“My Marquette” makes front page of Sunday’s “The Mining Journal”
I was recently interviewed by the Mining Journal. The story ran on Sunday, November 14, 2010. Here it is:
Then and now
New book examines Marquette’s history
November 14, 2010 – By CHRISTOPHER DIEM Journal Staff Writer
Tyler Tichelaar, a seventh-generation Marquette native, is one of those people. His grandfather helped build the U.S. Federal Building and his grandparents were engaged at the Marquette Opera House located where the Masonic Center is now.
Tichelaar can trace his ancestry back to Basil Bishop, who arrived in Marquette in 1850. That connection to Marquette inspired Tichelaar to write a series of historical novels about Marquette featuring both real and fictional people and events.
In his new book, “My Marquette,” Tichelaar sticks with the real stories of the people and places in the city.
“The book stores told me what they really needed was a history of Marquette. Nobody had written one for many years. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do that at first but then I had several book clubs that read my books who wanted me to then give walking tours of Marquette,” he said.
The book is set up sort of like a walking tour. Marquette is broken up into geographic locations such as south Marquette, downtown, north Marquette and the Third Street area, among others. There are also sections on the city’s historical homes, Lakeshore Boulevard and Presque Isle and locations on the way to Big Bay.
Tichelaar did a lot of research while writing his novels so had most of the information for his new book already on hand. He gleaned facts from old Mining Journal clippings, the J.M. Longyear Research Library, the Peter White Public Library, various museums and old census records.
“A lot of it is family stories, information that older relatives gave me, especially my grandpa and my great-aunts and uncles. And a lot of it is more personal memories,” Tichelaar said. “For instance, I talk about the Bavarian Inn that used to be over by K-Mart. My grandparents were friends with the owner of the Bavarian Inn. So a lot of that is based on memories and family photographs.”
He said the section about the historical homes grew larger than he had anticipated and he didn’t even include all the homes he could have.
“I just wanted to know who the people were that lived in all of these houses. … I found lots of stories about people who I had never heard of,” he said. “We always hear about Peter White or the Longyears, but there were a lot of other families that lived in that historical district or other places in Marquette that were significant but have been forgotten over the years.”
Tichelaar is still finding interesting personal connections to the past. His ancestor Basil Bishop came to Marquette intending to build a forge but instead worked with Amos Harlow at Harlow’s forge. Last year, there was an estate sale at the Harlow House. Tichelaar went “mainly because I wanted to see what the house looked like.”
But what he found shocked him.
“I picked up a book and my fourth-great aunt’s name was in the book. It had been her hymnal from the 1840s and they had known the Harlow family, so somehow it got into the Harlow family’s hands,” he said.
Tichelaar’s book is available at area book stores, including Snowbound Books, Book World, Northern Michigan University Book Store as well as Peter White Public Library and Superior View. For more information and a list of places around the Upper Peninsula where the book is sold, go to www.marquettefiction.com.
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His e-mail address is email@example.com