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Palestra (Michigan)

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Palestra, The Marquette was a 4,000 - 5,000 seat arena was originally built in 1904 in Laurium, Michigan and purchased by the Palestra Co. in 1921. The Palestra was best known for hockey, even hosting a Detroit Red Wings exhibition. It also hosted boxing matches and was open for public skating.

The building was dismantled and rebuilt by Edward Ulseth of Calumet, Michigan in Marquette, Michigan on a 300 by 400 ft. plot of land leased from the Cleveland Cliffs Corp on the corner of 3rd and Fair streets. Now the present location of the entrance to the Berry Events Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The Palestra was the first building built specifically for the use of ice hockey in the world and for most of the arena's existence, the Palestra sported a natural ice surface. The rink was flooded and then would freeze in the cold weather. The arena did not get ice making equipment until the late 1940s. The building opened its doors on December 16, 1904 featuring a professional game between the Portage Lakes and Calumet. Calumet won 4-3 in front of a paying crowd of 3,000 Spectators.

The building remained open until the population shifted in the mid 1910's. The Palestra Co. purchased the building for 15,000 dollars on September 17, 1921. The building was then dismantled and fully reconstructed 55 days later in Marquette. It was opened on December 22, 1921 with over 2,000 customers passing through the turnstiles.

In 1954, fire ripped through the Palestra and destroyed the ballroom. Later, in 1964, the Iron Rangers hockey team received permission to heat the building with portable heaters. However, the fire marshal declared that the heaters could not be used when fans were in the building. Therefore, the building was warmed up and the heaters turned off before the doors opened for the day's game.

The building itself was 265 ft long by 124 ft. wide. The building was held up by a steel framework 2 by 10 inches.

Hockey TeamsEdit

While in Laurium, the Palestra was home to the Calumet franchise. After the move, the Palestra served as the home rink for the semi-pro Marquette Iron Rangers from 1964 until 1976. The Iron Rangers played in the United States Hockey League. Earlier, the rink was home to the Marquette Sentinels.

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