St. Ignace in Mackinac County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Prentiss M. Brown, Michigan Lawyer, Mackinac Visionary
Michigan Legal Milestone
Prentiss Marsh Brown dreamed of what it would take to bridge the Mackinac Straits. He grew up in St. Ignace at the dawn of the 20th century and often gazed south across the Straits, a daunting stretch of cold, deep water. He could not know then that despite a life of achievement placing him among Michigan's most distinguished citizens, he would best be remembered as "the Father of the Mackinac Bridge."
Brown, who was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1914, served as prosecuting attorney of Mackinac County for 12 years. During that time, he missed an argument before the Michigan Supreme Court, his efforts to reach Lansing stymied by the Straits of Mackinac's winter ice. He later recalled, "That bitter hike across the Straits made a lasting impression on me for the need of a bridge across the Straits."
Known for his financial expertise, Brown served as director of the Office of Price Administration under President Franklin Roosevelt, having drafted the legislation for the office while a member of the U.S. Senate from 1936 to 1943. In 1950, he was appointed chair of the Mackinac Bridge Authority and through his leadership, financing and building plans began to take shape. Accepting no pay, he and his colleagues overcame many financing obstacles, eventually funding the bridge's construction through the sale
The Mackinac Bridge is rightly hailed as an engineering marvel, but the work of Prentiss Brown in overcoming legal obstacles and arranging financing is not less significant. Prentiss Brown remained chief of the Mackinac Bridge Authority until his death in 1973. He is interred in St. Ignace's Lakeside Cemetery on the shores of the straits he dreamed of bridging.
Erected 2007 by State Bar of Michigan, the Emmet-Charlevoix Bar Association, the Cheboygan County Bar Association and the 50th Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
Location. 45° 50.82′ N, 84° 43.62′ W. Marker is in St. Ignace, Michigan, in Mackinac County. Marker can be reached from Boulevard Drive. Touch for map. The marker can be seen from the parking lot in Bridge View Park, on the observation building. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Ignace MI 49781, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan (here, next to this marker); South Tower Fog Bell (a few steps from this marker); David B. Steinman (within shouting distance of this marker); Mackinac Straits (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. Ignace (approx. 1½ miles away); Ottawa Indian Village (approx. 3.8 miles away); a different marker also named Mackinac Bridge (approx. 4.1 miles away); Michigan's First Jewish Settler (approx. 4.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Ignace.
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 17, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 54 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 18, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.