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Earl H. Closser papers

Identifier: MSS-291

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of appraisals performed by Earl Closser for highway expansion and relocation in the Upper Peninsula between 1955 and 1966. Highway projects are given a CS prefix by the Michigan Department of Transportation and have a suffix indicating the nature of a parcel, U indicating urban and R indicating rural. Parcels were at times subdivided, with one or more of the subdivisions being designated with a suffix indicating the purpose of that portion of the parcel. Common suffixes are E for easement and GR for grading. The records also include appraisals of residential, commercial, and industrial properties and the appraisal of vacant and forest lands. All of the appraisals include photographs of the property being appraised, as well as photographs of properties used for comparison purposes. These photographs document how the areas looked prior to highway construction. Each appraisal also contains background information on the community and its economic situation.


  • 1955 - 2014

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from, MSS-291, Earl H. Closser papers, must be obtained from the University Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at 906-227-1225, or e-mail, The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Biographical / Historical

Earl H. Closser (1905-1974) was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and was a real estate broker and appraiser in Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. He received his bachelor’s degree from Alma College in 1928 and did additional work in real estate appraisal at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. He had a lifelong interest in real estate education and taught appraisal courses for the University Of Michigan School of Business Administration in the 1950s. In the 1930s, he entered the real estate business with the Everett Realty Company of Sault St. Marie. By 1941, he had moved to Marquette and opened a branch of Everett Realty, which a few years later would become the Closser Realty Company. This was the first full-time realty brokerage company in Marquette. In 1949, Earl H. Closser, along with George Quinnell and Nelson Rapp, would develop Shiras Hills. This was a difficult undertaking and would be called “Closser’s Folly.” Earl H. Closser started doing property appraisals around 1952-1953 and turned the brokerage company over to Leo Carlson, but retained ownership of the company. Closser Realty Company would become Closser-Bullock Realty in the 1970s. At the time these papers were created, Closser had been in the real estate business for twenty-seven years, four years as a real estate salesman and twenty-three years as a real estate broker, and was the owner of Closser Realty Company, now Closser Associates. He was also president of the Shiras Hills Development Company. He was the Upper Peninsula Realtor of the Year for 1960.


6 Cubic Feet


The papers are arranged into three groups as follows:

The Upper Peninsula appraisals (4.75 boxes, 1956-1967) constitute the bulk of the collection and are arranged by county and then alphabetically by city, township, and highway construction project within that county. Notable highway projects include the construction of I-75 in Sault Ste. Marie and south of the city to Dafter, the construction of I-75 in St. Ignace and to the north of that city, particularly the interchange with US-2, the widening of US-41 adjacent to the Michigan Technological University Campus in Houghton, and the relocation of US-41 in Gladstone. The remaining appraisals include commercial and industrial properties in Sault Ste. Marie, Iron Mountain, and Amasa; forest lands in Dickinson, Iron, and Luce Counties; and residential properties adjacent to the Michigan Tech campus appraised for the University. The widening of US-41 adjacent to the Michigan Tech campus required the demolition or removal of many homes in what was at the time considered to be the best neighborhood in the city. The photographs included in the appraisals document the appearance of the neighborhood prior to the highway widening and Michigan Tech campus expansion.

The Lower Peninsula appraisals (1 box,1962-1966 ) are devoted mostly to two highway projects: M-66/US-131 in Charlevoix and the construction of I-75 from Mackinaw City south to Indian River. The few remaining appraisals are of vacant lots and an industrial property in Grand Rapids adjacent to proposed street and highway projects.

The two Wisconsin appraisals are of waterfront properties on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation and Madeline Island in Lake Superior suitable for resort and recreational use.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection, MSS-291, Earl H. Closser papers, were gifted to the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives by Bruce Closser. A deed of gift is on file.
Earl H. Closser papers
Stephen Peters
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This is your guide to our historical collections of personal papers, organizational records, and manuscripts. Our collections cover such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region. Search by Keyword, Name, Title, Subject, or Collecting Areas. The finding aids for our collections will give you an overview of the contents and information on where they are located.

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