although the photo we took may appear in the next post.

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