Posted tagged ‘logging’

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.

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Wetmore Landing’s Namesake

June 7, 2011

It’s summer and many of us will be venturing to favorite places along Lake Superior in Marquette County. One of those favorite places is Wetmore Landing, but how many of us know where the name came from? Here is what I wrote in My Marquette about Mr. Wetmore and his home in Marquette:

William L. Wetmore lived at 314 E. Ridge St. in Marquette (the home is no longer standing). He was one of the co-founders along with M.H. Maynard, Peter White, William Burt and his grocer brother F.P. Wetmore to organize the Huron Bay Slate and Iron Company, which owned the company town of Arvon as well as a 200 yard wooden dock built on Huron Bay, which was never to have any ore deposited or shipped from it.

In 1871, William Wetmore cut hardwood and built kilns to make charcoal in Alger County as well as founding a general store there. When he retired in 1894, the small community was renamed Wetmore in his honor.

Wetmore Landing was initially a clearing along shore where lumbermen could bring logs out of the forest to the lake from where they could be rafted down to Marquette.  Today it is a popular beach for swimming, as well as surfing, and the rocks along the shore make a good spot from which to fish. Next time you visit, remember that it is not only a place to surf or enjoy the scenery but once a significant part of U.P. history and the logging era.

My First Visit to the New Marquette Regional History Museum

March 12, 2011

Yesterday I visited for the first time the exhibits at the new Marquette Regional History Museum. My first reaction was simply, WOW! And then as I walked through the exhibits, I felt more overcome with emotion than anything to think such a stunningly beautiful museum should exist in Marquette.

Just how “beautiful” was to me the biggest surprise. I knew that in the new museum the space would be larger, I knew more of the museum’s collection would be displayed, and more history told, but I was not at all prepared for the aesthetic effect. There are gorgeous murals painted by local artist Liz Yelland, there are numerous different subjects, all arranged beautifully, there are interactive parts of the museum, and so many pieces of history I had no idea the museum even had. More than anything I marvelled at the overall layout and all the work and planning that must have gone into the entire building and especially the exhibits.

Somewhere I hope Helen Longyear Paul, Olive Pendill, Ernest Rankin, Fred Rydholm, and the many, many other departed souls who were pioneers and early supporters of the museum could see what all their hard work, devotion, and vision for a Marquette County Historical Society that became a museum and now a regional history center has expanded and grown into.

And of course, most of the success is due to director Kaye Hiebel and all the staff, the museum board, all the generous donors in the community, and all the people who support the museum by visiting it. It is a job well done in every way possible, and I feel personally grateful to everyone who contributed in any way.

I would have loved to provide some photographs of the exhibits but photography is not allowed in the exhibits, so you will just have to visit the museum yourself to see everything, and for $7 per adult, you can see what is worthy of a much larger metropolitan area than Marquette. Plan ahead for spending about two hours. I spent nearly two and a half and I still didn’t get to read everything posted, although I read well more than half the signs and skimmed the others.

Everything I could imagine being relevant to the Marquette region was depicted – displays on wildlife include beaver and wolf and deer. There are extensive collections of artifacts from prehistoric people. A large display of various rocks, minerals, and Lake Superior sandstone are exhibited with enough detail to please the most active rockhound. The Native American imprint on the area is given extensive attention aside displays about the coming of the white men through the discovery of iron ore by William Austin Burt.

The founding of Marquette is told in letters and artifacts from Peter White, Amos and Olive Harlow, and Mehitable Everett. Replicas of Native American lodgehouses are beside early Marquette homes and voyageur fur trading posts. The history of shipping on the Great Lakes is displayed, along with that of farming, logging, and mining.

The area’s brave men and women who fought in the Civil War, Spanish American War, both World Wars and the Vietnam War receive recognition for their sacrifices.

Transportation changes are reflected in automobiles, streetcars, railroads, and snowmobiles. Descriptions of Marquette County’s major communities are provided. And the entertainment, the fun, of living in the U.P. also is provided in a movie projector from the Delft, the story of a pageant on Teal Lake, the creation of quill work and other crafts, the history of hockey, a basketball jersey from J.D. Pierce High School, and early restaurants like Hamburger Heaven.

That’s a small taste of all the history provided at the Marquette Regional History Center. Several fun, interactive aspects of the museum will also provide entertainment for children.

Go visit our wonderful new museum. Marquette, the Queen City of the North, now has a new jewel in her crown, and anyone who loves Marquette and its surrounding communities will be thrilled to see it shine.

For more information, visit the Marquette Regional History Center’s website at www.marquettecohistory.org