Ore Dock Brewing Co. spans the confines of two adjacent buildings along Spring Street in historic downtown Marquette. Located just off of Front Street, the brewery sits where a nearby fire in 1868 all but completely devastated the downtown district. Shortly thereafter, the city issued an ordinance stating that all newly constructed downtown buildings would no longer be afforded the opportunity to use wood as their primary construction source. As a result, many of the historic buildings still found in existence today showcase the ornate architecture derived from local sandstone deposits. Part of Ore Dock Brewing Co. reflects that heritage.
According to some sources, the building that sits at 112 W. Spring St. was initially built in 1864. A two story building (at the time only half of its current size), this space saw a wholesale grain and grocer occupy the lower level for much of the late 1800’s and into the turn of the century. While upstairs, a Chinese laundry operated until the early 1910’s. In 1910, the building more than doubled in size with a sandstone addition extending further to the north. The change is visibly obvious as the concentration of sandstone used at that time was much less than its original counterpart. Shortly thereafter, the 150 year old building began its century long stint as a car garage for both sales and service, complete with a ramp allowing for storage of vehicles on the second floor. Though the ramp has since been removed, one’s senses can still be elevated by the variety of community events, live music, and wide selection of craft beers found each and every week at Ore Dock.
Merriam-Webster defines craft as “an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands.” The focal point of Ore Dock has a history related to craft that dates back nearly 150 years. Though existing as an automobile repair shop for most of its existence as a place of commerce, the site where our taproom and brewery currently exists at 114 W. Spring St. was once home to the Marquette Bakery. Established in 1874 by native of England and Civil War Veteran of the Union Army, William R Wright, the bakery was known as a favorite meeting place for people of all ages. According to a 1913 obituary produced by Marquette’s Mining Journal, Mr. Wright was known not only as Marquette’s finest baker, but also as a superb maker of candies as was evident by the steady throng of children that would visit his shop. By 1911 the original Marquette Bakery building was no longer in existence. And though the products derived from wheat, fruit, and sugar have changed from baked goods to brewed goods, the dedication toward excellence remains the same. Today, the spirit of craft and community is once again vibrant on Spring Street.