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Closser Associates Real Estate Appraisal records

Identifier: MSS-278

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of records relating to appraisals needed for various purposes, most frequently for sale of the property, commercial loans, or to value an estate.

The largest group of appraisals, at just over a third of the collection, are of business properties, including commercial, industrial, and medical buildings. Appraisals of residential structures, primarily homes and cottages, make up about a quarter of the collection. Appraisals of vacant, forest, and recreational lands make up 22 percent of the collection. The remaining appraisals are of government lands, including post offices, land needed for highway construction, and Kincheloe Air Force Base.

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 at the time of the appraisal.

Many of the appraisals contain maps showing the location of the property, maps or a surveyor’s diagram of the property, and plans of buildings on the property. Each appraisal also contains background information on the community and its economic situation. In addition to the appraisal, the collection includes several market studies done independently of any appraisal, maps used by the firm, and a few business and financial records of the firm.


  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the collection. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Closser Associates Real Estate Appraisal records (MSS-278) 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 Harden Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Biographical / Historical

Closser Associates was established in 1991, the latest in a succession of firms that extended back to the work of Earl H. Closser in the 1950s. All of these firms carried out real estate appraisals primarily in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but also did some work in the northern Lower Peninsula, northern Wisconsin, and northeastern Minnesota. Bruce Closser, son of Earl H. Closser, was the president of the firm. The firm ceased operations in 2014.


58 boxes ; 27 Standard Archival boxes 31 Map Tube boxes

Language of Materials



The papers are divided into five record groups: Appraisals, Financial Tax Documents, Maps, Publications, and Soil Surveys. Most materials are of Upper Peninsula properties and are arranged by alphabetically.

The most significant appraisals are of Kincheloe Air Force Base at the time of its closing. Kincheloe was the first major military base to be closed in the modern era, and the appraisals illustrate the challenges faced in converting a military installation to civilian use. Several of the buildings were appraised several years after conversion and show how difficult it was to overcome those challenges in a rural area.

There may also be interest in the materials related to abandoned railroad properties. These include the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic right-of-way in St. Ignace, the Chicago & North Western lakefront property in Escanaba, and the North Western and Milwaukee Road right-of-ways along the Menominee River in Menominee.

Included among the business and industrial appraisals are appraisals of many medical facilities and office buildings, nursing homes, and rest homes. The firm also appraised several mining properties, notably the Groveland Mine north of Iron Mountain. In addition to the independent market studies, some of the appraisals of specific businesses include lengthy discussions of the need for that type of business in the area and Upper Peninsula.

A significant number of residential appraisals were of summer cottages or year-round homes on waterfront properties, notably the summer cottages on Grand Island. The firm also appraised most of the islands at the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula.

The two Minnesota appraisals are of forest lands, and the Wisconsin appraisals are of the same types as the Upper Peninsula appraisals.

The maps are arranged alphabetically by county and local subdivision. Most of the maps are general maps issued by county and local governments. There are also a few U.S. Geological survey topographic maps with parcels to be appraised marked on them. Some of the Mackinac County maps, however, do not fall into the general map category. These maps show what are labeled private claims. The claims are actually the grants made by the French when they controlled the area. The other notable maps are the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad station maps for St. Ignace. These very detailed maps show lands, tracks, and structures as they were in 1916 and are each close to twenty feet long.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection, MSS-278, Closser Associates Real Estate Appraisal records, were gifted to the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives by Bruce Closser. A deed of gift is on file.


Closser and Associates Real Estate Appraisal records
Stephen Peters and Glenda K. Ward
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Code for undetermined script
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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 collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on 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.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
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