Story of Escanaba revealed in commemorative buttons

Sand Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse, established in 1867, has a 4th Order Fresnel lens located in the lantern room. The beam created by this magnificent light led sailors to safe harbor for more than 70 years.

The former living quarters are now open as a museum. This beloved landmark remains one of Escanaba’s most popular attractions.

Escanaba Junior High School

Crowded conditions at the high school prompted the proposal of the building of a new school in 1930. The citizens voted 2 to 1 in favor of a $435,000 bond issue. Economic conditions at this time were so poor that this vote showed the great value that the voters placed in education.

There were strong arguments in favor of a new school. Room for vocational eduction was needed. New courses were being added in schools in America and Escanaba wanted to keep up. The thought of a new gymnasium facility was very attractive, too. The location was perfect; certainly more convenient for the students. Further, Escanaba was the only U.P. town of its size at this time (8,000 people) not to have modern school facilities.

The school, originally built to house grades 7-9, was modified from time to time to meet the needs of the student population.

Delta Hotel

The Delta Hotel was opened in January 1914 during a boom period in Escanaba’s growth. Financed by a stockholders’ corporation, the building includes wooden panels and window frames manufactured by the Stegath Lumber Company of Escanaba. During Prohibition, the bar became a coffee shop.

The building was sold in the early 1960s to the Diocese of Marquette, which operated the Bishop Noa Home for Senior Citizens in the old hotel. In April 1998, the hotel building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the home of Hereford and Hops, the interior plan remains much the same as the original.

Escanaba Senior High School

Located on 8th Ave. South between 11th and 12th Streets, this school served the community from 1907 until 1989. It was noted for its “beautiful auditorium” and stage and equipment when it was first constructed. A gym, science and home economics rooms were also included.

After the “new” high school was constructed on Lincoln Road in 1963, this building was the first home of the newly formed Bay de Noc College. It was demolished in 1989.

Carnegie Public Library

The City of Escanaba was 40 years old when this library was built using funds acquired, in part, through the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. The library project was started by Mrs. George Roche. The Carnegie Foundation gave $20,000 for the building and the library was opened in 1903. By the end of the first year, the new library held 2,500 books and 550 public documents, and 2,016 library cards had been issued.

In 1906-07, the library provided books in French, German and Swedish, reflecting the immigrant populations that had settled the city.

When the new city hall/library building was built in 1995, the building was sold to Paul Neumeier, who has replaced the dome and begun renovations on the interior.

Delta County Courthouse (Old)

One of Escanaba’s first brick building and opened in 1884, the old Delta County Courthouse was located on a triangle bordered by 1st Ave. South, 3rd Street, and Ogden Ave. In back was the old county jail and the sheriff’s house faced 1st Street.

The courthouse was a Victorian structure with tall windows, high ceilings and a circular staircase. It had an ornate tower and ornamental arch over the main entrance. The stone used for the foundation came from a quarry on the Garden Peninsula.

The building served the county from 1884 until 1961 when it was demolished and replaced by the present courthouse on Ludington Street.

St. Francis Hospital (Old)

Located on South 13th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, this hospital was operated by the 3rd Order of the Sisters of St. Francis of Peoria, Ill. These Sisters arrived in February of 1884 to assist with the county hospital. In January of 1914, the Sisters purchased the hospital and renamed it St. Francis Hospital, OSF. Over the years, several additions and renovations were completed, financed by the Order and the community.

In 1986, a new St. Francis Hospital was constructed west of the city on Highway 41, and the old hospital no longer stands.

Gust Asp

Probably one of the most recognizable signs on Ludington Street is that of Gust Asp. Local businessman, Gus Asp, operated a news and tobacco business in this location between 1937 and 1963. Since the 1930s, tourists have requested post cards of the unique sign because of the colorful rhyme, “Just Ask Gust Asp,” but the truth of the matter is that Gus was often consulted for information because of his wide range of knowledge on many subjects.

The building was constructed some time after 1893 and the Stack Lumber Company Office was one of the earliest occupants.

Swanson’s Service Station

Elmer Swanson’s Service Station at the corner of Ludington and 8th Streets dealt in Quaker State and Shell Oil products. Constructed after 1929 with steep gables and pitched roof, this little building, which still remains, was typical of the main street gas stations of an earlier era when America was in love with the automobile and there were service stations on nearly every corner.

Delta Brewing Company

The Delta Brewing Company, pictured in a 1937 photo, began brewing beer for the market on Monday, Sept. 25, 1933 – right after Prohibition had been repealed. This was a celebrated event when the brewery held an open house and thousands of persons filed into the brewery to get their first taste of the product.

The building, originally the bottling works for the Richter Brewery, is located on Ludington Street next door to the remodeled “Ludington Lofts” and is part of Escanaba’s long tradition of local breweries.

In later years, this building also served the public schools as the Catherine Bonifas Technical School, and as offices for the State Highway Department.

Ludington Hotel

There has been a hotel on this spot since 1864. Parts of the current building date back to 1871 and the building is an excellent example of the Queen Anne style resort architecture, in vogue at the end of the 19th Century.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and named after Nelson Ludington, the founder of Escanaba, the hotel continues to serve guests.

Pat Hayes, colorful owner of the building from 1939 to 1968, was responsible for many renovations to the hotel, the most unusual of which was the glass elevator on the south side of the building. Currently, owners Edward and Suzell Eisenberger, operate the hotel.

Escanaba Ore Docks (Old)

The L.E. Block, alongside one of Escanaba;s ore docks, appears ready to be loaded with ore from the dock’s chutes. Note the railroad cars on the top of the dock.

The iron ore industry and Escanaba’s natural deep-water port were important factors in the development of the city, called at one time, the “Ore Capital of the World.”

Built in 1927, The Block was typical of the many ore boats that came into the docks during the 20th Century.