Without question, Marquette’s most iconic landmark is the historic lower harbor ore dock, known originally as Wisconsin Central Ore Dock No. 6.
One of the most frequent questions we receive at U.P. Supply Co. is, “What’s that big thing in the water?”
One of several docks in Marquette’s lower harbor, Ore Dock No. 6 began operation on May 15, 1932 at a cost of $1,320,415. In the 1960s, as much as 1 million tons where shipped through the dock. The dock measures 969 feet and is the most significant structure in Marquette connecting it to its past, nearly 100 years ago.
Only July 28, 1971, the John T. Hutchinson became the last ship to load from the dock. In total, 24 million tons of iron ore were shipped from the dock.
On any given day (certainly during spring, summer, and fall), you’ll be sure to see someone taking photos of the ore dock. However, the most unique time to be there is in mid-November and mid-January during Orehenge, when the sun rises directly down the center of the ore dock.
Orehenge requires a good amount of luck. By my measure, you have a 3-5 day window to see it rise down the center, and if you’re lucky, about a 10-20% chance of actually seeing the sun. Being that it occurs in January and November, glimpses of the sun are far and few between.
Sunrising at Marquette Ore Dock No. 6? Here are a few pointers.
- Everyone loves looking down the center of the ore dock, however, be sure to walk down the docks on either side.
- Checking out Orehenge? Be ready for a big crowd. Bring coffee and donuts for the others.
- Orehenge in January? Get ready to scale a massive snowbank.
📍 46° 32' 28" N, -87° 23' 28" W