Iron Mountain

Stephenson Avenue, 1910


Iron Mountain, Dickinson County: after the Civil War, the Chapin brothers went north from lower Michigan and bought a forty-acres tract which included the site of the present city which was founded by Dr. Nelson P. Hulst and laid out in 1879 with the opening of the nearby Chapin Mine; except for 1932-1933, this mine produced iron ore continuously from 1880 till its closing in 1934; the settlement was in Menominee County when Renel O. Philbrook became its first postmaster on May 17, 1880, being transferred to DIckinson on Oct. 1, 1891; incorporated as a village in 1887, with Dr. A.E. Anderson as its first mayor; incorporated as a city in 1889 (Fred Gianunzio; Havighurst; PO Archives)

--Michigan Place Names, Walter Romig, publisher, Grosse Point Michigan, 1905

Iron Mountain, Dickinson County, Michigan, was named by Joseph Fleishiem for a nearby "mountain" of iron ore.

--A  history of the origin of the place names connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railways .. Stennett. William H., Chicago, 1908


A History of Iron Mountain, Read by the authors at a meeting of the Woman's Club--February 20, 1914

Iron Mountain Biographies

Iron Mountain Biographical Sketches ----History of the upper peninsula of Michigan, 1883, Western Historical Co., Chicago; Western Historical Co.

Iron Mountain in the News

Michigan Gazetteer and Business Directory Iron Mountain-- Page One: Historical

Michigan Gazetteer and Business Directory



The laying out and building of the town of Iron Mountain followed the discovery and devolopment of the far famed Chapin Mine. The site nestles at the foot of surrounding hills that attain quite an elevation. The immediate vicinity presents some beautiful scenery, and abounds in rich deposits of valuable iron ore.

In the summer of 1880, mining operations were commenced at the Chapin Mine, yet little was done until the season opened in 1881, when the value of the deposit was fully established, and the town sprang up as if the ground had been touched by a magic wand. Its resources are found in its great mineral wealth, and the complement of business seen here is the same that is found in the many little mining towns of the Menominee

Range. It has an estimated population of 4,000, and the monthly disbursements of the several mines amount to 170,000. The Swedish Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal Churches have just effected organizations here, and erected neat frame church buildings. Iron Mountain is reached by the Menominee River Railroad, which furnishes shipping facilities for its mines to Escanaba and an outlet to all points.

--History of the upper peninsula of Michigan: containing a full account of its early settlement, its growth, development, and resources, an extended description of its iron and copper mines: also, accurate sketches of its counties, cities, towns, and villages ... biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers, 1883,Western Historical Co., Chicago; Western Historical Co.




Above photographs, Iron Mountain, Main Street, 1880



(From an article entitled "Florence and Iron Mountain")

Ten miles east (of Florence, WI.), on the Michigan side is


where the largest mine on the range is being works. In am indebted to Mr. Flint, formerly of Stoughton, who is the purchasing agent for the Menominee Mining company, for a very enjoyable visit to the hydraulic works, three miles distant, which furnishes the power for running the mine. These works have recently been built and are said to have the most powerful gearing of any in the world. The compressing machines, two in number, are driven by water-wheels of 900 horse power each, with 48 feet head of water. The drive wheel is 14 feet in diameter, with a five-feet stroke. The compressed air is driven through a 24-inch pipe made of boiler iron, in sections of about 50 feet each, three miles in length. It is really a wonderful piece of mechanism, and impresses one with the great power it is possible to obtain by means of machinery.

The running of these mines is really


The pumping of the water to keep the mines clear is an immense job, and then the hoisting of the ore from the deep pits and dumping it into the cars for transportation, to say nothing of the labor of blasting and digging, is no small matter.

Just now logging is the great theme for discussion. Never was a better season than the present for a successful business, and it is being improved. There have come to be experts in the different branches of the business, men who have done nothing else for years.


is a peculiar character, as also his companion the packer. They have a dialect of their own, suited to the business they follow. They discuss their dogs, used for drawing supplies, how to train them, the number of pounds freight they can carry on their trains and the distance they can travel in a day. Some of these dogs are valued at $100, for draught purposes.

The immense resources of this northern region have scarcely begun to be developed. It will yet be many years before the timber supply is exhausted; the mineral interset, copper and iron, is practically without limit. Northern Wisconsin has an abundance of good soil that the farmer will find after the timber is cut off. It is well watered; a multitude of small lakes dot the country and the climate for health is most excellent. The atmosphere seems to fill one with life. Its cold even is a luxury. Nobody complains of it. A Cleveland gentleman told me of his tramping three days in succession, camping out night and mercury


without any real discomfot. It is possible that this may be among the great health resorts of our country.

The more thoroughly acquainted I become with our commonwealth the more ready I am to exclaim "Great is the Badger state!"


--Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, WI., February 8, 1884