August is known as Maritime Month. Both the city of Marquette and the Marquette Maritime Museum are celebrating the occasion.
The maritime industry has long since played a role in the history, economy, and way of life in the Upper Peninsula, especially in the city of Marquette.
From the moment iron was dug from the ground Lake Superior, the shipping industry, and Marquette have remained intertwined.
“When iron ore was discovered in 1844 they needed a place–an easy place–that they could export that. And lo and behold that was Marquette,” Marquette Maritime Museum Director Carrie Fries said. “And the first ore dock was actually built in 1849. So our maritime history really started Marquette, and is really the reason that we’re here.”
The question about maritime history most asked by those visiting the Marquette area is surprising.
“The most asked question we get here at the Maritime Museum is ‘What is that thing in the water?’,” Fries said. “I think it just goes to show that we take for granted that we know it’s a pocket ore dock; we know how it operates. But the majority of people that walk through our doors here have no idea what that is or how it works.”
Guided lighthouse tours complete with a costumed tour guide, book signings, and special events on each Saturday during the month help mark the occasion.
The Maritime Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Marquette Harbor Light house tours are offered daily.
The Maritime Museum’s website has a full list of events and more information.