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Historical Markers and War Memorials in Delta County, Michigan
By Joel Seewald, June 9, 2019
Before the Settlers Marker
Indians of early copper culture occupied the Bays de Noc over 5,000 years ago. We know when French explorers came to this area, they were greeted by members of the Noke tribe. The Nokes territory extended from north Green Bay and the Bays de Noc . . . — — Map (db m137243) HM|
In 1852 Charles Brotherton came to the Upper Peninsula with a survey team organized by William Burt. Two years later, Peter White hired him to survey the land between the Menominee River and Marquette. His work in the . . . — — Map (db m139050) HM|
Escanaba: The Port
It was the abundant timber that first lured settlers to the area to start sawmill communities along rivers flowing into the bay. Although Escanaba itself was not heavily wooded, as a port it became a commercial hub for . . . — — Map (db m137157) HM|
At your immediate left, the first dock you see is the decaying Chicago and Northwestern Railway Dock, locally called the Merchant's Dock. Most of Escanaba's freight and passengers to and from the South and East came and went over this dock before . . . — — Map (db m137161) HM|
This tablet marks
the site of the first
erected in Escanaba.
Placed by Lewis Cass Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution
1934 — — Map (db m139082) HM|
Beginning with the Native Americans to present day, people have found food, fortune and failure fishing the Bays de Noc. In 1866, commercial fishing at Escanaba began with catching fish for visiting trade vessels and local logging camps. In the . . . — — Map (db m137306) HM|
From this port, beginning in 1864
and ending with the Ore Centennial
Year 1964, more than 340,000,000
tons of iron ore were shipped.
The Chicago and North Western
Railway Company, iron ore-handlers
for 100 years, built the big dock . . . — — Map (db m137259) HM|
|The Noquet (or Noc) Indians, who once lived along these shores, gave this bay its name. Here at Sand Point, in 1844, Douglass Houghton came with his party of government surveyors to chart the land to the north. In 1864 the first ore dock was built . . . — — Map (db m137285) HM|
|In 1864, E. Gaynor built the Gaynor House hotel, which he renamed Ludington House in 1871. after lumberman Nelson Ludington. In the late 1800s proprietor John Christie enlarged the hotel and renamed the establishment the New Ludington Hotel. An . . . — — Map (db m135301) HM|
Sand Point Lighthouse
From 1868 to 1939 the Sand Point Lighthouse warned mariners of the spit of land extending into Little Bay de Noc at the entrance to Escanaba Harbor. The U.S. Congress authorized construction of the lighthouse in 1864, . . . — — Map (db m137333) HM|
Escanaba has a long history in timber and fishing, but it is the perfect natural harbor and closeness to the iron range that have given Escanaba prominence in Michigan history. During the 1800's through the 1950's, large chunks of low grade ore . . . — — Map (db m137260) HM|
Starting in 1861, the Civil War tore apart the nation and resulted in the immediate need of iron ore to provide weapons for the North. William B. Ogden, an owner of the Chicago & Northwest Railroad Co., knew of the plentiful iron mines of the . . . — — Map (db m137258) HM|
Possessed of both a deep channel and protection by the natural break waters of Sand Point, Escanaba has a top rated natural harbor. Since Escanaba's beginning, the timber trade shipped from this harbor, and the Lake Schooners Fleet dominated the . . . — — Map (db m137290) HM|
The growth of Escanaba from a small town into a growing city in such a brief time can be traced directly to the expansion of lake shipping in this port. Over the years, Escanaba harbor has seen times of boom and bust in the fishing, lumber and . . . — — Map (db m137286) HM|
| The main street, Stewart Avenue, is located through a beautiful little grove and the houses so encircled by trees as to be invisible until one is close beside them. Escanaba Tribune 1870
The middle class families of Fayette's foremen, . . . — — Map (db m128861) HM|
|Single employees found room and board at the hotel or in boarding houses like the one located here. In 1880, almost half the men at Fayette were boarders.
Many residents, like Annette and John DeVet, took in boarders to supplement their income. . . . — — Map (db m128862) HM|
|A carpenter crew maintained Fayette's buildings. The carpenters also built and repaired wagons, carts and railroad cars and made doors, window sashes and coffins. Milled lumber was stocked in adjacent sheds.
A large woodshop, built here in . . . — — Map (db m128866) HM|
| Fears were entertained that the supply of charcoal would fall short, but with extraordinary exertions, they now have another set of kilns ready, and the supply will be kept up. Escanaba Tribune 1870
Colliers manufactured charcoal to fuel . . . — — Map (db m128860) HM|
| The location has… two streets circling around the little bay, upon which have been erected some ten or twelve neat frame buildings. There are also some twenty-five or thirty log shanties, all occupied, but they are on the opposite slope from the . . . — — Map (db m128853) HM|
| Our five o'clock whistle [is] the most tedious noise ever made. Escanaba Tribune 1872
The furnace complex was the heart of industrial Fayette. Here, the heat, roar and odors of the smelting operation merged with the shouts of men, whir of . . . — — Map (db m128852) HM|
|The rooms on this upper level of the furnace complex housed the machinery which powered the foundry's hot blast. Boilers supplied steam to blowing engines which forced air through the hot blast ovens and into the furnaces.
The furnace stacks . . . — — Map (db m128856) HM|
|Machinists like Louis Follo maintained Fayette’s industrial equipment from this shop.
Power machinery, used to manufacture equipment parts, was driven by steam piped from the furnace boilers.
Master mechanics were paid $75 per month. . . . — — Map (db m128867) HM|
|Loaded at the top with thirty-five cords of hardwood, each kiln produced some 1,750 bushels of charcoal per burning.
The charring process lasted six to eight days. When cool, the charcoal was removed by hand at the lower door.
Source: . . . — — Map (db m128857) HM|
| A couple of cars loaded with lumber broke loose at the top of the Mud Lake grade and ran into some coal cars at its foot with sad results to all. Escanaba Iron Port 1882
By 1872, the Jackson Iron Company had built a six-mile railroad . . . — — Map (db m128855) HM|
| The sawmill is again "in blast," and is doing good work as it always does. Escanaba Tribune 1870
Fayette’s sawmill burned in 1871 and was rebuilt the following year. In its basement shops carpenters assembled wagons and . . . — — Map (db m128865) HM|
|Iron ore was crushed, mixed with measured amounts of charcoal and limestone, and lifted by a steam-powered hoist to the top of the furnace where it was dropped into the stack.
Inside the furnace the charcoal burned, fed by forced air heated in . . . — — Map (db m128859) HM|
| Fayette looks like a little Chicago this week; the harbor is full of boats and business is brisk. Schoolcraft County Pioneer 1881
Four warehouses stood on a wharf off this point of land. Vessels like the steam barge Fayette . . . — — Map (db m128864) HM|
| There has been a water pipe laid from the furnace through the streets as far as the barn, so that water can be had in case of fire at a hydrant near the store. Escanaba Tribune 1871
This underground pipeline supplied potable water to the . . . — — Map (db m128858) HM|
|The Peninsula Railroad finished construction of their rail line from the Jackson Mine, Negaunee to Escanaba in 1865. When Bill Bonifas arrived from Luxembourg in 1885, Escanaba was already a thriving mill town and iron ore shipping port. His first . . . — — Map (db m139275) HM|
Escanaba River: The Legend
This is the land of the Chippewa Indians and the legendary Hiawatha. Indian villages existed along the banks of the river, and Indians were living here when the first white men came to this region in the 1600's. . . . — — Map (db m139220) HM|
|Michigan's pine, which proved more valuable than all California's gold, was gone by the early 1900's. The original hardwoods were cut by 1935. Today, due to fire protection and increasing management, more timber is grown than ever before. Within one . . . — — Map (db m139258) HM|
|In 1846, the Smith Brothers sold the lower mill on the Escanaba River to Jefferson Sinclair, a Maine lumberman, and Daniel Wells, Jr., a Milwaukee lumberman, after whom the Village of Wells was named. In 1847, Isaac Stephenson of New Brunswick, . . . — — Map (db m139259) HM|
|The first white settler in Delta County was Louis A. Roberts, a fur trader who settled just upstream from here at Flat Rock in 1830 and later operated a waterpowered sawmill on the Whitefish River. The first buildings in Escanaba were log structures . . . — — Map (db m139261) HM|
|The Upper Peninsula forest was more than half pine, most of it white pine. White pine was the greatest of our forest trees, growing to great size in its 400 years of life expectancy. This softwood, easily sawed with the poor saws of the time and . . . — — Map (db m139265) HM|
|Donald McLeod of Green Bay purchased Alden Chandler's water-powered mill, the first sawmill built on the Escanaba River, and in 1844 sold it to John and Joseph Smith. Chandler was again "first" when he became the first postmaster serving . . . — — Map (db m139246) HM|