D. Frederick Charlton – Early Marquette Architect

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.

Explore posts in the same categories: Downtown Marquette, Marquette History, Marquette's Historical Homes, Upper Michigan History, Upper Michigan Sites to Visit

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5 Comments on “D. Frederick Charlton – Early Marquette Architect”

  1. Steven Clark Says:

    Dr. Charlton’s house was duplicated right next door at 434 E. Ohio St for his mother in law to live in. The houses were still very much alike in my youth but have grown very different. My parents bought the home from the owners Dr and Mrs. Hornbogan in 1950 and lived there until mom’s death in 1990. It was the only placed I lived until I married in 1978 at the age of 24. I recall seeing an old Homes of Marquette booklet from the late 1890’s that show the identical twins next to each other. I did not know Dr Chaleston was responsible for them himself and for so many other historic buildings. Thank you! Steve Clark.

  2. Steve Clark Says:

    Dr. Charlton’s home at 438 East Ohio was duplicated next door at 434 East Ohio for his mother in law. It was my parent’s home from 1950 to 1990 and then my brother and his wife lived there until the late 1990’s. My parents bought it from Doctor Hornbogan in 1950 when they moved to Arch Street. The houses have both been changed many times swapping turns with owner renovations so from the inside you could almost not even see the likeness. As the Goggle street view shows, you can still see some of the sameness,
    When my maternal grandfather had to move in with us in 1975, I was religated to the “maids room” on the thrird floor. The maid must have had to sleep on top of the radiator or under a big bed cover becasue it was not insulated. Grandpa paid to have the room insulated and added a wall heater. The walk through the attic to the stairway was a real wake up experience in January and I rarely slept in my bedroom in August and July with no cross ventilation.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thank you for the comments. I did not realize there was a duplicate of his house. That is fascinating. I will have to walk by there and check them both out. I always appreciate extra information.

      Best wishes,

  3. Blaine Betts Says:

    The Vierling home in the 100 block of W. Hewitt Ave. was designed by the same architect responsible for Marquette’s City Hall, Andrew Lovejoy.

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