Archive for the ‘Marquette’s Historical Homes’ category

Marquette’s Historic Pendill Homes – One for Sale

April 14, 2014

Marquette’s pioneer family left behind it a legacy that included owning one of Marquette’s earliest drugstores, family member Olive Pendill being the first historian of the Marquette Historical Society, and two beautiful historic homes, one of which is now for sale. Both houses and the information included here is taken from my book My Marquette, available at www.MarquetteFiction.com

The Pendill Home at 322 E. Ridge St. in Marquette.

The Pendill Home at 322 E. Ridge St. in Marquette.

The first generation of Pendills in Marquette, James and his wife Flavia, lived in this beautiful home at 322 E. Ridge Street. James Pendill was born in New York in 1812, and after living in Niles, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, he came to Marquette in 1855. He was the representative for Marquette County in 1863-1864 and after moving to Negaunee in 1867, he became its mayor from 1872-1873. He is credited with being the father of Negaunee because he was responsible for laying out a plan for the city. He then moved back to Marquette where he was mayor from 1879-1882. He also was city supervisor for many years and a school board trustee. Mr. Pendill opened the Pendill and McComber mines, and he was also in the mercantile business and built many storefronts and homes and also operated a sawmill. Mr. Pendill died in 1885.

The second generation Pendill home has a fascinating history as well. This house, built in 1878 and located at 401 N. Front Street, was home to James and Flavia’s son, Frank. Frank owned Pendill drugstore in Marquette, which operated for many, many years. His brother Louis also lived here and was involved in the drugstore. Later, their sister Olive lived here after her parents had passed away. Olive was a registered nurse who served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. She later became the first superintendent of nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital, and she was the first historian of the Marquette County Historical Society when it was founded in 1918. She died in 1957 at the age of eighty-nine.

Several visitors and owners of the house in more recent years have claimed to see the ghost of a woman in white inside the home, although it is unclear who the woman is. I recently spoke to one former owner who told me the ghost liked to move about items associated with St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church. In any case, the ghost is reputably harmless.

If you’re looking to buy a historic home in Marquette, even if a haunted one, 401 N. Front Street is now for sale through Gina Feltner Bouws of RE/MAX. The house is listed at $209,900 and interior photos of it and further information can be found at RE/MAX’s website: http://global.remax.com/Detached-For-Sale-Marquette-Michigan_1024005003-108. You can’t beat the location, being within walking distance of the library, downtown, many churches, Third Street and Kaufman Auditorium. I wish you your chance to own a piece of Marquette’s history.

The Historic Pendill Home at 401 N. Front St. in the late 1800s. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)

The Historic Pendill Home at 401 N. Front St. in the late 1800s. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)

Willpower: An Original Play about Marquette’s Ossified Man

February 14, 2014

Yes, the rumors are true. I have written a play titled Willpower. The play is about Will Adams (1878-1909) who lived in Marquette and was ossified. What is ossified? Think petrified and paralyzed. When will you be able to see the play? It will be produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium on Thursday, September 18th and Friday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. It will be directed by Moire Embley and will have a stellar cast.

The Adams home at 200 E. Ridge St. in Marquette where Will lived with his parents, Sidney and Harriet Adams, and his sister Bertha.

The Adams home at 200 E. Ridge St. in Marquette where Will lived with his parents, Sidney and Harriet Adams, and his sister Bertha.

But if you can’t wait that long, you are invited on Wednesday, February 26th to the Marquette Regional History Center’s Annual Meeting, where besides the annual business meeting, introduction of new board members, and presentation of the Peter White and Helen Longyear Paul Awards, I will give a short talk about my process of writing this play and then Jessica Bays will offer a dramatic reading of a scene from the play. The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. at the History Center and free to members and the general public.

Below is some more information about the play from the MRHC’s events listing:

There are some stories that deserve to be told.  As a young boy Will Adams’ soft tissues were becoming harder, turning him into a living statue.  Others faced with such a dark future might have felt sorry for themselves, turning inward.  Not so for Will, his disease brought about an amazing creative burst of energy.  His story is as inspiring today as it was 100 years ago.  With a stellar cast and direction, this will be a “do not miss” production! Tickets in advance are $15; $20 at the door.

Will Adams with his parents, sister Bertha, and close friend Norma Ross (seated), with whom he wrote an operetta.

Will Adams with his parents, sister Bertha, and close friend Norma Ross (seated), with whom he wrote an operetta. (Photo courtesy of the John M. Longyear Research Library)

And here is some more about Will Adams, taken from my book My Marquette:

Will Adams, the adopted son of Sidney and Harriet Adams, was born in 1878 to Detroit parents who died while he was an infant. In his youth, Will was a soloist in the boys choir at school and church and enjoyed athletic pursuits, but a baseball injury resulted in soft tissue becoming hard until eventually he ossified into a living statue. By his mid-teens he was confined to a portable couch and only his face remained mobile. By sheer willpower, Will survived to the age of thirty-one. No longer able to perform athletics, he became one of Marquette’s first literary figures, starting his own magazine business. His family hired him an attendant to whom he could dictate his magazine. He named his magazine CHIPS. Besides his own text, he included political cartoons and even caricatures of such town leaders as Peter White, Nathan Kaufman, and John M. Longyear. The paper was largely supported by advertising, so a phone was installed in the Adams home, and his attendant would hold the phone to Will’s mouth so he could talk up his bi-monthly magazine to prospective advertisers.

Will also composed an opera with his childhood friend, Norma Ross, then the directress of the Marquette schools’ music program. Will hummed melodies and Ross wrote them down. Their end result was the production of Miss D. Q. Pons an opera which premiered at the Marquette Opera House on July 3, 1905 with Ross in the title role. Will viewed the opera from the wing in his portable bed, and when its success led to the troupe traveling for sellout performances in Ishpeming, Hancock, Calumet, and Sault Ste. Marie, Will traveled with them by train. In 1906, Will also founded another newspaper, the Marquette Chronicle to which he contributed an original article each day. He died on August 10, 1909, preceded by his adopted father, Sidney Adams in 1906. Will once joked about his literary efforts, “Every specimen of writ is a silent story of how the author was saved from cerrebrius combustion.”

I hope you will join me in celebrating one of Marquette’s most fascinating historical figures, both at the MRHC’s annual meeting and when the play is performed in September. As Will himself wrote in one of the ads for his own operetta, Miss D.Q. Pons: “you will finally have the chance to enjoy yourself for once in your life.” See you there!

200 E. Ridge ~ The Burt and Adams Home

April 7, 2013

The following is an excerpt from my book My Marquette:

Directly across from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is the Burt house, more commonly known as the Adams Home. The Burt family is one of the most significant in Upper Michigan history beginning with William Austin Burt who discovered iron ore in Marquette County, thus leading to the building of the mines and Marquette as a harbor town. This home was built by William Austin Burt’s grandson, Hiram Burt. Hiram and his wife fell in love with a house in France while traveling there in the 1870s, and they decided to build a replica in Marquette. Hiram owned the Burt Freestone Quarry and used its own brownstone to build his home. It included a Mansard roof with Gothic gables, and a gabled tower. Behind the house, on the sloping hill down to the lake, numerous terraces were built for gardens and a place to hold parties. Hiram Burt decided to sell the house to Sidney Adams, and then he moved to 351 E. Ridge Street.

The Adams home today. The upper floor has been removed and it is currently the Terrace Apartments.

The Adams home today. The upper floor has been removed and it is currently the Terrace Apartments.

Sidney Adams, the house’s second owner, arrived in Marquette in 1850 with only a dollar to his name, but he bought an ax for fifty cents and set out to become a woodsman. He soon could afford to buy a wagon and oxen to deliver wood to his customers. Besides starting a side business as a potato farmer, he received a contract to haul iron ore in his wagons from the mines to Marquette in the years before the first railroad arrived. He also went on to own a sawmill and to invest significantly in land.

When he bought the Burt house, Adams indulged in designing terraces on the hill behind the house and filling them with fruit and vegetables, as well as bridges for people to walk on. He extended the terraces not only behind his property but behind many more houses extending eastward along Ridge Street. Adams also reputedly built an underground tunnel that ran from his house across the street to the Episcopal Church so his invalid adopted son, William Sidney Adams, could attend church without going outside.

Will Adams, the adopted son, was born in 1878 to Detroit parents who died while he was an infant. In his youth, Will was a soloist in the boys choir at school and church and enjoyed athletic pursuits, but a baseball injury resulted in soft tissue becoming hard until eventually he ossified into a living statue. By his mid-teens he was confined to a portable couch and only his face remained mobile. By sheer willpower, Will survived to the age of thirty-two. No longer able to perform athletics, he became one of Marquette’s first literary figures, starting his own magazine business. His family hired him an attendant to whom he could dictate his magazine. He named his magazine CHIPS. Besides his own text, he included political cartoons and even caricatures of such town leaders as Peter White, Nathan Kaufman, and John M. Longyear. The paper was largely supported by advertising, so a phone was installed in the Adams home, and his attendant would hold the phone to Will’s mouth so he could talk up his bi-monthly magazine to prospective advertisers.

Will also composed an opera with his childhood friend, Norma Ross, then the directress of the Marquette schools’ music program. Will hummed melodies and Ross wrote them down. Their end result was the production of Miss D. Q. Pons an opera which premiered at the Marquette Opera House on July 3, 1905 with Ross in the title role. Will viewed the opera from the wing in his portable bed, and when its success led to the troupe traveling for sellout performances in Ishpeming, Hancock, Calumet, and Sault Ste. Marie, Will traveled with them by train. In 1906, Will also founded another newspaper, the Marquette Chronicle to which he contributed an original article each day. He died on August 10, 1909, preceded by his adopted father, Sidney Adams in 1906. Will once joked about his literary efforts, “Every specimen of writ is a silent story of how the author was saved from cerrebrius combustion.”

After her parents and adopted brother’s death, Bertha Adams remained in the house for many years, but as time went on, her father’s terraces fell into disrepair and the gardens became overgrown. When the house was sold in 1946, only slight vestiges of the gardens and terraces remained. After the house was sold, the gabled tower was removed, and the house broken up into the aptly named Terrace Apartments, which it remains today.

(photos of the terraced gardens are included in My Marquette)

The Peter White Home – 460 E. Ridge, Marquette

February 28, 2013

The following is from my book My Marquette. Photos of the Peter White Home are included in the book:

In 1867, Peter White was the first person to build his home on Ridge Street and he lived there until his death in 1908. The home was inherited by his daughter, Frances P. White, and her husband, George Shiras III. George Shiras III was the son of Supreme Court Justice, George Shiras II and his wife, Lillie, another of the Kennedy sisters. George Shiras III would be famous as a naturalist who engineered the ability to photograph wildlife at night. At the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, his work took first prize. Shiras Hills, Shiras Pointe Condominiums, and Shiras Pool at Presque Isle are named for him, but I think he would have been most pleased to be remembered with Shiras Zoo at Presque Isle. George Shiras III would also become a congressman for Pennsylvania and become a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, having a major influence on Roosevelt’s conservation efforts. Roosevelt would stay at the Shiras home when he visited Marquette, most notably in 1913 during his famous trial at the Marquette County Courthouse. George Shiras III died in 1942 and was buried in Marquette. The Shirases would have two children, George Shiras IV and Ellen Shiras. Ellen would marry Frank Russell Sr., owner of The Mining Journal.

The Frazier Home stands where formerly the Peter White Home stood

The historic Peter White home was torn down by the family in the late 1940s because it was considered too expensive to heat. The current home was built in 1949 by Lincoln and Ann Frazier. Ann Reynolds Frazier was a cousin of the Shiras family and the daughter of Maxwell Kennedy Reynolds and Frances Q. Jopling (Frances’ mother was Mary White, Peter White’s daughter). This new home was the first Ranch style home in the historical residential district of Marquette, which makes it historic in its own right despite its looking out of place among its neighbors. The house was featured in Home and Garden as a model modern home. The entire home is built on one level—no upstairs, no basement—and provides spectacular views of the lake from several rooms. Behind it is the original carriage house and Peter White’s terraced gardens. One can imagine Peter White entertaining his guests there with his famous Peter White punch. Today, the home is owned by Lincoln and Ann Frazier’s son Peter White Frazier and his wife, Peggy.

Holly Wilson – Marquette Author of The Hundred Steps

November 13, 2012

Everyone who knows anything about Marquette fiction knows the name of Carroll Watson Rankin, but do you know about Holly Wilson, author of The Hundred Steps?

Holly Wilson in 1966. The photo is taken from a Ferris State University yearbook. Wilson taught in the English Department at Ferris State.

Author Holly Wilson (Helen Finnegan Wilson)  was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but after her father died, her mother, sister, she came to Marquette to live with her grandmother at 328 E. Arch Street. Wilson grew up ice skating on Lake Superior, playing on Arch Street, and devouring books at the Peter White Public Library. She stated, “I began writing as soon as I knew what a pencil and paper were for.” While a college student, she wrote an adult novel The King Pin, which received the highest award in the Avery and Julie Hopwood Awards Contest in fiction.

Wilson married her husband, psychiatrist Frederic W. Wilson, while they were students at the University of Michigan. After her daughters Mary and Anne were born, she continued to write when they napped, and when they were older, she often took them to Marquette to visit their grandmother. While they explored the lakeshore and bluff, Holly Wilson entertained her daughters with stories about her childhood on Arch Street which resulted in her writing her young adult novel Deborah Todd (1955) about the title character and her friends who make up the Arch Street gang. The novel is set in Henry’s Bend, a fictional and thinly-disguised version of Marquette which also makes mention of the Hundred Steps.

Finding that she preferred to write for children and teenagers, Wilson was inspired to write several more young adult novels set throughout Michigan. Her next novel Caroline, the Unconquered (1956) is also set in Henry’s Bend, but in 1853. Clues to its being a fictional Marquette include the village burning down, a reference to Marquette’s 1868 fire. The title character travels across the Great Lakes on the Fur Trader and Siskiwit, schooners that sailed into Marquette in the 1850s. Clara, the Unconquered was the first novel to depict Marquette’s early years. Wilson said she wrote the novel because “I grew up in northern Michigan and all my life I have been fascinated by the courage and endurance of the pioneers who went there when that country was an unknown wilderness….The people who went there during the early days of the iron industry were so possessed by a desire to set down roots that, in spite of the almost unbelievable hardships they had to endure, they refused to be defeated.”

Snowbound in Hidden Valley (1957) was written because Wilson explained, “When I was a little girl in northern Michigan, we once had a Big Blizzard that we talked about for years. The entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan was snowed under and we were cut off from civilization for more than a week.” Although not a sequel, the main character, Jo Shannon, just happens to live next door to Doc Todd, father to Deborah Todd, the title character of Wilson’s earlier novel. Jo befriends Onota Leroy, an Indian classmate, and while visiting her in Hidden Valley, she not only learns Chippewa customs but ends up being lost in a blizzard. The novel represents Wilson’s social conscience—the female main characters are friends despite their racial and ethnic differences. Similarly, in The Hundred Steps (1958) Wilson breaks down social class distinctions to show the goodness of all the townspeople. Oddly, Wilson decided in The Hundred Steps to name the town Clifton, despite the Hundred Steps having been mentioned earlier in Deborah Todd where the town is Henry’s Bend. Wilson would write several more novels including Singamon and Always Anne.The novels are today out-of-print, but they retain their charm and most of them are available to be checked out at the Peter White Public Library.

Double Heritage, Holly Wilson’s last novel, was published in 1971 and tells the story of eighteen-year-old Emily, whose Indian heritage, the Black Hawk War, and a cholera epidemic seem destined to prevent her marriage to the son of one of Detroit’s aristocratic French families.

Wilson was honored in 1965 by attending a dinner for Michigan Artists and Writers hosted by Governor Romney. In 1967, she received the University of Michigan Sesquicentennial Award for her contributions to children’s literature. By 1970, she was an assistant professor of English at Ferris State in Big Rapids, Michigan. Her last book, Double Heritage, was published in 1971.

Her husband’s career as a psychiatrist would result in Holly Wilson living in Kansas, Pennsylvania, and New York as well as Traverse City, Michigan, but she always remained close to Marquette until her death in 1980. Her children also stayed connected to Marquette, and her daughter, Dr. Mary Helen Martin, and her husband, Willard Martin, would return to Marquette to live in the family home. Dr. Martin served as the Director of Mental Health at Marquette General Hospital for over thirty years. She died in 2009.

The Finnegan home where author Holly Wilson grew up at 328 E. Arch St in Marquette

More information about other Marquette authors and historical homes can be found in my book My Marquette, available at www.MarquetteFiction.com.

Carroll Watson Rankin’s Daughter Imogene

June 9, 2012

209 E. Arch St. Marquette – Home of Imogene Rankin Miller

Last night I was fortunate to see Monica Nordeen’s wonderful performance in Behind the Dandelions, the story of Carroll Watson Rankin, author of Dandelion Cottage. She brought the life of Marquette’s first author to life and Carrie Biolo did a marvelous job accompanying the story with music. I learned much about Rankin as a mother, wife, and aspiring author from the performance.

June has been named Dandelion Cottage Month by the Marquette Regional History Center and they have many wonderful activities this month to celebrate Dandelion Cottage, its author, and its place in Marquette history, including book discussions and walking tours. Be sure to visit the history center at www.MarquetteHistory.org for all the details as well as to get your copy of the timeless classic novel.

I’ve posted previously about Dandelion Cottage and Carroll Watson Rankin, so I thought in honor of the month I would post a section from my book My Marquette about Rankin’s daughter Imogene. This section was written for my book by my second cousin Nan Rushton, who worked for Imogene (Mrs. Miller) toward the end of her life. For more information, see my book My Marquette.

From My Marquette:

Carroll Watson Rankin’s daughter, Imogene Miller, lived at 209 E. Arch Street. She had married Stuart Miller and moved away but returned to Marquette with her husband when he retired; they bought this property just a block from where her sister, Phyllis, lived in the Rankin family home. My second cousin, Nanette Rushton, knew Mrs. Miller so I asked her to contribute her memories of the family:

 

Mrs. Miller was in her early nineties when I first met her and her “little sister” Phyllis Rankin, who was then in her eighties. Phyllis would go to the Garden Room Restaurant every day for lunch. I had been waitressing at the Coachlight and later the Garden Room at this time while working for the Trust Department at Union Bank. Some mutual friends, Homer and Margaret Hilton, called me to ask whether I was available to help a friend. They knew I worked for the Trust Department at Union Bank and wondered whether I would work for the Trust Department of First National, which handled all of Mrs. Miller’s business as well as that of her sister, Phyllis Rankin. Mrs. Miller had just lost her son, Berwick Rankin Miller, to a heart attack and was now living alone. She did not care to leave the house so needed someone to grocery shop and keep up the house. Her home was painted white, had a green mansard roof, and lace curtains in the tall windows.

Mrs. Miller’s house was almost exactly a block behind her parents’ house on Ridge Street where her sister Phyllis lived at that time. Across the street was a parking area for the Episcopal Church, an empty lot, and Dandelion Cottage with a couple of more houses on the block toward Pine. Mrs. Argeropoulus was then living in Dandelion Cottage. Her daughter Joyce and son-in-law Scott Matthews would eventually live next door to me. Mrs. Argeropoulus had quite a large garden and would bring beets and “greens” for Mrs. Miller that she liked.

Imogene Rankin Miller in her youth.

Mrs. Miller told me about how she became engaged to her husband at this time. In the early 1900s, Mr. Stuart Berwick Miller was in town to oversee the local branch of DuPont while it was being built; he was a chemical engineer in the munitions field. According to Mrs. Miller, he originally dated her sister Eleanor, but when he asked their father for Eleanor’s hand in marriage, Mr. Rankin said, “I have to have the eldest daughter married first.” So Mr. Miller ended up marrying Imogene, since she was the oldest. They were married in 1910, and they moved back “out east” when Mr. Miller was finished overseeing the project. Over the years, the Millers tried many times to have children. It was heartbreaking for Mrs. Miller that only her son Berwick had survived out of her many pregnancies. Because he never married and died before her, she never had any grandchildren.

When Mr. Miller retired from DuPont, they moved back to Marquette. Besides the house on Arch Street, they had a cabin for summer and hunting not far out of town. During World War II, Mr. Miller was volunteering in the Rationing Stamp office where he died at his desk. Mrs. Miller was always a member of the Episcopal Church and in 1952 she donated the stained glass rose window above the church entrance in her husband and mother’s memories.

Besides grocery shopping, I often visited with Mrs. Miller and stayed with her for a few hours. She did not have a TV until her sister, Phyllis talked her into buying one in 1981 by telling her, “Nan would really like to watch the royal wedding” (of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer). I could have watched the wedding at home but played along so Mrs. Miller would buy a TV. Once she owned the TV, she rarely watched it. She preferred to do crossword puzzles, read books and magazines, (The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, etc) and read the five newspapers she subscribed to… the local Mining Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and a couple of others. She knew everything worth knowing without seeing anything on TV.

Working for Mrs. Miller was like having another grandparent. She was very shy, quiet, reserved, and very humble. I enjoyed hearing about her first ride in a car (the doctor had the first car in town), antidotes about the neighbors as she grew up at the turn of the century, her experiences out east involving the DuPont mansion when Stuart worked for the family. My interest in history was developed during our conversations. One day, she mentioned something about “…when my husband was in the war” I was trying to figure out if she meant World War I or World War II, so I asked, “Which war was that?” I was totally unprepared for her answer. She sat up straight, gave me a look with a pause, and said, “The Spanish-American War, of course!”

In January of 1986, Mrs. Miller passed away at the age of ninety-nine in her home. She had fallen in November, and then had round the clock nursing care at home since she refused to go to the hospital because her son had died there. She is buried with her family in Park Cemetery.

The best word to describe Mrs. Miller is “shy.” It’s always the first word that comes to my mind. She was very down to earth, unassuming, yet had known unique experiences in life. A conversation with Imogene Watson Rankin Miller was equal to interaction with an encyclopedia, history text, and society column all at the same time.

D. Frederick Charlton – Early Marquette Architect

May 9, 2012

D. Fred Charlton, the architect who designed so many fine buildings in Marquette, resided at 438 E. Ohio St. in Marquette. Like Hampson Gregory, Charlton was born in England, in 1856. He migrated to Canada in 1884 and Detroit in 1886 where he joined the firm of architect John Scott. In 1887, Scott sent Charlton to Marquette to oversee the erection of the Marquette Branch Prison’s buildings. Charlton decided to stay and eventually began his own firm. Among the highlights of his career was in 1893 when he was chosen to design the Mining Building for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The list of buildings he and his firm built across Upper Michigan is exhausting and a complete list may well be impossible, but among them were:

The Charlton Home – 438 E. Ohio St. Marquette

The Peter White Phelps Home 433 E. Ridge

Dr. O.D. Jones Home 418 E. Hewitt

The Vierling Home 114 W. Hewitt

Bishop Vertin’s home on Superior Street (Baraga Avenue)

The Longyear Mansion

The Waterworks building

The Marquette Opera House

The Guild Hall for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

The Delft Theatre (three total, in Marquette, Escanaba, and Munising)

Marquette’s Delft Theatre, built by Charleton in 1915.

The Clubhouse at the Huron Mountain Club

The Butler Theatre in Ishpeming

The town hall and library in Republic, Michigan

The Masonic Block in Crystal Falls, Michigan

Four buildings and the original design for the Northern State Normal School (today’s Northern Michigan University)

Seven buildings for the Michigan College of Mines (today’s Michigan Technological University)

The Insane Asylum in Newberry, Michigan

Three buildings and two additions for the Marquette Prison

The Marquette, Alger, Ontonagon, and Gogebic County Courthouses

The Escanaba, Ishpeming, and Hancock City Halls

The Negaunee, Escanaba, and Ishpeming Fire Halls

A hotel in the village of Birch, Michigan

Three Carnegie libraries

Sixteen Upper Michigan banks

Nine Upper Michigan churches

Marquette’s Waterworks Building designed by Charlton – today it houses the Marquette Maritime Museum.

Three Upper Michigan YMCA’s

Approximately two hundred fifty different city blocks throughout Upper Michigan

Approximately twenty other public structures

Charlton closed his firm in 1918, citing the lack of building as a result of World War I as the reason. He then retired and passed away in 1941.

A photo of Charlton can be seen in my book My Marquette.

Hampson Gregory – “The Man who Made Marquette Beautiful”

May 2, 2012

The following post is taken from my book My Marquette:

The Hampson Gregory Home

The Hampson Gregory Home

This home (at 301 N. Fourth St. in Marquette) belonged to Hampson Gregory, a local architect and builder whom The Mining Journal said was the man more than any other who was responsible for building Marquette. Gregory was born in Devonshire, England in 1834. He and his family migrated to Canada and then arrived in Marquette in 1867. He frequently worked with sandstone, and many of his buildings reflect the style of English architecture common in his native Devonshire and neighboring Cornwall, England.

Among the buildings Gregory built were:

The Adams Home 200 E. Ridge

The Rankin Home 219 E. Ridge

The Merritt Home at 410 E. Ridge

The Call Home 450 E. Ridge

The Pickands Home 455 E. Ridge

The Hornbogen Home 212 E. Arch

The Read Home 425 E. Arch

The Powell Home 224 E. Michigan

The Ely Home at 135 W. Bluff

St. Mary’s Hospital (the original building, no longer there)

St. Peter’s Cathedral, prior to the 1935 fire

The first high school on Ridge Street, burnt in 1889

The Harlow Block on Washington Street

The Gregory Block on Washington Street (no longer there)

The Pickands Home - one of Hampson Gregory's masterpieces

The Pickands Home – one of Hampson Gregory’s masterpieces

Iron Bay Foundry on the corner of Lake and Washington, later to be the LS&I office

The First Methodist Church – (the foundation only)

The People’s State Bank in Munising, Michigan

One of his finest homes, the Merritt home, introduced Gregory to the Merritt family, and later his daughter, Clara would marry C.H. Merritt. The First Methodist Church has a memorial stained glass window to the Gregory family’s memory. Hampson Gregory died in 1922 and is buried in Park Cemetery. Today, nearly a century after his death, Gregory’s true memorial is the many homes and public buildings he built and which still stand today. The Mining Journal was correct—he remains one of the men most responsible for building Marquette.

Find out more about Hampson Gregory’s legacy in Marquette in My Marquette.

Marquette’s Grand Old Man of the Pacific

December 28, 2011

This house, located at 343 E. Arch Street in Marquette once belonged to Robert Dollar.

The Robert Dollar Home today

Captain Robert Dollar (1844-1932) was a Scottish lumberman who produced timber for the English market. He came to Marquette from Canada in 1882 and soon after built this home. He only remained until 1888, however, when he moved to San Rafael, California due to ill health and the difficult winters.

In California, Dollar became a prominent lumberman and ship-owner and pioneered trade between North America and the Orient. He was given the honorary title of “Captain.” In 1914, he was considered one of the fifty greatest men in the United States, even being featured in Time Magazine. When he died in 1932 at the age of 88, he was affectionately known as the “Grand Old Man of the Pacific.” At the time of his death, California Governor James Rolph Jr. said, “Robert Dollar has done more in his lifetime to spread the American flag on the high seas than any man in this country.” His fortune upon his passing was estimated at more than $40 million.

Although Dollar remained in Upper Michigan for only a short time, his legacy resulted in the town of Dollarville, Michigan, where he once worked as the general manager of a logging camp, being named for him. His memoirs discuss his time in the Upper Peninsula and can be read at: http://www.electricscotland.com/history/rdollar/vol1chapter03.htm

A full biography of Dollar, including the names of his numerous ships, can be found in his entry at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dollar

For more about Marquette’s historical homes and their fascinating residents, read My Marquette.

Marquette’s Harbor Ridge – the Pickands Home 455 E. Ridge

November 18, 2011

If you’ve seen my video for my book My Marquette, you may recognize this house as the cover image for the video. You can watch the video at my website at: www.MarquetteFiction.com

Following is the fascinating history of one of Marquette’s most beautiful and historic homes, as written in my book My Marquette:

455 E. Ridge St. Marquette Harbor Ridge

Harbor Ridge - 455 E. Ridge Street

Known today as Harbor Ridge, this home was built in 1881 by James Pickands, a colonel during the Civil War who had become the head of a large ore and shipping firm on the Great Lakes and Marquette’s fourth mayor in 1876. Pickands was married to Caroline Martha Outhwaite, daughter of John Outhwaite, a director of the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, who spent his summers in Marquette. Outhwaite’s other daughter, Mary (Caroline’s half-sister), married Jay Morse, who had been an agent for the Cleveland Iron Mining Company. Morse and Pickands as brother-in-laws would be good friends all their lives.

John Outhwaite was one of the first residents in Marquette, actually arriving the year before the town was founded. After sleeping his first night on the sand along the lakeshore, the next day he went with his Indian guides to prospect for iron ore. He located the claims for what would become the Cleveland Iron Mining Company. Although other investors such as Dr. Morgan Hewitt and Samuel Mather played more public roles, John Outhwaite was the largest investor in the company when it was incorporated in 1850.

Outhwaite’s many other business interests included retail and wholesale groceries, provisioning, lamp (lard) oil manufacturing, investment in Cleveland’s first iron mill (which was supplied with ore by Cleveland Iron Mining’s mines), brewing, and land development. (His son John Peet Outhwaite of Ishpeming would follow his father’s lead in the grocery and provisioning business). Outhwaite backed his two sons-in-law and Colonel Pickand’s brother Henry in iron production ventures such as the Bay Furnace as well as several of his nephews in the Blackwell family. While John Outhwaite is predominantly credited with being a Cleveland resident, he was actively involved in the Marquette area and according to his descendant, James Pickands Cass, may well be counted as Marquette’s first millionaire.

Colonel Pickands did well for himself with help from his father-in-law. This beautiful Victorian home he built would contain seven fireplaces, beautiful doors of cherry and walnut, and eighteen rooms, but it would not be home to the Pickands for long. Within a week of moving into the home, Mrs. Pickands died. Rumor said the family had moved into the house before the plaster was dry, which resulted in Mrs. Pickands coming down with pneumonia. Unable to live in the home where his wife had died, Pickands sold the house to Henry C. Thurber, and moved with his children to Cleveland. Despite the move, the Pickands family would remain connected to their former Marquette neighbors. Colonel Pickands’ son Henry C. Pickands, would later marry Jennie Call, daughter of Charles and Bessie Call of Marquette (see 450 E. Ridge). In addition, Colonel Pickands’ sister Anna married William Goodwin and in turn the Goodwin’s daughter Helen married Alfred Maynard, son of Matthew H. Maynard (see 350 E. Ridge). Another of his sisters, Caroline, operated an early school in Marquette which became the inspiration for Carroll Watson Rankin’s novel Stump Village (1935).

Colonel Pickands remarried to Seville Hanna, whose brother, Cleveland industrialist Mark Hanna, would be President McKinley’s 1896 campaign manager. After Colonel Pickands died in 1896, his brother-in-law Jay Morse married his widow Seville. Pickands, who had named one of his sons for Jay Morse, probably would have given them his blessing. We can only speculate on what a friendship must have existed between these brother-in-laws. When Morse died in 1906, M.H. Maynard of Marquette said of him, “Jay C. Morse was the most upright and honest man I ever knew. He was thoroughly straight and I don’t believe he ever told a lie in his life. His word was always as good as his bond, and he was well liked by all with whom he came in contact.”

Henry C. Thurber, this home’s second owner, was the co-owner of the Hebard-Thurber Lumber Company. As Marquette’s tenth mayor, he would also help Peter White raise money to build the road to Presque Isle. Thurber did not live in the house for long before selling it to Frank Bennett Spear, Marquette’s ninth mayor.

Frank Spear was married to Sara Kennedy, which linked him to most of the Ridge Street families by marriage. Spear had come to Marquette in 1864. He founded F. B. Spear & Co., later known as Spear & Sons; the dock he built in the harbor early on was the only one to survive the 1868 fire. Spear began his company by dealing in wholesale and retail grain and feed, and in time, the company would also handle coal, wood, lime, brick, cement, fuel oil, sand, gravel, lumber, and other building materials. After Frank Spear’s death in 1924, his sons and grandchildren would carry on the business until the company closed its doors in 1993. I remember going to the Spears building on West Washington Street many times in the 1970s and 1980s with my grandfather, Lester White, so he could pick up wood to do his carpentry work.

Spear’s son, Frank B. Spear II, inherited the home. His wife, Rachel, was a huge collector of bells and her collection was featured in numerous collector magazines. The collection included more than 600 bells from forty countries, one of Bishop Baraga’s altar bells from the Indian Mission on Keweenaw Bay, a silver bell from a lady’s garter, a Chinese costume bell, and the bell to Engine 26 from the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad. Today, the famous Rachel Spear bell collection can be seen on display at the Peter White Public Library.

As for Harbor Ridge, in the late twentieth century, it would belong to another Marquette Mayor, William Birch and his wife Sally. The Birchs became the saviors of Dandelion Cottage when, rather than allow it to be torn down, they moved it to their backyard where it became 440 E. Arch Street.

Discover more Marquette history in My Marquette, available at: www.MarquetteFiction.com


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