The city of Marquette, Michigan, is a major port on Lake Superior that’s known primarily for the shipping of iron ore. In the mid-1800s, Marquette’s railroad links to numerous mines made it the leading shipping port of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It also became a popular summer destination with steamships bringing passengers who filled the city’s hotels and resorts.
Marquette’s first lighthouse, a stone tower built in 1853, was poorly built and it had to be replaced in 1866 by the structure that still stands today. It’s a one-and-one-half story brick building with an attached 40-foot-tall lighthouse tower. In 2002, the Coast Guard leased the building to the Marquette Maritime Museum. In 2016, ownership was conveyed to the City of Marquette.
Frederick Stonehouse has authored over thirty books on maritime history, many of them focusing on the Great Lakes, and he’s also president of the Marquette Maritime Museum. Hilary Billman is the director of the Marquette Maritime Museum. Kurt Fosburg is a professional lampist and also vice president of the maritime museum. Also taking part in the discussion is Nick Korstad, owner of the Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B near Marquette.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org