Copper Country Architects

Byron H. Pierce

by Brandon M. Herman




As the first architect in the Copper Country, Byron H. Pierce (1857-1906) designed some of the major brick buildings.


Pierce was the first architect to set up shop in the Copper Country, appearing in the first city directory in 1887, where he was noted as “a resident since 1885.”1 Born in Waupon, Wisconsin, he moved to Marquette in 1883 and worked in as a carpenter and builder.2  He built a house for himself on the east edge of East Hancock, but sold it by 1891.3 He moved to Reservation Street, south of Hancock Street, by 1895 and had his office in his home; previously, it had been on Quincy Street. He had a number of subsidiary businesses; his ad read “Architect and Superintendent, Plans Made, Specifications Written. Estimates Made on Short Notice. Correspondence Solicited. Agents for Willer’s Sliding Blinds, Screens and General Mill Work. Kinnear’s Patent Steel Ceiling and Unity Door Check.”4

Besides the buildings listed below, he also designed the Portage Lake Baptist Church, the city pumping station, A. J. Scott's house, adn the Exley block.  He worked with Edward Demar early in his career. During the last year of his life, he worked in the offices of H. T. Leibert and P. M. Macneil. Pierce died after surgery on a tumor on his neck.  Perhaps as a sign of his prominence, or perhaps because he had been a member of the fire department, city officials flew the flag on city hall at half-mast to mark his passing.5