Marquette Wooden Longboat Project

A local ceremony last year that remembered Marquette as it was in the mid-1800s was a big success.

But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t stand a little improvement.

Some of the people behind Founders Day are now behind a longboat building project.

It’s a partnership between community volunteers, the Marquette Junior Yacht Club, the Marquette Fish Dock Association and area young people.

They’re all in the early stages of building a vintage wooden rowboat.

Tim Preston says they’re not using any modern adhesives of any kind, going with about 4,000 copper fasteners instead to bind the planks together.

It’s called the Pilot Gig.

It’s a 32-foot boat and it was the mid-19th century equivalent of a speedboat.

In 1849, it was this type of boat that carried Peter White and Robert Graveraet to shore in what’s now Marquette.

Former Marquette mayor Jerry Irby says the Fish Dock Association has asked them if they can build 2 or 3 boats instead of just 1.

He says they’d love to do that if they can get enough community support to help out.

You can also check out the boat project at an open house tomorrow night, when lots of people will be downtown for the start of the U.P. 200.

The open house takes place from 6 to 10 right on the water in the boathouse next to Thill’s Fish Market.