Posted tagged ‘marquette lighthouse’

My Newest Book: Haunted Marquette-Ghost Stories from the Queen City

October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017—Local author Tyler Tichelaar will be giving his readers a treat this Halloween season. On Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marquette Regional History Center he will be releasing his newest book, Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. The book contains more than forty stories of ghosts and paranormal activity within the city of Marquette.

Tyler Tichelaar, 7th generation Marquette resident, has spent years collecting stories of Marquette’s hauntings.

“For years I’ve heard stories of various hauntings and collected them,” says Tichelaar. “I never thought I’d have enough for a book, but as I interviewed people, one story led to another. I’ve found sufficient evidence to make me believe several buildings in Marquette may be haunted or have experienced hauntings in the past.”

Haunted Marquette is divided into several sections on hauntings in Marquette’s churches and cemeteries, the downtown businesses, the lakeshore, various houses, and Northern Michigan University. Tichelaar researched each location to determine the likelihood of a haunting there and whether any historical evidence existed to make the haunting plausible. He also interviewed numerous people about their personal experiences with ghosts.

“I was afraid I would end up talking to a bunch of crazy people when I set out to write this book,” said Tichelaar, “but everyone I talked to was very sincere. Not one of them was seeking attention; most had not believed in ghosts before until they had a strange experience they could not explain logically.”

Numerous city landmarks are highlighted in the book as locations where ghosts have been sighted, including the former Holy Family Orphanage, Park Cemetery, the Marquette lighthouse, the Landmark Inn, the Peter White Public Library, and the Thomas Fine Arts building at NMU.

“Haunted Marquette” highlights more than forty places in Marquette that may be haunted.

“Only a couple of the hauntings can really be described as frightening,” says Tichelaar. “Most of these stories are about unexplainable phenomena; a few are heart-wrenching when you realize the tragedies some of the alleged ghosts experienced while still human, which has caused them to linger on this earth.”

Tichelaar will release Haunted Marquette at the Marquette Regional History Center on Wednesday, October 11. A presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last about an hour, followed by a book signing. Partial proceeds from the book signing will be donated to the history center.

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He is the author of The Marquette Trilogy, My Marquette, and numerous other books. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Writer Award in the Marquette County Arts Awards, and the Barb H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award. His novel Narrow Lives won the 2008 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award. In 2014, his play Willpower was produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium. You can learn more at Tichelaar’s website and at the MRHC’s website


Marquette’s Maritime Museum and Lighthouse

July 27, 2011

Thank you to Marquette’s Maritime Museum, especially Director Carrie Fries, for the opportunity to be part of the Tall Ships event this past weekend. My fellow authors (Gretchen Preston, Milly Balzarini, and Donna Winters) and I enjoyed talking to all the tourists, natives, and our readers.

Marquette Maritime Museum

Marquette Maritime Museum

As a thank you to the museum, and in honor of August as Maritime Month (can you believe August is only days away?), here is the section from My Marquette about the museum:

           The sudden lurch catapulted several passengers over the ship’s rail. Sophia, having momentarily released Gerald’s arm, found herself thrown overboard with several other ladies. Panic-stricken, she scrambled in the waves, fighting to keep her head above water while her skirts quickly soaked through, growing so heavy they threatened to pull her under. The lake was calm that evening, the waves nearly indistinguishable, yet Sophia was terrified. She had not swum in twenty years, and she sadly lacked for exercise. The sudden surprise and the biting cold water nearly sent her into shock. Gerald was almost as surprised as he stood clasping the rail and trying to spot his wife. After a few initial screams, the other women thrown overboard began to swim toward the ship. One man, Mr. Maynard, had also been pivoted overboard, and like Sophia, he struggled to stay afloat. Sophia’s terror increased when she saw Mr. Maynard’s head sink beneath the waves. She instantly feared he had drowned, and his failure to resurface made her splash and scream frantically until she began to swallow water. Hearing his wife’s screams, Gerald spotted her and dove to her rescue. — Iron Pioneers

The Marquette Maritime Museum was formed in 1980 and opened to the public in 1982. It is located in the old Marquette Waterworks building designed by D. Fred Charlton in 1890. In 1897, the Father Marquette statue was placed on the waterworks building’s property, although it was later moved to its present location. The construction of a new waterworks building resulted in the old one being converted into the Maritime Museum.

In 1999, when I first conceived the idea to write The Marquette Trilogy, I visited the Maritime Museum to see the exhibits as research for my books. During that visit, I learned about the sinking of the Jay Morse which I knew would make a great dramatic scene since most of Marquette’s wealthiest people were on the ship. The passage above resulted from my visit to the museum. Fittingly, my novels have since found a happy place in the Maritime Museum’s gift shop. The friendly employees have read them and frequently recommend them to their customers, something for which I am always grateful.

The museum includes numerous displays about the early schooners and ore boats on Lake Superior as well as dioramas, old rowboats, and a small theatre with ongoing films. In 2002, the museum also acquired the Marquette lighthouse as part of its property.

Marquette was built to be a port for shipping iron ore from the mines in nearby Negaunee and Ishpeming. Every harbor town requires a lighthouse, and Marquette constructed its lighthouse in 1853, just four years after the town’s founding. No building records exist for this first lighthouse, but it was reputedly thirty-four by twenty feet in size. The lantern room contained seven fourteen-inch Lewis lamps which were used until the introduction of the Fresnel lens in the later 1850s. Because the living quarters and tower were poorly constructed, they were replaced with the present lighthouse in 1866.

The 1866 lighthouse is today the oldest structure of any real historical significance in Marquette. The original structure was a one-and-a-half story brick building with an attached forty-foot square brick tower housing a fourth order Fresnel lens. An identical lens is on display today in the Marquette Maritime Museum. The original lens showed an arc of 180 degrees. In 1870, it was increased to 270 degrees.

The keeper and his family lived in the lighthouse. As long as the keeper’s job was only to maintain the light, a single man was able to do the work. However, when the light at the end of the breakwater was added and a two whistle signal system installed at the end of the point, the work was too much for one person so an assistant keeper was hired and a barn behind the lighthouse was converted into living space for him. In 1909, a second story was added instead for the assistant’s quarters. Additions were also made to the back of the lighthouse in the 1950s.

The Maritime Museum has available on CD the lightkeeper’s log books which reflect some of their interesting experiences. In 1859, Peter White complained about the lightkeeper because “He is a habitual drunkard, frequently thrashes his wife and throws her out of doors.” This lightkeeper also failed to light up until sometimes after midnight which caused great danger for ships.

Just west of the Marquette lighthouse, the U.S. Life-Saving Service established a station in 1891. Led by Captain Henry Cleary, the life-savers performed death-defying rescues on the lake. Their fame grew until they were invited in 1901 to escort President McKinley down the Niagara River during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (the following day the president would be assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, who for some time had worked in various lumber camps in Michigan, including in Seney. In 2009, Marquette author, John Smolens, published The Anarchist, a novel about the McKinley assassination). Eventually the U.S. Life-Saving Station was absorbed into the Coast Guard, and it became the building in operation for the longest time that was owned by the Coast Guard until 2009 when a new Coast Guard station was built directly on the south side of the Maritime Museum and in front of the Lower Harbor’s breakwater.

The Marquette lighthouse remains one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks for its bright red walls, and it is probably photographed more than any other place in Marquette. When I worked at Superior Spectrum, a former local telephone company in Marquette, the lighthouse was used in numerous marketing pieces, some of which I helped to design. Today, the lighthouse is open for tours operated by the Maritime Museum, and it is being refurbished to reflect the lighthouse keepers’ living quarters in the early twentieth century.

Be sure to check out my several other posts last August 2010 that celebrated Maritime Month. And of course, be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the lighthouse this summer!

Marquette’s Frink Family and Fairlawn Mansion

August 30, 2010

To end my posts in celebration of August as maritime month, here is one last bit of maritime trivia from my upcoming book, My Marquette, including a connection to a Superior, Wisconsin family that I think is little known in Marquette:

Fairlawn Mansion - Superior, Wisconsin

Marquette would also have a life-saving crew, but it was separate from the lighthouse and its keeper’s duties. Before Marquette’s life-saving crew was established in 1891, Marquette had to send distress signals by telegraph to Portage Lake over a hundred miles away. This delay could easily result in lost vessels. At one point, tugboat skipper, Captain John Frink, rather than wait for the life-saving crew, decided to take matters into his own hands. On November 17, 1886, a fierce storm washed away the Marquette breakwater light, which later was washed up on shore. That afternoon, a schooner, the Eliza Gerlach, was seen about to smash into the breakwater. Captain John Frink risked the waves with the tug Gillett and managed to tow the schooner clear of the breakwater. As soon as the rescue was complete, Captain Frink’s crew went back out to rescue the schooner Florida which had managed to find Iron Bay solely by listening to fog signals, but was now too close to the beach. Eight of the Gillett’s crew jumped aboard the Florida to attach a tow rope to it, but a ninth crew member miscalculated the jump and fell between the vessels, being crushed to death. Despite the casualty, the Florida was towed to safety. The Mining Journal commemorated Captain Frink by saying he deserved the government’s life-saving medal.

Captain Frink came from a family not of sailors but lighthouse keepers. His father Reuben Frink was the keeper of the Grand Island North light from 1865-69 and later the Granite Island light from 1884-85. His son William was the assistant keeper at Grand Island North from 1865-70 and another son Richard was acting assistant at Granite Island under his father in 1884-85. But perhaps the most successful and fascinating member of the Frink family was Captain Frink’s sister, Grace, who would end up marrying quite well—or perhaps not so well.

In 1879, Grace Frink married Michigan lumberman, Martin Pattison, who would make his fortune in mining veins of iron ore he discovered in the Vermillion Range near Ely, Minnesota. The couple met and married in Marquette and then moved to Superior, Wisconsin where they built the magnificent forty-two room Fairlawn Mansion.

The house was lavished with $150,000 worth of Guatemalan mahogany, English glazed tile, Mexican onyx fireplaces, and white-birch woodwork covered with 22-karat gold. An elegant entry hall, a fine staircase, a ball room on the third floor, and a swimming pool in the basement completed the mansion’s impressive accessories. Today, the home has been beautifully restored and is open for tours.

Unfortunately, Grace would eventually learn that everything that glitters is not gold. While he was serving as mayor of Superior, Martin Pattison’s former wife came calling. In fact, he had abandoned a wife and children in Lower Michigan before marrying Grace, who had no idea about her husband’s other family or that by marrying her, her husband had become a bigamist. Things were apparently smoothed over with the first wife, and Pattison stayed with Grace, but rumor has it that after that, they slept in separate bedrooms.

My Marquette has gone to the printers and is expected to be available for sale after November 1st. For more information, visit

Finding My Light – A Novel at the Marquette Lighthouse

August 2, 2010

Chris Shanley Dillman, author of Finding My Light, recently published an article in Michigan History  Magazine about her ancestors, the Truckey family, who cared for the Marquette lighthouse during the Civil War.

I was thrilled when I first heard about this novel a few years ago because Dillman’s ancestor, Nelson Truckey, was a captain in the Michigan 27th during the Civil War, and my own ancestors, Jerome White and his father-in-law, Edmond Remington, served under him. In fact, I have documents where Nelson Truckey testified to their service when they applied for their pensions.

Furthermore, August is Maritime month in Marquette, so I thought it appropriate to post about the novel. Here is the book review I wrote for it which is currently also on Amazon. If you love Marquette, history, or lighthouses, this novel is one you don’t want to miss.

Finding My Light by Chris Shanley Dil;man

Amazon Review:

Chris Shanley Dillman’s “Finding My Light” is the finest young adult novel I have read in many years, and one I think adults will enjoy as well. The story tells of sixteen year old Emma Truckey, left behind with her mother and siblings to tend the lighthouse in Marquette, Michigan on Lake Superior during the Civil War, while her father, Nelson Truckey goes off to fight in the Michigan 27th.

Emma’s internal journey begins as one of self-doubt, but when her mother must travel to Canada to care for her sick sister, Emma, as the oldest child, finds that the responsibility of keeping the light and watching over her siblings fall upon her shoulders. With the help of her siblings, and her new friend, Bobby, Emma discovers the strength and inner resources she has always had. Bobby is a charming, fun friend who is able to help Emma discover her own value. Bobby dresses like a boy and is not afraid to step in and help out where needed. She is especially Emma’s strength the night of a shipwreck when the two of them must go out in a rowboat to rescue the only survivor.

The plot thickens with the rescue of the shipwreck survivor. Emma quickly discovers he is some sort of spy, but she does not know if he is a spy for the Union or the Confederacy. The result is a mission she must go on to help protect the Union. Her adventures ultimately lead to her growth and her reliance upon herself as her own best friend.

I wanted to read “Finding My Light” because I am a native of Marquette, Michigan where the book is set. I am also an author who writes about the Marquette area so I was curious to see how a fellow author treated the same region. However, most of all I was interested in “Finding My Light” because the Truckeys in the novel are the author’s actual ancestors, although she did fictionalize parts of the story–author’s license of course. My own great-great-grandfather served in the Michigan 27th with Nelson Truckey, so I was ready to learn plenty about the time period of my ancestors. While the book captures the historical time-period and the feel of early Marquette as a small community, I was primarily impressed with the strong character development in Emma, who truly does find her own light during the book. The revelation she has at the end is one that will resonate with readers, especially young adults who are learning their own self-value as they move into adulthood.

While I will not give away the ending, I know the author is planning a second book related to this one which includes a female disguised as a boy joining the Michigan 27th. I am already impatient to read it.

I rank this book up there with “Dandelion Cottage” and “Granite Harbor” as one of the best young adult books produced about the Marquette area, and no doubt, the book has universal appeal to readers despite time period, location, and gender. I congratulate Chris Shanley Dillman for writing what I hope will become a classic.

– Tyler R. Tichelaar

More Marquette Maritime posts will appear throughout this month, including passages from my upcoming book My Marquette.