Historic orphanage in the process of renovations

MARQUETTE — A historic piece of Marquette County is undergoing a tremendous face lift.

The Holy Cross Orphanage has been a part of Marquette for more than 100 years. Standing tall and withholding endless memories, it has become a significant landmark for anyone who passes by. After sitting empty for decades, with occasional trespassing and a permanent residence for pigeons the orphanage is finally being reborn.

Through a long process, five different organizations came together to renovate the orphanage into low income apartments.But before the construction began, workers new their job was cut out for them.

“People had stripped the wood work, they have stripped the light fixtures, a lot of the details were missing so what was left was just the plaster coming off of the walls and in piles on the floor. It was really, really bad” said Exec. Director of Community Action Alger/Marquette, Amy Lerlie.

While many changes are being done inside the building, the outside will maintain its historic character. “All the masonry work, that’s the brick and the sandstone, that will all be restored. The National Park Service has designated this as a historic site and we’ve been awarded historic tax credits and so we’re obliged to renovate the property,” said Lerlie.

Some of the apartments will have project based rental assistance, this will allow rent prices to be based on the tenant’s income. After being born and raised in Marquette, this is an especially emotional project for Lerlie.

“To be a part of restoring this building, it just means to much and especially in light of the work I get to do with affordable housing. It’s very, very rewarding to be a part of creating a situation with people who wouldn’t maybe otherwise be able to afford to live in Marquette can be here,” Lerlie continued.

Although taking a peak inside the orphanage is tempting for most Marquette residents, no tours have been authorized to go inside quite yet. The anticipation to see the inside of the orphanage will soon be over, with a groundbreaking ceremony coming up on August 17th. At this event tours will be give into certain parts of the orphanage.