Art center's parking lot sign features Bonifas family

January 7, 2016  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

The Escanaba Downtown Development Authority has installed historical information signs at several parking lots in the city including the lot next to the Bonifas Arts Center.

The sign features the Bonifas family. Although they did not live on the block, the family did have a major impact in the area that continues today.

William "Big Bill" Bonifas, immigrated to the U.S. His hard work led him to become the timber king of the region. In 1894 he married another hard-working immigrant, Catherine "Katie" Nolan, a young girl from Ireland. Together they amassed a fortune. The Bonifas millions passed to Catherine upon Big Bill's death in 1936.

The couple never had children and, Catherine used her legacy to fund the construction of St. Joseph's Church and its adjoining William Bonifas Memorial Auditorium and Gymnasium, now the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center. Both buildings can be seen adjacent to this parking lot.

The sign is located on the south end of the parking lot just west of the entrance to the theater.

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