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Marquette Branch Prison (Upper Peninsula Branch Prison and House of Correction)

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Upper Peninsula Branch Prison and House of Correction
1887–1889, William Scott and Company. 1960 U.S. 41 South
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

Established by the Michigan legislature in 1885, the prison stands on a site in Marquette that many thought too beautiful for a prison. Marquette was selected competitively for its location, advanced development, and aggressive businessmen. English-born Scott, who practiced architecture in Detroit in partnership with his sons, Arthur and John, designed a prison similar to the Ionia House of Correction in Ionia, Michigan, and dispatched Demetrius Frederick Charlton (1856–1941) to Marquette to supervise construction. (Charlton remained in Marquette and became the Upper Peninsula's most prominent architect.) The Romanesque-styled structure with a square central tower and octagonal turrets is constructed of reddish-brown Marquette sandstone trimmed with red Portage Entry sandstone and covered with an immense hipped roof originally of Lake Superior slate. The prison follows the Auburn rather than the Eastern State penal system, which advocated the rehabilitation of criminals through a regime of nighttime sleep in cells and daytime work in common areas. Only the administration building, northwest cell block wing, and rotunda remain of the original complex, but the lovely historic sunken gardens before the administration building have been restored.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Marquette Branch Prison (Upper Peninsula Branch Prison and House of Correction)", [Marquette, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 512-513.

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