Prentiss M. Brown, Michigan Lawyer, Mackinac Visionary

Prentiss M. Brown, Michigan Lawyer, Mackinac Visionary (HM1ZSF)

Location: Saint Ignace, MI 49781 Mackinac County
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Country: United States of America
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N 45° 50.82', W 84° 43.62'

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Michigan Legal Milestone

Prentiss Marsh Brown dreamed of what it would take to bridge the Mackinac Straits. He grew up in St. Ignace at the dawn of the 20th century and often gazed south across the Straits, a daunting stretch of cold, deep water. He could not know then that despite a life of achievement placing him among Michigan's most distinguished citizens, he would best be remembered as "the Father of the Mackinac Bridge."

Brown, who was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1914, served as prosecuting attorney of Mackinac County for 12 years. During that time, he missed an argument before the Michigan Supreme Court, his efforts to reach Lansing stymied by the Straits of Mackinac's winter ice. He later recalled, "That bitter hike across the Straits made a lasting impression on me for the need of a bridge across the Straits."

Known for his financial expertise, Brown served as director of the Office of Price Administration under President Franklin Roosevelt, having drafted the legislation for the office while a member of the U.S. Senate from 1936 to 1943. In 1950, he was appointed chair of the Mackinac Bridge Authority and through his leadership, financing and building plans began to take shape. Accepting no pay, he and his colleagues overcame many financing obstacles, eventually funding the bridge's construction through the sale
of revenue bonds.

The Mackinac Bridge is rightly hailed as an engineering marvel, but the work of Prentiss Brown in overcoming legal obstacles and arranging financing is not less significant. Prentiss Brown remained chief of the Mackinac Bridge Authority until his death in 1973. He is interred in St. Ignace's Lakeside Cemetery on the shores of the straits he dreamed of bridging.
Year Placed2007
Placed ByState Bar of Michigan, the Emmet-Charlevoix Bar Association, the Cheboygan County Bar Association and the 50th Judicial Circuit Bar Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 10:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 676486 N 5079560
Decimal Degrees45.84700000, -84.72700000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 50.82', W 84° 43.62'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 50' 49.2" N, 84° 43' 37.2" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)906
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 917-927 Boulevard Dr, Saint Ignace MI 49781, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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