Houghton was incorporated as a village in 1861, the same year that it became the county seat for Houghton County. Copper mining played a vital role in the city's early beginnings, and many of
Houghton's historic buildings were built during the Copper Boom.
Michigan Historical Markers
Houghton has several Michigan Historical Markers that describe places and people from the town's past. The green markers are in locations that are considered significant by the Michigan Historical Commission.
- Houghton County Courthouse - The beautiful Victorian-style courthouse that overlooks downtown on East Houghton Street was dedicated on July 28, 1887. A distinctive copper roof and red sandstone trim compliment the building's gold brickwork. Houghton County Courthouse was designed by architect J.B. Sweatt of Marquette, Michigan.
A two-sided historical marker in front of the courthouse describes the history of the structure on one side and the history of Houghton County on the other.
- Michigan Technological University - As the Copper Boom brought prosperity to the region, the State of Michigan established the Michigan Mining School in 1885. The school operated in temporary facilities until Hubbell Hall was built in 1889. The school was recognized as being one of the world's finest mining schools. In 1927, it was renamed Michigan College of Mining and Technology as the scope of its curriculum was changed to meet the changing needs of industry. Today,
Michigan Technological University is known for its engineering, technology, environmental science, business, and graduate programs.
The historical marker is located near the J. R. Van Pelt and Opie Library.
- Grace United Methodist Church - The first church in Houghton was founded in 1854 by miners from Cornwall, England. Grace Methodist Church's congregation built a wooden sanctuary in 1859, which served area Methodists for 34 years. In 1893, the existing Grace United Methodist Church was constructed. Featuring a Jacobsville sandstone edifice, a bell tower and several stained glass windows, the church was designed by architect William T. Pryor of Houghton.
Grace United Methodist Church is located at 201 Isle Royale Street. The historical marker is on a grassy area across from the church.
- St. Ignatius Loyola Church - Founded by Bishop Frederic Baraga, the original church was dedicated on July 31, 1859. The final mass in the original church was said on October 8, 1899. The existing church was dedicated on August 10, 1902. The beautiful sandstone structure features stained glass windows and a magnificent steeple. The church underwent some major improvements during the 1980s, including the addition of a chapel and a new pipe organ.
St. Ignatius Loyola Church is located east of Houghton County Courthouse on East Houghton Avenue. The historical marker is located near the front of the church.
- Trinity Episcopal Church - Reverend Samuel A. MccCoskry, the Episcopal bishop of Michigan, established the parish on July 17, 1860. The present Trinity Episcopal Church is made of beautiful Jacobsville sandstone and was built in 1901, replacing the original wooden structure on the same site. On August 22, 2010, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located at the corner of Pewabic Street and Montezuma Street. The historical marker is posted on the side of the church.
- The Amphidrome - The Amphidrome was once located in the spot where the
Dee Stadium is located, near Portage Lake. From 1902 to 1927, the Amphidrome served as the hockey arena for the city of Houghton, hosting its first hockey game played on December 29, 1902. The Portage Lakes of the International Hockey League called the Amphidrome home. The arena burnt down in 1927.
The building was replaced in 1927 and was renamed Dee Stadium in 1943.
The historical marker is on the south side of Dee Stadium.
Historic Houghton Markers
The City of Houghton Preservation Committee, Houghton County Historical Society, and others have
contributed to an historical walking tour project in downtown Houghton. At various points along the
walking route, you'll find "Historic Houghton" markers that describe important points in the town's past, historic locations, or cultural movements. An example marker is shown below:
Other Historic Locations
- Douglass House - The original Douglass House was built in 1860 and had with 50 rooms, a dance hall, and a dining room. In 1899, John C. Mann purchased the hotel and commissioned architect Henry L. Ottenheimer to design a new addition for the hotel. The grand hotel attracted visitors for many years. In the 1980s, the most of the building became apartments.
Located at the corner of Shelden Avenue and Isle Royale Street, the four-story Italian Renaissance-inspired building is still a beautiful structure in downtown Houghton. On the first floor, Armando's Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Douglass House Saloon (or the Dog House as it's known to locals) is a bar that serves mixed drinks and a variety of beers.
- City Center Building - Built in 1910, this building once held the Masonic Temple of Houghton, and Masonic emblems can be found on parts of the building. The City Center Building is now home to municipal offices.
- Shelden-Dee Block Building - Located at the northwest corner of Shelden Avenue and Isle Royale Street, the three-story commercial building features a sandstone exterior and was built in 1899. The first floor features retail space along Shelden Avenue. The back of the building is adjacent to the Library Restaurant and Brew Pub.
The adjacent two-story buildings (Bergdahl and Briggs Buildings) were built in the early 1900s.
- James R. Dee Block Building - The Daily Mining Gazette and the U.S. Post Office were
once located in this building, at Isle Royale Street and Lakeshore Drive.
- Carnegie Cultural Museum (formerly the Portage Lake District Library building) - The building was constructed in 1909 with a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, and the library opened to the public on February 18, 1910. When the Portage Lake District Library moved to its new waterfront location in 2006, the building became a museum.
Located at 105 Huron Street, Carnegie Cultural Museum
features exhibits about the area and its past. The museum is open to the public on certain days of the week and offers free admission.
See the maps page
for maps showing the locations of historical markers, historic sites, walking routes, and much more.
There are also several historic locations, including the Quincy Mine, in nearby Hancock