Posted tagged ‘Huron Mountain Club’

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.

Fabulous Granot Loma

September 18, 2011

Granot Loma is probably the most impressive home on the Lake Superior shoreline. Rumor has it that the Kaufmans were not allowed to become members of the exclusive Huron Mountain Club, apparently because of their Jewish or Indian blood, so Louis G. Kaufman decided to build his own cottage along the lake. By the time he was done, it far outshone any cottage at the Huron Mountain Club and any home in Marquette as well. In fact, it is one of the most distinctive homes ever built.

Granite Loma Birds Eye View

Granite Loma, Bird’s Eye View – Courtesy of Superior View

Louis G. Kaufman made his fortune in banking, as well as marrying into money. His wife, Marie, was the daughter of Otto Young, who was worth $20,000,000 in 1900 and had made his fortune in banking, real estate, and jewelry stores. Mr. Young had agreed to give $1,000,000 to each grandchild born, resulting in the Kaufman children being known as the “million dollar babies.”

The house was built in 1919 on a granite loma (a flat, broad-topped hill), but the name was spelled as Granot Loma by using the first two letters of each of the first five Kaufman children’s names: Graveraet, Ann, Otto, Louis, and Marie. Louis G. Kaufman’s other children would be Juliet, Mary, and Jane. Built as a summer lodge, the 20,000 square foot home contains thirty-five rooms, and sixteen additional buildings for its Loma Farms to result in a full 5,180 acres, with 3.6 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. The lodge itself was built of Idaho pine from Oregon. Nearly three hundred workers were involved in the lodge’s construction.

The size of everything in the lodge is astounding. The fireplace in the Great Room is large enough to hold four foot logs. The garage was built to hold twenty-four automobiles with room above it for twenty-four male servants. Above the laundry are rooms for twenty-four female servants. Even more impressive is the décor. Rustic Northwoods and Indian motif themes are notable throughout. All the original furniture was handcrafted by imported Norse craftsmen. Beds, chairs, and tables are made of white pine. The Great Room’s chandelier is made from a large pine stump. Birchwood and bark line the bedroom walls.

The Kaufmans had no trouble attracting guests to the lodge when it was finished. George Gershwin himself picked out the grand piano (another would be chosen by Gershwin for Kaufman auditorium in the Graveraet School). Other famous visitors included Lionel Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Fred Astaire, Cole Porter, Alma Gluck, and Irene Castle. Entire Broadway troupes would come to entertain, complete bands would be transported here so the guests could dance, and a hundred guests at a time would descend on the lodge to go hunting and fishing.

Meanwhile, the Loma Farms flourished with thirty purebred Guernsey cows, two hundred Yorkshire pigs, one hundred fifty cows and race horses, and six hundred chickens. Mr. Kaufman even had polo ponies which he took with him each winter when he went to Florida.

When Mr. Kaufman died in 1942, his son Otto Young Kaufman continued to operate the farm until 1947 when it closed. Mrs. Kaufman died in 1956 in Monte Carlo. In her will, she left bequests to all her daughters and $80,000,000 in trust until the death of her last surviving daughter. The lodge was inherited by her daughter Marie Joan Kaufman and her husband Jack Martin.

Joan Kaufman, as she was more commonly known, had several failed marriages before she married Jack Martin and inherited the lodge. The Kaufmans, being a banking family, naturally came into contact with the Biddle banking family of Philadelphia. Anthony Drexel Biddle would be known as “The Happiest Millionaire” with a film of that name based on his eccentric life. His nephew, George Drexel Biddle, son of his brother Craig Biddle, would be Joan’s first husband. They were married in 1926 when George was twenty-three and Joan only nineteen. The marriage lasted several years, resulting in two daughters, Daisy Laura Biddle and Lou Ann Biddle, and a son, Drexel Biddle. Drexel would be born at Granot Loma.

For whatever reason, the Biddle marriage did not last, and Joan would go through a string of husbands, although she would have no more children. She married a man named Polk, divorced him, then married him again. She also married a man named Winterstien who was apparently a bully. Then in 1941, she embarked on her short-lived marriage to W.F. Ladd Jr. Her fifth divorce would be her last one. By 1946, she wed her sixth husband while still only thirty-nine years old.

Jack Martin had started working at Granot Loma in 1938 as a barn boy or laborer, but soon he was travelling with Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman to New York and became close with the family. Like Joan, he had a history of divorces. He divorced his first wife about the time he went to work for the Kaufmans and married his second wife, Mary Lou Ellis, a young girl who worked at the farm. After Joan Kaufman divorced Mr. Ladd, she became jealous of Mary Lou, even calling the police to have her put off the property at one point. In 1946, Jack Martin divorced his second wife and married Joan. Jack and Joan would stay together the rest of their lives—nearly thirty years.

My grandfather, Lester White, worked at Granot Loma in the 1950s and my uncle Jay White accompanied him at times. My family has several photographs which my grandpa took of the farm buildings from this time. During these visits, my Uncle Jay became friends with Joan Kaufman’s son, Drexel Biddle. My mother recalls Drexel visiting my grandparents in the 1950s to see my uncle. One year my grandmother gave Drexel an Easter basket, which he really thought was splendid. I guess millionaire’s children don’t get Easter baskets.

After Joan Kaufman died in 1975, her husband Jack inherited the estate until his death in 1982. Then, Granot Loma was sold outside of the Kaufman family. Already in the 1970s, famed boxer Mohammed Ali had considered purchasing it, and Gerald Ford had thought about buying it to serve as his Michigan-based Western White House. The lodge was bought instead by Mr. L. Tom Baldwin, a bond trader and investor from Chicago for $4,255,000. After Baldwin made extensive repairs, he put it on the market again for $12,000,000 in 1990. When there were no takers, he continued to own the house as a vacation home to get away from the stress of the New York stock exchange. Today, he resides at Granot Loma full-time while operating his business. What better place to work from home?


Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation resident of Marquette and the author of several historical fiction novels, including The Marquette Trilogy, as well as the history book My Marquette: Explore the Queen City of the North. Learn more about him and his books at

The Overshadowed Drowning – Hugh Allen

August 16, 2010

In my last post, I wrote about Howard Longyear’s famous drowning. Sadly, the Longyears resulting decision to move their mansion has overshadowed that Howard Longyear’s friend Hugh Allen drowned with him. Here is a little about the Allen family and home from My Marquette:

The Allen Home today

This home was built in 1887 for Ephraim W. Allen, the treasurer of the DSS&A Railroad. The son of a Salem, Massachusetts preacher, Mr. Allen came to Marquette in 1880 as a bookkeeper for the Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette Railroad while the railroad was still being built. Before the railroad was complete, Senator McMillan, its prime builder, appointed Allen as its cashier and paymaster. Mr. Allen would be one of the charter members of the Huron Mountain Shooting and Fishing Club. His son, Hugh, was great friends with Howard Longyear; both boys would drown in Lake Superior in 1900 while canoeing together between Marquette and the Huron Mountain Club. Upon his son’s death, Mr. Allen retired from the Club, but in sympathy, the other members granted him a lifelong membership until his death in 1916.

Don’t forget, My Marquette is available for preorder at a discounted price. All books will ship in time for Christmas. Visit MarquetteFiction today.

Howard Longyear – Marquette’s Most Famous Drowning

August 8, 2010

In the last three weeks, five people have drowned in Lake Superior, in Grand Marais, and at Marquette’s Presque Isle Park and Picnic Rocks. If you are going to swim in Lake Superior, remember always to swim with a buddy; do not swim in bad conditions, even moderate waves, and know the conditions.

In celebration of August being maritime month, I thought I would post here about Marquette’s most famous drowning, as retold in my upcoming book My Marquette:

The Longyear Mansion’s residence in Marquette would be short-lived as the result of family tragedy. In 1900, Howard Longyear and his friend Hugh Allen drowned in Lake Superior while canoeing between Marquette and the Huron Mountain Club. The Longyears were devastated and walked the entire shoreline from the Huron Mountains to Presque Isle Park, hoping to find their son still alive.

Once they accepted Howard’s death, the Longyears decided they would donate their property below the bluff to the City of Marquette to build a memorial park named for their son. When the Marquette and Southwestern Railroad announced it wanted to run a railway through the property, the Longyear family entered into a legal battle with the railroad which was settled in the railroad’s favor.

When the blasting for the rail bed began, the Longyears decided to go to Europe. Mrs. Longyear was so angry at the railroad and the City of Marquette that she vowed never again to set foot in Marquette. Mr. Longyear agreed to move back East, but he did not want to leave behind their fabulous home, so while the couple was riding down the Champs Elysees in Paris, he suggested they actually bring the house with them when they moved to Massachusetts. Mrs. Longyear readily agreed.

The undertaking was massive. In January, 1903, the dismantling began and by June, the house was starting to be reassembled in Brookline, Massachusetts, three miles inland from the ocean because Mrs. Longyear did not want to hear the ocean’s pounding surf, which would remind her of Lake Superior’s roaring waves that had claimed her son. The move would take three years, longer than it took originally to build the house. Each stone block had to be cleaned, numbered, carefully wrapped in straw and cloth and then shipped east. In all, 190 train cars would be used to transport the house. The move was considered an engineering miracle at the time and listed in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” Before reassembly was completed, it was decided the house would not look well on its new property in its current shape, so it was laid out differently. When the newer version of the home was completed, new additions were made until it contained one hundred rooms.

My great-great grandfather, William Forrest McCombie, was among those hired to disassemble the house. My great-grandmother, Barbara McCombie White, wanted to see the house, so her father told her if she would bring him his lunch about noontime when most of the workers were on their lunch breaks, she wouldn’t be in the way and could look around. Once she started walking through the house, she became lost and her father had to go find her. This family story inspired a scene in The Queen City where Margaret gets lost in the mansion.

The Longyears lived in their Brookline home until their deaths. John M. Longyear passed away in 1922 and Mrs. Longyear in 1931. Mrs. Longyear bequeathed the home to the Mary Baker Eddy Foundation—Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science religion. After the Longyear children contested the will, the home became both the headquarters for the Longyear Foundation and a museum for the Christian Science church. In 1985, an episode of the popular television show Spenser for Hire was filmed there. In 1996, the expense of maintaining the home as a museum became too high and it was sold for $6.5 million to a developer who turned it into luxury condominiums.

Mrs. Longyear never did set foot again in Marquette, but because Mr. Longyear needed to continue doing business there, he built a home at Ives Lake at the Huron Mountain Club where the Longyears would stay whenever they were in Upper Michigan, and Mr. Longyear would often stay overnight in Marquette as needed. Today, many of the Longyears’ descendants continue to live in Upper Michigan.

My Marquette - Coming Christmas 2010!

For more information about the Longyear Family, including photographs, read my upcoming book My Marquette and visit my website

Return to Ives Lake

July 7, 2010

Last month the Marquette County History Museum held a fundraiser with a special afternoon excursion at Ives Lake. Ives Lake is located at the Huron Mountain Club and was the summer retreat of Marquette’s Longyear family. The visit was particularly meaningful to me because my grandfather, Lester White, was the caretaker there from 1971-1976 so I was a frequent visitor during that time when I was a very young child. My mom and I made the visit last month and took the following photos. My short story “Flannel Shirt” largely takes place at a fictionalized version of Ives Lake. Since the story has just been published in the latest issue of “Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing,”  Vol. II, no. 3, people might be interested in seeing photos of the place that inspired the story.

The back of the barn.

The Barn and Caretaker's House

The Guest House

The side and roof of the barn.


My mom and I had a wonderful time reminiscing about the many happy summers we spent at Ives Lake, swimming, fishing, playing in the yard, watching my grandpa feed the chipmunks and raccoons and even a woodchuck. I remember my fifth birthday party here when I got a record player and Peter Pan records, the kind with the book and story. I trust a few of my readers remember those.

If you ever get a chance to visit Ives Lake, take the opportunity. I’ll post more about its history later, and of course, you can read about it in my upcoming book My Marquette.

My Marquette - Coming Christmas 2010!