The village of Marquette began on September 14, 1849, with the formation of a second iron concern, the Marquette Iron Company. Three men participated in organizing the firm: Robert J. Graveraet, who had prospected the region for ore; Edward Clark, agent for Waterman A. Fisher of Worcester, Massachusetts, who financed the company, and Amos Rogers Harlow. The village was at first called New Worcester, with Harlow as the first postmaster. On August 21, 1850, the name was changed to honor Jacques Marquette, the French Jesuit missionary who had explored the region. A second post office, named Carp River, was opened on October 13, 1851 by Peter White, who had come there with Graveraet at age 18. Harlow closed his post office in August 1852. The Marquette Iron Company failed, while its successor, the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, flourished and had the village platted in 1854. The plat was recorded by Peter White. White's office was renamed as Marquette in April 1856, and the village was incorporated in 1859. It incorporated as a city in 1871.
During the 1850s, Marquette became linked by rail to numerous mines and became the leading shipping center of the Upper Peninsula. The first ore pocket dock, designed by an early town leader, John Burt, was built by the Cleveland Iron Mining Company in 1859. By 1862, the city had a population of over 1,600 and a soaring economy.
In the late 19th century, during the height of iron mining, Marquette became nationally known as a summer haven. Visitors brought in by Great Lakes passenger steamships filled the city's hotels and resorts.
South of the city, K.I. Sawyer AFB, was an important Air Force installation during the Cold War, host to B-52H bombers and KC-135 tankers of the Strategic Air Command, as well as a fighter interceptor squadron. The base closed in September 1995, and is now home to the county's Sawyer International Airport.
Marquette continues to be a shipping port for hematite ores and, today, enriched iron ore pellets, from nearby mines and pelletizing plants. About 7.9 million gross tons of pelletized iron ore passed through Marquette's Presque Isle Harbor in 2005.
The city includes several small islands (principally Middle Island, Gull Island, Lover's Island, Presque Isle Pt. Rocks, White Rocks, Ripley Rock, and Picnic Rocks) in Lake Superior. The Marquette Underwater Preserve lies immediately offshore.
Marquette Mountain, used for skiing, is located in the city, as is most of the land of Marquette Branch Prison. Trowbridge Park (an unincorporated part of Marquette Township) is located to the west, and Marquette Township to the northwest of the city.
There were 8,071 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.6% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 16.8% under the age of 18, 25.9% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was US$29,918, and the median income for a family was US$48,120. Males had a median income of US$34,107 versus US$24,549 for females. The per capita income for the city was US$17,787. About 7.2% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.3% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.
Marquette was the site of many key events in the investigation of a murder in Dave Distel's The Sweater Letter, a true story of a murder that occurred near Ontonagan.
The city has two popular beaches, South Beach Park and McCarty's Cove. McCarty's Cove, flanked by the red U.S. Coast Guard Station lighthouse on its south shore, serves as a reprieve from hot summer days, where city and county residents alike take advantage of the cool, but tolerable, water temperatures and the cooling effects of the lake-generated sea breeze. Both beaches have picnic areas, grills, children's playgrounds, and lifeguard stands.
Other parks include Tourist Park, Founder's Landing, LaBonte Park, Mattson Lower Harbor Park, Park Cemetery, Shiras Park, Williams Park, Harlow Park, Pocket Park, Spring Street Park, and Father Marquette Park.
There are also numerous other recreational facilities located within the city. Lakeview Arena is mostly known for its use as an ice hockey facility, but it also hosts a number of public events. A skateboard park is located just outside of the arena and open during the summer. Lakeview Arena is home to the Marquette Rangers, Marquette Electricians, the Marquette Redmen high school hockey teams. In 1974, the arena replaced the historic Palestra, which had been located a few blocks away.
Marquette is home to the largest man-made wooden dome in the world, the Superior Dome. (The second largest, located in Japan, is just one square foot smaller.) During football season, the Dome is used primarily for football on its artificial turf field. Northern Michigan University holds its home football games in the Dome, as does the Michigan High School Athletic Association with the upper peninsula's High School football playoffs. The dome also hosts numerous private and public events which draw in thousands from around the region.
The Marquette Golf Club has brought international recognition to the area for its unique and dramatic Greywalls course, opened in 2005. The course features several panoramic views of Lake Superior and winds its way through rocky outcroppings, heaving fairways, and a rolling valley yet is located less than two miles from the downtown area.
Marquette also has an extensive network of biking and walking paths throughout the city. The city has been gradually expanding the paths throughout the years and has been promoting itself as a walkable and livable community. Cross Country ski trails are also located at Presque Isle Park and the Fit Strip.
Camping facilities are located at Tourist Park.
Live theatrical productions are provided through Northern Michigan University's Forest Roberts Theatre and Black Box Theatre, Marquette High School's Kaufman Auditorium and Lake Superior Theatre, a semi-professional summer stock theatre.
The combination of hilly terrain (a 600 foot vertical difference from top to bottom) and large area snow falls makes downhill skiing a reality on the edge of town.
| ||U.S. 41 is major highway continuing westerly and northerly toward Houghton and southerly toward Escanaba.|
| ||M-28 travels westerly to Wakefield and easterly toward Sault Ste. Marie.|
| ||M-553 provides a direct connection to Sawyer International Airport.|
The Upper Peninsula Children's Museum is located along Baraga Avenue. Those familiar with Marquette's past will recognize the former Bunny Bread sign that is located on the outside of the building. The museum features hands-on exhibits for children to learn and have fun doing so. The museum is open year-round.
The Marquette County History Museum is located along Front Street in the downtown district. The museum features many exhibits and artifacts of Marquette County's past. The museum includes a library and gift shop and is open year-round.
The DeVos Art Museum is the art museum at Northern Michigan University.
The Oasis Gallery for Contemporary Art is an ongoing project of the Marquette Arts Council.
|Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures|
|Rec High °F||48||61||71||92||93||96||99||96||93||87||73||59|
|Norm High °F||19.7||24.2||33.1||45.8||61.5||70.3||75.2||72.6||63.2||50.9||35.4||24.1|
|Norm Low °F||3.3||5.4||14.3||26.9||39.1||48.3||53.5||52||43.8||34||22.4||10.2|
|Rec Low °F||-27||-34||-30||-9||17||28||36||34||24||14||-8||-28|