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Though the university’s namesake was not particularly enamored of the Great Lake coastline, this Jesuit university (Wisconsin Ave., 414/278-3178, www.marquette.edu) was founded in 1881 and christened for the intrepid explorer. (The university purportedly even has bone fragments from the Black Robe.) Marquette University has regular event updates.
The primary attraction here is the St. Joan of Arc Chapel (generally open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, from noon Sun., may be closed weekends when school is out), an inspiring, five-century-old relic from the Rhone River Valley of France. Transported stone by stone, along with another medieval chateau, it was reassembled on Long Island in 1927 by a raiload magnate (the French government put the kibosh on cultural relocation after this). It was lovingly redone by some of the nation’s premier historic architects and renovators and remains the only medieval structure in the Western Hemisphere where Mass is said regularly.
Stories regarding St. Joan and the chapel may or may not be apocryphal; she is said to have kissed one of the stones while worshiping in the chapel during the war between France and England, and that stone has been colder than the surrounding ones ever since.
Another treasure of architecture here is the Brobdingnagian Gothic 1894 Gesu Church. The vertiginous heights of the spires are enough, but the gorgeous rose stained glass, divided into 14 petals, is equally memorable.
Also on campus is the Haggerty Museum of Art (530 N. 13th St., 414/288-1669, www.marquette.edu/haggerty, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., till 8 p.m. Thurs., noon-5 p.m. Sun., free). It is easily one of the city’s most challenging galleries and worth it for anyone jaded by excessive exposure to the old masters. It’s multicultural and multimedia with a modernist bent. The priciest piece is the Bible series of more than 100 hand-colored etchings by Marc Chagall.
One fascinating item at the Marquette University Memorial Library (1415 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414/288-7555) is the world-renowned J. R. R. Tolkien Collection—more than 10,000 pages for The Lord of the Rings alone, but also thousands of other documents. You can’t just waltz in and paw the collection, remember. Hours vary by semester and are reduced in summer.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition