WE NEVER KNEW there were so many history buffs in Marquette.
But anybody who tried to drive through south Marquette last evening (Wednesday) likely saw them first hand. Blocking the street at some points. Well over 200 of them.
“My mind is still blown by what we saw,” says Jim Koski, who leads these walking history tours sponsored by the Marquette Regional History Center.
Koski, who’s been conducting the summer tours and giving indoor wintertime presentations for thirteen years, says this was the biggest crowd they’ve ever attracted. Nearly 20o attended a docks tour last year.
Is he surprised by the turnout? Not really.
“There’s a fascinating history here in this town with amazing people,” he says. “You just have to take time to learn about them. We’ve got some amazing stories. And what people have to understand is that Marquette has undergone a huge metamorphosis in the last 170 years. What’s now a bike path used to be railroad tracks.”
Koski’s not a historian by trade–he’s a radio personality at Q107–but his interest was piqued several years ago when he first saw some remarkable historical photos of Marquette. He wanted to know more. He was hooked.
“Now it’s a hobby I want to share with other people,” he says.
He estimates that about 90% of the crowd on the walking tours are locals, and the others are out-of-towners who have some connection to Marquette. Enough to make them want to learn more about this town.
Alas, last night’s tour was the last of the season. They’ll start up again next summer.
But wait! On Wednesday, September 4th, the History Center is featuring Beer History. Talks by Russ Magnaghi, Bill Van Koski, and Koski himself on the history of brewing, historical bottle collecting, and strange, sordid tales of nocturnal entertainment in Marquette and the UP.
Beer to be served. Who knew history could be so much fun?