Big waves on Lake Superior

Waves on Lake Superior

From Presque Isle in Marquette on Lake Superior.

Photo by Tim Case

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Ishpeming_Michigan_statueIshpeming is known for its rich history, beautiful surroundings, and the birth of organized skiing in the United States – it is now home to the National Ski Hall of Fame. Ishpeming serves to this day as the Upper Peninsula operations headquarters for Cleveland-Cliffs Iron, which was one of the country’s biggest iron-mining companies for decades. The Cliffs Shaft Mine site, a Michigan state historical site, is the location of one of the most productive of the area’s underground iron ore mines. Although the mines were closed in 1969, the shaft buildings dominate Ishpeming’s skyline.

In the winter the area is known for its 1200 foot iced toboggan slide, nearby luge run, and Suicide Hill Ski Jump. Ishpeming’s local area offers recreation for all seasons, one of which is Jasper Knob, the worlds largest gemstone which is composed completely of jaspilite. Jaspilite is rock made of bands of bright red jasper, alternating with bands of specular hematite.

Wikipedia – Ishpeming

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The Chicago & North Western railway station in Escanaba, Michigan on a cold winter morning in 1953.

The Chicago & North Western railway station in Escanaba, Michigan on a cold winter morning in 1953.

Escanaba has rich resources and natural beauty that make it a regional hub for Michigan’s south central Upper Peninsula. The area is renowned for its beaches and water activities and its proximity to lighthouses, waterfalls, the Fayette Historic Townsite and Kitchitikipi – the Big Springs in the Palms Book State Park.

Escanaba links:
City of Escanaba

Wikipedia – Escanaba

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Republic_mineRepublic is a charming town in the Southwestern corner of Marquette county and is known as a year-round playground. Forests are crisscrossed with trails running alongside with rivers and lakes, much of which is the Escanaba River State Forest. Republic is made up of two small town centers separated by the huge, open-pit iron mine that now serves as a year-round visitor attraction with interpretive panels.

Republic link:

Republic, Michigan

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Marquette History

Front Street, Marquette, MichThe Marquette area was first settled by Ojibwa Indians who came into contact with french explorer and Jesuit missionary in 1669. Although the area had been officially “discovered” by the French, and the harbor was used for rest, fishing, and transport for both the French voyagers and the Ojibwa, it was not until the discovery of iron ore in the mid 1800s that the are was settled.

In 1849 iron ore was discovered in the area, and the Marquette Iron Company promptly founded the village of Iron Bay on September 14, 1849, to provide settlement opportunities for workers. The village was later renamed New Worcester. A second mining company came to the area in the form of the Cleveland-Cliffs Company. The Cleveland-Cliffs Company outlasted the Marquette Iron Company and renamed the town Marquette.  The village was platted in 1854, incorporated as a village in 1859 and as a city in 1871. The city of Marquette began as a shipping port for hematite ores and to this day continues to serve as a port for enriched iron pellets from nearby mines.

In 1899 Northern Normal School, a teacher’s college, was founded in Marquette. The college is now know as Northern Michigan University. During the Cold War the Marquette area was home to the K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base which was host to B-52H bombers and KC-135 tankers of the strategic air command. The base was closed in September of 1995 and now serves as the area’s airport.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Mount-Marquette-VistaMarquette, the largest city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is known for its charm, natural beauty, easy access to the beautiful outdoors, strong sense of community and much more. The city has been designated as one of “America’s Most Livable Communities,” one of Michigan’s “Cool Cities,” and is a receipt of the “All-American City” award. It is also home to Northern Michigan University and one of two Olympic Training Centers in the United States.

Nearby recreation includes: hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, snowmobiling, ice-climbing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, beach walking, hunting and fishing, moose watching, golfing, touring nearby waterfalls and lighthouses, and much more.

Marquette links:
Travel Marquette
City of Marquette
Wikipedia – Marquette
Marquette County

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Baraga PanoramaBaraga is named after Father Frederic Baraga who in 1843 established a mission two miles north of town. The area was later settled by Euro-Americans. A ship captain James Bendry became stranded near what is now Baraga. He spent the winter in the area with his family and subsequently bought land, built a sawmill and brickyard, and founded the settlement that went on to become Baraga.

Baraga Links


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Gwinn History

Gwinn MichiganThe history of Gwinn began with the acquisition of property by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company in the Austin and Princeton area in 1902. In 1907 the president of C.C.I. decided that a town was necessary for miners to live in. Gwinn was chosen for its beautiful location and its lack of iron deposits. The town was a model town and was designed before it was built.

It soon became a thriving mining town. In 1956 the K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base was developed as a joint civil-military facility. The base was originally used as an Air Defense Command base to deter Soviet bomber attacks. The base was closed in September if 1995. In 1999 it was reopened as the Sawyer International Airport.

photo by Andrew Jameson

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Visiting Marquette and the Upper Peninsula

Mount-Marquette-VistaWhile Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is off the beaten path, it’s not too hard to reach through the driving or flying. Check the links below options:

Map & Driving Directions to Marquette, MI from Google Maps

Sawyer International Airport (Marquette, Central U.P.)

Chippewa County International Airport (Sault Ste. Marie, Eastern U.P.)

Ford Airport (Iron Mountain/Kingsford, Western U.P.)

Travel Marquette


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