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Marquette sparkles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

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History and recreational opportunities converge in Marquette.

Set on the Lake Superior shore, the city and county is named for Jacques Marquette, the 17th-century French Jesuit missionary, priest and explorer.

With a population of 21,500, Marquette is the largest city in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Iron ore mining in the Upper Peninsula led to the establishment of Marquette in the late 1840s. Thousands of tons of iron ore were shipped out of the city and the it prospered.

Fred Huffman, group tour coordinator for Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association, said about 8 million tons of iron in the form of taconite pellets is shipped from the Presque Isle Dock in the city’s Upper Harbor each year.

Movie and mystery fans will want to step inside the 1904 Marquette County Courthouse to see where Hollywood legends Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara filmed Anatomy of a Murder.

The movie was based on the best-selling book of the same name.

The stars and film crew spent eight weeks filming in the U.P. in spring 1959.

“It was an exciting time for Marquette,” Huffman said. “It’s a fascinating book and a wonderful movie.”

Marquette Maritime Museum interprets the maritime history of city, Lake Superior and the Great Lakes. The museum is open from mid-May to mid-October.

A short walk from the museum is Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. Groups can arrange guided tours.

Presque Isle Park, Marquette’s recreational crown jewel, is located on a 323-acre forested oval-shaped peninsula that juts into Lake Superior. The serene space is full of foot paths, native plants and diverse scenery including a 10,000-year-old bog best seen from the Bog Walk Trail.

Huffman often takes groups on hikes to see waterfalls in the area.

Operators can work with an outfitter to arrange a kayak tour around the Lower Harbor or Presque Isle Park. 

For more information call Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association at 800-562-7134, email groups@uptravel.com or visit uptravel.com.

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About Author

David Hoekman, Managing Editor

David Hoekman is a former newspaperman on a quest to tell the stories of the world’s various places and cultures in compelling ways. He especially enjoys learning and writing about the business of group travel. His favorite destination is wherever he is going next and his travel tip is to always pack an emergency granola bar or two.

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