Friday, August 30, 2019

view from a boardwalk

One of my favorite views in Marquette is from the boardwalk along the lake just east of the new luxury apartment building and the fairly new Hampton Inn. The boardwalk gets you out into the lake just a wee little bit, just enough so that you are alongside the lower harbor ore dock up to about Chute No. 13, even if you are yet separated from the dock by a football field of water.

The ore dock is the view from the south end of the walk. One can pause for a while, taking in the dock’s rusted grandeur, but the view when you turn to face east and gaze out on the water and what appears to be an old pier and pilings and whatnot—that is the view I love. The pier shows its age in the worried lines of its water-worn, wooden decrepitude: it tilts and leans in a still-frame of drunkenness disappearing into the water without a splash only to emerge in a bit just as quietly, coming and going as it seems to please on a meander out to sea. It is a serpent, the Lock Ness Monster, Puff the Magic Dragon—any kind of thing you maybe once believed in. At the same time you can imagine its past, a time when it was straight, sturdy, useful and strong, bearing up under all kinds of weather.

Walking north along the boardwalk you begin to realize there may have been more than one pier as here and there a stray post rises above the water at one jaunty angle or another. If you are lucky, atop one post there may be a picturesque gull surveying her domain, and perhaps there is a piece of thick, old rope clinging to that post, a hairpiece gone askew. Gulls are ever present, circling, watching, calling, and there are islands with scraggly vegetation, small islands, none too big as the water, shimmering grey on a cloudy morning and startling blue on a sunny one, expands in your gaze until far out a jutting of land, so far out it seems mystical yet close enough that you stop to consider your knowledge of this place and the roads you’ve traveled and now what piece of land is that?

I’ve known this view for less than a year, and I will miss it. It is slated for demolition—all the old wood and rope and whatnot to be removed, replaced with one or two new boardwalks attached at right angles to the one I am on. They will go farther into the lake, provide more opportunity for walking and enjoying the lakefront, or something like that. Artist renderings have been in the paper; I was not impressed. Oh, I’m sure it will be nice, but I know I will miss this spot as it is, and how it might slowly one day become.


  1. I Googled the upcoming project and came across a 2011 post on someone's blog (MyMarquette). He had taken a picture in almost the same spot as you and it is amazing to see how things have changed since then. Pretty interesting. ~ B

    1. Yes, glad you mentioned that as it provides good background - For the technically minded, there is this 2019 document - It also has photos, some underwater.