A Brief History of Marquette
Father Jacques Marquette first established a mission for the Indians in Marquette in 1675. At the time there was no settlement in the area. It was not until 1849 that it was settled by Amos Rogers Harlow. Harlow, seeking to invest in the mineral rich region, sent two workers ahead of him: Robert Graveraet and Peter White. They were the first of Harlow’s company to reach the area now known as Marquette, but because Harlow was commissioned to start the settlement, he is known as the founder. On May 18th, 1849 they arrived by canoe from Lake Superior and were greeted by Chief Charles Kawbawgam of the Chippewa. The settlement was originally called New Worcester but was renamed Marquette after Father Marquette explored the region in 1674.
The Industrial Revolution was hitting its peak in the mid 1800’s and needed large amounts of iron in order to grow. In 1844, William Burt discovered iron ore in the Upper Peninsula just southwest of Marquette. Harlow came to Marquette seeking a headquarters for his new company: The Marquette Iron Company. He chose Marquette because of its close proximity to the marquette iron range as well as its access to rivers and Lake superior. The mining boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought thousands of people to the Marquette area. President Taft even visited Marquette in 1911 to campaign for reelection. The area thrived off of mining and logging until the price of iron plummeted during the great depression. Many of the mining companies closed up and left and many of the people left with them. Marquette and the iron mines recovered in the late 50’s when several of the mines in the Marquette Range reopened and gave an economic boost tot he region. Marquette to this day remains the primary port for all the iron ore that comes out of the Upper Peninsula but is no longer dependent on iron ore as it once was.