City of Marquette Iowa
"IOWA'S BEST KEPT SECRET"
Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa Marquette welcomes you to an area known as "Iowa's best kept secret." Known as North McGregor from 1857 to 1920 the name was changed to Marquette in honor of Father Marquette who along with Louis Joliet explored the upper Mississippi River. Marquette was born from the need of a supply point, which quickly developed into a thriving community, for the proposed railroad that would be passing through the valley. As the railroad grew so did the community with it having the distinction of being the first all rail route between Chicago and the Twin Cities. Initially trains had to be ferried across the mighty Mississippi River between Marquette and Prairie du Chien till 1920 when a pontoon bridge, which was the largest of it's kind in the world, was built. In 1960 large maintenance fees lead to the dismantling and moving of the bridge to LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Ending 93 years of passenger service to Marquette, the last passenger train stopped in January 1960.
In 1932 the first suspension bridge crossing the Mississippi River was constructed connecting Iowa and Wisconsin. At the time it was the only suspension bridge across the Mississippi River. It was dismantled in 1975, after the Marquette-Joliet bridge was completed in November of 1974. Because of it's colorful history and location beside the Mississippi River, the city has become a popular summer tourist destination and is know for it's many antique stores and home to the Lady Luck Casnio since 1994. Marquette celebrates summer with Flea Markets Memorial Day, July 4th, complete with a parade and fire works at dusk, Labor Day and the first two week-ends in October, at which time the surrounding bluffs come alive with a beauty only nature could create. For a complete list of annual events visit the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce web site.
₮HE MARQUETTE DEPOT MUSEUM, refurbished from an Old Milwaukee Road freight depot, is rich with Marquette's history. Marquette Railroad days, celebrated the third Saturday in September, offers storytelling, remembrance, telegraph demonstration and historic, self-guided walking tours through Marquette.
Marquette also has the distinction of being the home of Emma Big Bear, who was approaching 100 when she died in 1968. A descendant of Chief Decorah of the Winnebago Indians, she lived in a Quonset hut made of saplings, tar paper and wood on the banks of the Mississippi River. Many remember here for her woven baskets of ash and beaded earrings, belts and bracelets.
MARQUETTE'S OWN FLAG of blue, green and white has a variety of symbols representing various aspects of Marquette. Background colors of blue are for the Mississippi River and green for the hills. The two men in the canoe represent the historical figures of explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet. The two hands touching each other "represent the friendly, helpful people of the community". The fish, tent and tree refer to the fishing, camping and natural beauty of the area. And the familiar railroad crossing is white with black lettering. The fish and the canoe are on a blue background while the tent, tree and hands have a green background. The flag was designed by Marquette resident and former Mar-Mac school art teacher, Toni Kann.
₮REES FOREVER Marquette, in 2010, had the distinction of being named a USA Tree City for the 7th year in a row. Don Smalley, chair of Trees Forever in Marquette since 1992, was recognized in 2009 as one of four Outstanding Iowa Tree Volunteers by the Iowa Urban Forester. On Arbor Day 2009 Marquette planted it's 500th tree!
IOWA GREAT PLACE On September 25, 2008 Marquette was designated a IOWA GREAT PLACE by the Great Place Citizens Advisory Board. This designation entitles the said to receive preferential treatments as determined by each state agency when being considered for grants or services.
Marquette sits between Pikes Peak State Park located just six miles to the south and ɆFFIGY MOUNDS NATIONAL PARK located three miles north of Marquette and is the only Federal Park in the State of Iowa.