Those of my readers who are expatriate Yoopers may not yet have seen that the Superior Dome is getting a new look. Originally built of wood, its wooden look disappeared when the gray rubber was placed over it, but now a new layer in a beige color looks like it will restore a semblance of the wooden look to the building. Here are a couple of photos I took about three weeks ago when the change was beginning. As of today, about half of the Dome’s roof is now the new color. In addition, I’m posting the section from My Marquette about the Superior Dome.
From My Marquette:
The Superior Dome
“Your mother’s right,” said Eleanor. “We can’t take our safety for granted anymore. Marquette isn’t like when I was young and everyone knew everyone else. Why there’s something like twenty-five thousand people living here now and that big sports building they’re putting up—the world’s largest wooden dome or whatever they claim it is, it’s only going to attract more people here.”
“I doubt it,” said Tom. “No one’s going to come all the way up here to see that dome.”
“They’re only building the dome,” said Ellen, “because NMU is going to be an Olympic training center, and they want to impress the governor so he’ll give the school more money.”
“It just makes me sick to think what that dome and the Olympics will attract to this area,” said Eleanor. “All those kids training for Olympic boxing will be coming up from Detroit, nothing but a bunch of undesirables from the ghettos. They’ll only bring trouble with them.” — Superior Heritage
The Superior Dome was controversial from its start when it was first proposed in the late 1980s. People claimed it was built to impress the governor so the university would receive more money, including to fund the new Olympic training program. Many people felt the nearly $3,000,000 price tag was a waste of money, and people mocked the project and wanted to name it “The Yooper Dome.” Nevertheless, it was built and opened in the fall of 1991. While impressive from a distance, up close one wonders about the rather messy looking grey roof. The building was supposed to have a wooden appearance, but from early on, the Dome leaked and the rubber material had to be placed over it. Despite the leak, on May 1, 1993, commencement services were held in the Dome for the first time. I was part of that first graduating class.
The Superior Dome replaced the old football field, a huge advantage since half of Northern’s football season is played when snow is likely to fall, so games could now be played inside. The Dome, and later the Berry Events Center, built for hockey, also shifted community activities away from the Lakeview Arena. Today, numerous recreation and other shows are held in the Dome. Every year, I can be found there the first weekend of December at the TV6 Christmas Craft Show, the largest craft show in Upper Michigan, where I sign and sell my books as thousands of visitors stream through the Dome.
After twenty years, it’s fair to say the Dome has become one of the most recognizable sites in Marquette and part of its history. Despite how people felt about it when it was first proposed, I doubt anyone would part with it now.