Sunday, July 2, 2017

St. Ignace, Michigan: Father Marquette National Historic Site

This tourist attraction is a little difficult to describe. Let's start with Father Marquette.

He grew up in France and became a missionary. Marquette was assigned to the New World, stationed in Quebec starting in the 1660s. French influence extended all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico back then, so Marquette had a lot of territory. Therefore, he did plenty of exploring. You hear a lot about him when traveling the area. Marquette went by canoe throughout the country, and found that the Mississippi River could be a valuable help in navigating through a large part of the midsection of the country. He also interacted with several Native tribes along the way.

Marquette died in 1675 in Michigan, and his body eventually was moved to St. Ignace - where he established a chapel. A museum was set up there, but it burned in a fire in 2000. This tribute was established to him in Straits State Park in St. Ignace. The park is located near the Mackinac Bridge, just south of Route 2 on the west side of Interstate 75. There is a parking lot near the pavilion with a sign to the site - just keep walking and you'll bump into it.

There are no frills here - no National Park Service workers, no passport stamps, no admission charges. There a small display that includes a video. This won't take long to visit, but it's a nice little historical tribute.

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