EagleHerald Staff Writer
MARINETTE—Following the success of the recently completed Isaac Stephenson statue restoration, the City of Marinette Historic Preservation Commission discussed last Monday other potential monument repair projects throughout the city.
The commission honed in on three monuments in particular—the Queen Marinette and First Sawmill monuments on Riverside Avenue and the Soldier monument on Stephenson Island.
According to Alderperson and Historic Preservation Commission Member Jason Flatt’s “A Brief History of Riverside Avenue,” the Queen Marinette and First Sawmill monuments were both erected by Frank Noyes, the son of Eagle Editor Luther Noyes, in 1940 and 1931, respectively.
Flatt said the First Sawmill monument on Riverside Avenue, in particular, is “looking pretty rough.” Some of the screws that attach the plaque to its block of granite are missing or coming loose, according to Flatt.
The monument, which stands across from Raymond Street, commemorates the location where William Farnsworth and Charles Brush built the first sawmill on the Menominee River in 1832. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, Farnsworth was a pioneer fur trader and lumberman from Vermont who was also the second husband of Queen Marinette. Brush, who was a Detroit native, seems to have been a lesser historical figure, and few details are recorded about him in documents mentioning the sawmill.
The Queen Marinette monument, although not in an extreme state of disrepair, has developed a patina and could benefit from some attention, according to Flatt. “The Queen Marinette monument doesn’t look rough, but it doesn’t look rough in the way that the Ike Stephenson statue didn’t used to look rough either,” he said.
Queen Marinette, the namesake of the city and county, was a woman with French, Chippewa and Menominee ancestry born in northeast Wisconsin in 1793, according to Beverly Hayward Johnson’s “Queen Marinette: Spirit of Survival on the Great Lakes Frontier.” She was a skilled trader and adviser who was also known for her charitable work with local residents.
Historic Preservation Commission Member Mark Davenport said that the base of the Soldier Memorial on Stephenson Island is in need of repair. Davenport, who also owns the construction company MariMar, Inc. and was involved in the Isaac Stephenson statue restoration, said he has been corresponding with LaCourt Concrete Owner Chuck LaCourt regarding the foundation and the possibility of adding a layer of granite over it to reduce the need for future maintenance. Isaac Stephenson presented the Soldier Memorial to the City of Marinette on Memorial Day of 1917 to commemorate soldiers from Marinette County who had perished during the Civil War.
Historic Preservation Commission Chairperson Dan Kallgren said Milwaukee-based objects conservator Cricket Harbeck, who undertook the Stephenson statue restoration, will be coming back to the city to do a final report on the Stephenson statue project. Kallgren said he had mentioned the other monuments to her and believes she may take a look at them during her trip.