Remembering "The Great Fire" of Marquette; 150 years later

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - 150 years ago today the city of Marquette burned to the ground.

It’s one of the most significant events in Marquette's history and shaped downtown area to what residents know today.

The Marquette Regional History Museum is giving a downtown tour Monday night in remembrance of the fire.

According to Jim Koski, who will be leading the tour, in 1868, around 11:30 p-m a fire was discovered inside a railroad machine shop in the heart of town. The fire quickly spread from one wooden structure to the next.

No one died in the fire, but the town was a total loss. The only stores left were a butcher shop and hardware store.

In all, 100 buildings were destroyed, and 40 families, mostly families of local merchants, were homeless.
It took several years, but the city did begin to rise from the ashes of the inferno. To make sure it never happened again, the city banned the use of wood as a downtown building material.

It’s estimated the fire damage cost 1.5 million dollars, which would be over $26 million today.

The tour starts at the bell tower at the end of Washington Street at 6:30 pm. There is a $5 Suggested donation for this event.

If you are not able to make it to the tour, Koski has written a more detailed description of events on his blog. Just click on the related links.

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