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Marinette City

Marinette City Hall is located at 1905 Hall Avenue, Marinette, WI 54143; phone: 715-732-5120.

Beginnings [1]

Menominee Indians were the first permanent settlers of the Marinette and Menominee area. These inhabitants came into contact with French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries in the mid-1600s. The first white settler, Stanislaus Chappu (or Chappee), arrived in 1790 as an agent of the American Fur Company and operated a trading post until 1824. That year, Chappu got into a fight with an Indian and had three Indians imprisoned and taken to Green Bay. William Farnsworth, a rival of Chappu, interceded on behalf of the imprisoned Indians, securing their release and their gratitude. Subsequently, the American Fur Company gave Farnsworth permission to evict and replace Chappu as Farnsworth was on better terms with the native trading partners. Farnsworth would continue to operate the trading post with his common-law wife, Marinette, the granddaughter of a Menominee chief and daughter of a French fur trader. "Queen" Marinette, as she would later be known, is the namesake for the city and county.

As fur trading declined in the 1830s, the lumber trade began to grow to meet the demand of fast-growing cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. Marinette's first sawmill was built in 1832. Between 1857 and 1867, the four sawmills that would dominate the local lumber industry for the remainder of the century would begin production. Those mills were the New York Lumber Company, the Nelson Ludington Company, the Henry Witbeck Lumber Company, and the Hamilton and Merryman Company. By 1886 there were seven mills on the Marinette side of the river—eventually there would be nine large mills in Marinette and another eleven on the Michigan side of the river. The town of Marinette would evolve primarily from the cluster of buildings that surrounded the Nelson Ludington sawmill while Menekaunee, now Marinette's East End, would grow around the New York Lumber Company's mill.

A road from Green Bay to Marinette was completed in 1854 and the Northwestern Railroad arrived in 1871; both improved contact with the rest of Wisconsin. Additionally, the Nelson Ludington Company built a bridge across the Menominee River in 1862, thereby improving access between the twin cities. Downtown Marinette grew around this convergence of the road, railroad, and interstate bridge, enabling the city to become the commercial hub of the Menominee River region. The town of Marinette was incorporated as a city in 1887. Marinette is also the county seat of Marinette County.

  1. City of Marinette, Wisconsin, Historic Preservation Plan, 2013,, accessed November, 2014.
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