Marquette orphanage seeks to be listed on historic register

Could the old orphanage in Marquette land itself on the National Register of Historic Places? It's quite possible since it was recently included as one of three Michigan historic sites to be nominated for the distinction, along with Swayze Apartments in Flint and Blissfield Downtown Historic District in none other than Blissfield.

The Holy Family Orphanage (it does have a name!) is over 100 years old. It was built in 1914-1915 following a 10-year fundraising campaign. In the 1960s, it housed Cuban children  brought to America during the early years of Fidel Castro's leadership in Cuba during "Operation Peter Pan."

"This is quite an achievement for the Holy Family Orphanage and for the entire Marquette community," says state senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. "Having served the western U.P. for more than 50 years, the orphanage is deserving of this prestigious distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With this development, I am hopeful that the building can be rehabilitated and put to good use soon."

Being on the National Register would allow the property to possibly apply for tax credits for its current owner for rehabilitation. 

Michigan has more than 1,600 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, including some 250 districts comprising more than 20,000 properties.

Historic sites are nominated to the national register by the State Historic Preservation Review Board, which considers nominations to the register three times per year. On behalf of the review board, the State Historic Preservation Office forwards nominations to the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior, which acts as keeper of the National Register, for listing. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MSHDA
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