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Razing the roof: Archive building demolished to make way for museum addition

November 20, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - staff writer ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - In case you're wondering what happened to the historical society's archive building by the lighthouse, it was torn down to make way for an addition on the museum next door.

The Delta County Historical Society received a $1 million donation earlier this year to expand and renovate the museum located on Water Plant Road. The funding was received from Dr. John Beaumier of Duluth, a former Escanaba resident and past president of the local historical society.

Beaumier recommended the design of the building be created by the firm of Blomquist Architects of Iron Mountain in cooperation with the local historical society. Gundlach Champion is the general contractor on the project.

Article Photos

The Delta County Historical Society’s archive building was demolished earlier this month to accommodate for the upcoming expansion of the society's museum, made possible by a $1 million donation from Dr. John Beaumier of Duluth, a former Escanaba resident and past president of the society. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)

If Mother Nature cooperates, the project is expected to be completed by spring, said Charles Lindquist, club president.

The footings are done and construction of the building's shell may begin within a week, he said. Contractors are hopeful the shell will be completed before winter weather arrives so work can continue inside during the colder months.

"It's coming along really well," Lindquist commented about the project Monday. "Things are really moving."

Prior to the archive building being torn down, the archives inside the structure were transferred to the county services building on College Avenue where they are accessible to the public by calling 789-6790 for an appointment.

Following removal of the archive building early this month, construction workers began the foundation for the 3,766-square-foot west-side addition of the museum. This area will house a new archive area, a multipurpose/meeting room, a lobby and admissions area, and restrooms.

Once the project is completed, this end of the building will be open to the public year around while the exhibit area will continue to be closed during the winter.

A 1,600-square-foot addition is also in the plans on the building's east end where the new space will be used for larger exhibits and an exhibit prep area. The north and south sides of the existing building will also be expanded to include more exhibit space.

The museum will have a new entrance on the west side of the building where visitors will walk through a simple outline of the bow of an ore boat before entering the building.

Last month, council approved a 50-year lease of the city-owned property with the historical society foundation which will pay $1 a year to lease a half acre where the museum is located. Insurance and utility costs are paid by the society.



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