Looking to get into the Halloween spirit? Marquette County’s got you covered. There’s plenty of festivities and frights to go around, but aside from the annual October events and activities that take place downtown, there’s other more unearthly sites and phenomenon to dig up for the thrill-seeking types. And if that’s not your thing, then we don’t recommend checking out, or in, to these 5 places.
Old Town, Negaunee
Though hauntings have never been officially reported at the site of Old Town Negaunee, the massive hunk of land to the west of modern Negaunee has a storied history, with the skeletal remains of the bustling mining town to boot.
With massive mining operations taking place in “Old Town” from the mid-1800s until the early 1900s, the very ground that the town was built on began to crumble. The mines had begun to cave, eating up sheds and outlying buildings before it was ultimately decided that Negaunee — built quite literally on the iron ore beneath the feet of its residents — would have to relocate. Homes were either demolished or transported by semi to the north and east end of town, and by the late 1950s, nothing remained of Old Town.
But the best part about Old Town? Besides a few fenced-off caving grounds from the iron mines that formerly dotted the area, it’s entirely open to the public. Streets, sidewalks and even stairwells leading to nonexistent homes and neighborhoods lay barren and overgrown with moss and brush. Mountain bike and hiking trails course through the former community, taking visitors on a moving tour of what was once the most vibrant mining town in the Central Upper Peninsula.
The Lilac Room, Landmark Inn, Marquette Mi
The Landmark Inn is one of the most distinguished hotels in downtown Marquette, known for its grandeur exterior and lavish decorum. Previously known as the Northland Inn, the hotel was once a popular social hub proceeding its debut in January of 1930. And atop its conspicuous opulence, and Lake Superior views, the Landmark, is proclaimed to be haunted.
Cloaked in the corner of the sixth floor, lies the Lilac Room. A room that sends guests into a cold sweat, rather than a peaceful rest. The story goes that one day the Lilac Lady’s lover set sail on the shores of Lake Superior, never to be seen again.
It’s been said that the Lilac Lady still lingers in her recurrent room, waiting for her sailor sweetheart to return from sea. Hotel employees have heard an abundance of accounts and sightings from guests, and switchboard operators alike. She is said to be flaunting a floral gown while still harboring a heavy heart.
Old Catholic Cemetery
After the first Catholic settlers found their way to the Marquette area, a Catholic cemetery was established near the intersection of County Road 553 and Pioneer Road in west Marquette. Tombstones in the cemetery dated to the mid-1850s, and because of its status as a “free burial ground”, it was the chosen burial site for numerous young women who had died in childbirth, as well as many children younger than four years old, according to an article in The Mining Journal.
The cemetery, however, only lasted until the turn of the century, when the headstones and some of the bodies were moved to the Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries on Wright Street. Not all of the bodies were able to be found, however, and those that remain have been the cause of some commotion, including occasional shouting and sobbing, according to those living nearby.
The cemetery is little more than a sign and a path in the woods now since most of the tombstones were removed in the early 1900s, though one small cross remains, marking the burial site of a farmer who owned land nearby.
Morgan Heights Sanatorium, County Road 492, Marquette
One of the more unknown haunts in Marquette County, the site of the former Morgan Heights Sanatorium on County Road 492 has lost a bit of its allure since the demolition of the main building in the early 2000s. However, a chilling feeling remains on the grounds, and those who live in the remaining buildings (such as the nurse’s quarters, which has since been turned into a residential home) are sure of the presence of some of the hospital’s former patients.
Opened in 1911, the sanatorium served as the only tuberculosis center in the region. It was shut down in the middle of the century for lacking much of the medical technology and facilities that had become a standard for the time.
The only specific story to have come of the old sanatorium is that of a malpractice case — in which a surgical tube was accidentally left in a patient, who subsequently died days later — the property has an undeniable eeriness, and countless property owners and renters in the vicinity have reported ghostly happenings, including the presence of a man in a flannel shirt hanging around in the basement of one of the homes.
Holy Cross Orphanage, Marquette
No list of haunted places in Marquette — if not the entire Midwest — is complete with a mention of the Holy Cross Orphanage. However, the six-story structure that looms over Fischer Street in Marquette is currently being turned into an affordable living space with 56 units available for rental.
Since its closing in the 1960s (it was built in 1915), anecdotal claims of abuse and neglect in the Holy Cross Orphanage have lived on, despite having been refuted relentlessly by those who lived and worked there.
One such story is that of the girl who played outside without permission and got stuck in a blizzard, subsequently contracting pneumonia before ultimately passing a few days later. In hopes of teaching the other children a lesson, her body was displayed for all to see in the lobby of the orphanage. There’s also a story of a boy who was believed to have drowned, but who had more than likely been the target of excessive abuse. The sobs of both children have been noted by residents of neighboring homes as well as by visitors.