Marquette (population appx. 21,300) is the largest community in the Upper Peninsula, also called the “U.P.” The U.P. is a long, finger-like region that forms the north section of the state of Michigan. The region has dense forests – and a small population.
Marquette is a major port on Lake Superior and is known primarily for shipping iron ore and as the home of Northern Michigan University. Development of the area around Marquette began in 1844, when iron ore was discovered. Marquette was formally incorporated in 1871 and named to honor a French Jesuit missionary who explored the region. In the 1850s, Marquette was linked by rail to several mines, and the residents built a unique structure that still stands near the shore today called an “ore dock,” where ore could be dumped from a train directly into a waiting ship. Marquette quickly became the most important shipping center of the Upper Peninsula. Mining was critical to the local economy and remains important today, though Marquette is also becoming known as a destination for tourism and outdoor activities.
The Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center is a historical museum and educational facility on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The mission of the Beaumier Center is to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Upper Peninsula through active exhibitions and engaging public programs for the entire region. The center also collects and preserves artifacts related to the history of Northern Michigan University.
Northern Michigan University enrolls about 7,900 undergraduate and graduate students in 152 undergraduate and 25 graduate-level degree programs. As one of Michigan’s public universities, it has an excellent reputation for art and design, business, technology programs, education, and science programs.