The first high school building in Marquette was a brick building constructed in 1859 on property donated for that purpose by Dr. Morgan L. Hewitt, the father-in-law of Peter White. There was objection at the time to this location as this was a wilderness at the edge of town.
This building served until 1875. By then it had developed many structural defects. It was torn down and replaced by a sandstone building known as the Union School on the same location. This building burned on a Friday evening in February of 1900, the fire thought to have started in the chemistry laboratory.
Architect Demetrius Frederick Chariton was hired to design the Froebel, Howard and Manual Training Building complex which was completed on the same location in 1902. It was always known as Marquette High School, but the official name was Howard High School, named after Howard Longyear who was a member of the last graduating class of the Union School. He was drowned in a canoeing accident near the cove at Presque Isle along with a friend, Hugh Allen, from the same class, in 1900. The Longyear’s donated money in his memory toward the Howard School.
This building had been built for a capacity of 200 students but by 1915 it had an enrollment of 296. That year a bond issue for $150,000 was passed by a vote of 346 to 230 to build a new high school. The center of town had moved north and west and several different locations were considered in that area, but when Mrs. Harriet Adams, widow of realtor Sidney Adams who lived in the huge sandstone house across from the Episcopal Church, donated two houses and lots on the corner of Front Street and Hewitt Avenue, that became the preferred site for the new school. Adjoining land (ten more houses and lots) had to be acquired by condemnation proceedings. The board chose local architect John D. Chubb to design the new school. Chubb hired the elderly, but locally famous, D. Frederick Charlton, who had designed many local buildings including the old Froebel-Howard complex and 78 other high schools across the Upper Peninsula, in an advisory capacity.
Quoting from “A History of the Marquette Public Schools–1854 to 1974” by Ralph Barber:
“In February of 1916 the dwelling houses on the new school site were advertised for sale and removal. By May bids had been accepted for the houses, with the Kinville home being sold to Mr. Lawrence and moved to the north side of Hewitt Avenue just west of Fourth Street; the Brotherton house was moved over to Third Street, north of Ohio and next to the present (in 1974) Ryoti Photograph Studio; the Preston house was taken further away to a location on the north side of West Ohio near Sixth, and the Dushane home was moved to a new location.”