Posted tagged ‘Sandstone’

Hampson Gregory – “The Man who Made Marquette Beautiful”

May 2, 2012

The following post is taken from my book My Marquette:

The Hampson Gregory Home

The Hampson Gregory Home

This home (at 301 N. Fourth St. in Marquette) belonged to Hampson Gregory, a local architect and builder whom The Mining Journal said was the man more than any other who was responsible for building Marquette. Gregory was born in Devonshire, England in 1834. He and his family migrated to Canada and then arrived in Marquette in 1867. He frequently worked with sandstone, and many of his buildings reflect the style of English architecture common in his native Devonshire and neighboring Cornwall, England.

Among the buildings Gregory built were:

The Adams Home 200 E. Ridge

The Rankin Home 219 E. Ridge

The Merritt Home at 410 E. Ridge

The Call Home 450 E. Ridge

The Pickands Home 455 E. Ridge

The Hornbogen Home 212 E. Arch

The Read Home 425 E. Arch

The Powell Home 224 E. Michigan

The Ely Home at 135 W. Bluff

St. Mary’s Hospital (the original building, no longer there)

St. Peter’s Cathedral, prior to the 1935 fire

The first high school on Ridge Street, burnt in 1889

The Harlow Block on Washington Street

The Gregory Block on Washington Street (no longer there)

The Pickands Home - one of Hampson Gregory's masterpieces

The Pickands Home – one of Hampson Gregory’s masterpieces

Iron Bay Foundry on the corner of Lake and Washington, later to be the LS&I office

The First Methodist Church – (the foundation only)

The People’s State Bank in Munising, Michigan

One of his finest homes, the Merritt home, introduced Gregory to the Merritt family, and later his daughter, Clara would marry C.H. Merritt. The First Methodist Church has a memorial stained glass window to the Gregory family’s memory. Hampson Gregory died in 1922 and is buried in Park Cemetery. Today, nearly a century after his death, Gregory’s true memorial is the many homes and public buildings he built and which still stand today. The Mining Journal was correct—he remains one of the men most responsible for building Marquette.

Find out more about Hampson Gregory’s legacy in Marquette in My Marquette.

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In Honor of Barb Kelly: 430 E. Arch ~ Ripka Home

May 12, 2011

Today, I was honored to receive the Barb Kelly Historical Preservation Award from the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee. Congratulations to all the award recipients and to the MBRC for its continued wonderful work to this community. Barb Kelly herself presented the award to me and said some very nice things about me and My Marquette, so here is a little bit about her and her wonderful house, taken from My Marquette.Note that since this photo was taken, the Kellys have begun constructing a three story tower on the east side of the house.

The Ripka/Kelly home circa 2009

C.F. Struck built this fine sandstone home in 1875 for A.A. Ripka, a mining investor. The house features an arched portico, gabled dormers with pointed arch windows, and a steeply pitched Lake Superior slate roof.

Not long after its construction, the house was sold to Alfred Swineford, owner of The Mining Journal. Swineford would later build the house at 424 Cedar Street, and give this Arch Street home to his daughter Nellie Flower and her husband Edward Stafford when they married in 1884. When Swineford moved to Alaska, the Staffords remained in Marquette, and in 1890, their only child, Ruth, was born. In 1917, Ruth would marry Roscoe Conkling Main, the county health officer for Marquette County. Later, the Main family would move to California.

Today the home belongs to Dr. Peter and Barbara Kelly. Dr. Kelly was among the preservers of the Savings Bank Building downtown and Barbara Kelly is well known for over thirty years of dedication to the Marquette Beautification committee, landscaping and planting flowers throughout the city. The Barbara H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award is named in her honor and regularly given to those who preserve and restore historic architecture and promote historical preservation in Marquette.

Marquette’s Opera House

October 16, 2010

            The Marquette Opera House was a stately edifice, the grandest in the Queen City’s downtown. The building had been constructed in 1892 at the instigation of the city’s greatest benefactors, Peter White and John Longyear. The foundation was built of Anna River brick and native Marquette brownstone. The front entrance had a Romanesque arch through which the city’s residents passed in their most elegant habiliments. While the building also housed a storefront and a Masonic Hall, the theatre was the building’s gem. The interior reflected the height of the Italian Renaissance, while the proscenium arch served as gateway to the grandest scenes ever played on a Marquette stage. Ornate boxes filled the walls, and in one such princely seat, Beth found herself seated between her lover and her annoying cousin.

            First Thelma commented about the comfortable seat. Then she fretted over how well she could see the stage. Next she listed the names of everyone in the theatre whom she knew, and since the theatre could hold up to one thousand people, and almost everyone in Marquette knew everyone else, this recital lasted until the lights dimmed and the orchestra began to play.

            Beth hoped Thelma would keep her mouth shut during the performance. She vowed she would never forgive her mother for sending Thelma as her chaperone. But what did it matter? Henry clearly had no intentions tonight of asking her to—

            He reached over to take her hand. Beth hoped Thelma would not notice.

— The Queen City

 

            Of all Marquette’s grand old buildings that were gone before my time, the Marquette Opera House is the one I wish I had seen and the one for which I feel most fond because of its role in my family’s history as well as its sensationally tragic end.

           My grandparents’ courtship was as intriguing a story as any to me. Their religious differences inspired two marriage problems in my novels, first when I wrote The Only Thing That Lasts where Robert’s Grandma and Mr. Carter do not marry in their youth because she is Catholic and he a Southern Baptist, and later in The Queen City when Henry and Beth, based loosely on my grandparents, have a long engagement.

            Despite the religion issue, my grandpa decided to propose to my grandmother. The event occurred at the Marquette Opera House sometime in the late 1920s. My grandmother, her parents being overprotective, had a friend with her as chaperone, although hopefully the friend was not as annoying as Beth’s talkative cousin, Thelma. Although the religious differences would keep my grandparents from getting married until 1934, the Marquette Opera House was the place where their courtship and pending nuptials were confirmed. I doubt a more romantic place existed in Marquette for my grandparents to pledge their love since by all accounts the opera house was a truly elegant structure.

            The Marquette Opera House was built in 1890 with Peter White and John M. Longyear forming a corporation to sell stock to fund its construction. When completed, the building would contain three floors, including not only the theatre but four shops on the first floor, office suites on the second, and a third floor leased to the Masonic order.

Designed by local architect Carl F. Struck, the building’s exterior was of native brownstone and brick with a Romanesque entrance of Portage Entry sandstone. The interior, however, was the most stunning. A stairway led to the ticket office. Hallways led to the dress balcony and the Masonic Hall. The style inside was Italian Renaissance with ornate boxes, frescoes depicting comedy and tragedy, and of course, an impressive proscenium arch with an Italian landscape painted on the drop curtain. The plush chairs—enough to hold 900—were the same as those in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Popular plays and operas were performed including the Victorian favorite, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

            In 1927, the building was bought by the Masons and became known as the Masonic Building. By that time, movies had come to Marquette and the Delft Theatre had been operating a dozen years, so to compete, a variety of performances transplanted some of the more traditional plays and operas. Nevertheless, many performances were played here to great success, and it was not uncommon for national celebrities to visit, including Lillian Russell, Lon Chaney, John Philip Sousa, and W.C. Fields. I only wish I knew what performance my grandparents watched the night of their engagement.

Like many an opera heroine, the Marquette Opera House would meet a tragic ending.

Stay tuned to my next post to find out the dramatic story of the opera house’s end. The full story, complete with a photo of the Opera House’s interior can be found in My Marquette.