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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 24, 2017, 10:39 am 

Joined: December 6, 2014, 3:43 pm
Posts: 388
Well, my "last few years" statement was not very accurate. According to Michigan Railroads, C&NW last used their own dock in Ashland in 1947. After that they used the Soo Line dock exclusively.

http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/Ports-CarFerries/DocksPortsMenu.htm#Note%201


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 24, 2017, 10:31 am 

Joined: December 6, 2014, 3:43 pm
Posts: 388
JFB wrote:
Minor correction to DAR's excellent post, the Ore Dock at Ashland, WI was owned by the Soo Line who also served the Gogebic Range and had a pooling arrangement with the C&NW.

The last active ore dock was the Soo Line's, but Ashland had multiple docks. C&NW had ore docks there for years. I think for the very last few years that C&NW was shipping ore out of Ashland they used the Soo Line's dock .

Patrick Dorin's Lake Superior Iron Ore Railroads is a good source for information about the docks in the 1960's and 1970's.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 24, 2017, 1:20 am 

Joined: April 25, 2010, 3:28 pm
Posts: 44
Minor correction to DAR's excellent post, the Ore Dock at Ashland, WI was owned by the Soo Line who also served the Gogebic Range and had a pooling arrangement with the C&NW.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 23, 2017, 5:01 pm 
The modern iron mining industry in the USA started in Negaunee, Michigan in the 1840’s and 50’s. This industry along with the Copper Industry is why the Soo Locks were built. The mining region was remote and inaccessible to the rest of the country except by water.
There were three iron ranges in Michigan. They were: The Marquette Range (running from just east and south of Negaunee to Michigamme MI in Marquette County); The Gogebic Range (running from Wakefield, MI to Montreal WI, Gogebic County, MI and Iron County, WI); The Menominee Range (running from east of Norway, MI to Iron River, MI, Dickinson and Iron Counties, Michigan) There were all totaled, hundreds of mines. Most were underground. Many failed shortly after opening. Those that remained were taken over by the (big guns) like CCI, J&L, USS, National, and P&M until all high grade ore was played out or when it became too expensive to bring ore to the surface. Those that remained, and there were few, set up to process low grade ore into Taconite Pellets. Pellets have helped make the switch from high grade ore to low because they have many benefits. Raw ore is very dirty and messy, it is of non-uniform size and it hangs up in the handling machinery. It sticks to everything especially when wet. It would hang up on the conveyors, in ore cars, in the ore dock pockets and in ore boats. Pellets on the other hand load fast and easy unless they are wet in subzero weather. Today the only mine left is the open pit Tilden Mine, located south of Ishpeming. Groveland was in Dickinson County and was the last Menominee Range mine. It closed in the 1980’s. The Groveland is the only mine of the range that could re-open and have rail service as all other rails are gone in that range. The mines of Gogebic range all closed in the early 1960’s with one exception and it closed in the early 1970. All Gogebic mines were underground except one and it closed in the 60’s. All rail service to Gogebic County is pretty much gone also. The ore from this range was hauled by rail to Ashland, WI where went through the C&NW dock.
Pellet plants were set up at Groveland, North of Iron Mountain. The other active mines were in Marquette County. There were plants at Empire, Tilden, and Republic. The Pioneer Plant served several mines in the area. Pioneer’s life ended when the Mather B mine was closed. Mather B was the last underground iron mine in the USA. It was thousands of feet deep and had over 30 levels. Today the property is the home of Negaunee High School
The current ore dock in Escanaba served from the early 1970’s to present. It was the only “modern” style conveyor dock in the area. There have been ore docks in Escanaba for well over 100 years. They were the pocket/gravity type all made of wood. The ore from the Menominee range and from Empire Mine in at Marquette range were loaded at Escanaba. This dock used to be C&NW
The LS &I dock in Marquette has had its 100th anniversary. It is the fastest iron ore loading dock on the lakes. When all is going well some of the smaller vessels can load in 4-5 hours. If you haven’t watched an ore boat load, come to Marquette and watch. It’s the only place on the lakes where you can be so close to a loading boat, legally. Marquette also had a dock in the Lower Harbor (down town) area. It is still there but all rail approaches to it are gone.
To see what Michigan’s iron mines looked like check out the following site:
http://www.miningartifacts.org/Michigan-Iron-Mines.html
These mines provided a hard working bunch of people with good (but dirty) jobs.
Lots of the mining communities in the 1880’s had lots of paved streets, city water & sewer, electricity, and central heat. These were the people who helped win the civil war and WWI with their hard work of getting the iron ore out of the ground and on to the mills “down the lakes”.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 21, 2017, 2:59 pm 
Guest wrote:
Yooper wrote:
The iron ore range runs from northwestern delta county in Michigan through to Minnesota, my understanding is that there is a lower grade ore left in some of the abandoned mine locations and occasionally there are rumors of a new process that makes it profitable for companies to mine it, whether that is true or not remains to be seen.


A sign of old age. I always remember something else after I hit "submit." I would think the process that Magnetation, now ERP Iron Ore uses here in NE MN would be the process that could be used in the Upper Peninsula.
https://www.magnetation.com/erp-iron-ore-llc/


Another sign of old age. Forgetting to put your name on a post.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 21, 2017, 2:09 pm 
Yooper wrote:
The iron ore range runs from northwestern delta county in Michigan through to Minnesota, my understanding is that there is a lower grade ore left in some of the abandoned mine locations and occasionally there are rumors of a new process that makes it profitable for companies to mine it, whether that is true or not remains to be seen.


A sign of old age. I always remember something else after I hit "submit." I would think the process that Magnetation, now ERP Iron Ore uses here in NE MN would be the process that could be used in the Upper Peninsula.
https://www.magnetation.com/erp-iron-ore-llc/


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 21, 2017, 1:43 pm 
Yooper wrote:
The iron ore range runs from northwestern delta county in Michigan through to Minnesota, my understanding is that there is a lower grade ore left in some of the abandoned mine locations and occasionally there are rumors of a new process that makes it profitable for companies to mine it, whether that is true or not remains to be seen.


Thanks, Yooper. I know in my 9 years on the ore boats we hauled enough iron ore/taconite pellets from the Minnesota iron range.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 21, 2017, 12:41 pm 
The iron ore range runs from northwestern delta county in Michigan through to Minnesota, my understanding is that there is a lower grade ore left in some of the abandoned mine locations and occasionally there are rumors of a new process that makes it profitable for companies to mine it, whether that is true or not remains to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 21, 2017, 9:36 am 
Yooper wrote:
The groveland mine was located in Dickinson county near Felch Michigan,from the iron mountain ski jump if you look to the northeast you can see the mine buildings in the distance. A few years ago when ore prices were high, there were rumors of it reopening.


Yooper-Is there a lot of ore still in the ground at those abandoned
sites? I was looking at a mining history of the UP and northern Wisc. and was surprised to see so many abandoned mines. Drove thru
Florence, WI a bunch of times when I was on my way to the lower peninsula when my Mom was alive. Didn't realize that was a mining area. Being closed to Iron Mountain I should have known it.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 10:49 pm 
I remember being able to tell the type of pellets by their color. Empire were purple with a pinkish hue, Pioneer were a reddish brown and Groveland were a dark gray to almost blackish.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 10:45 pm 
The groveland mine was located in Dickinson county near Felch Michigan,from the iron mountain ski jump if you look to the northeast you can see the mine buildings in the distance. A few years ago when ore prices were high, there were rumors of it reopening.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 8:30 pm 
Jon Paul wrote:
When I was sailing in the 70's, Escanaba was one of our primary loading ports along with Marquette. Most of our loads from Esky went to Republic Steel in S Chicago. It was basically a 2 1/2 day shuttle run. At that time we carried a variety of different pellets depending on what was ordered. This included Empire, Groveland and Pioneer Pellets. Im not sure where the Groveland and Pioneer Pellets came from but I do remember that the Groveland Pellets were very dirty and tended to have a LOT of gritty dust and granules mixed in with the pellets. It wasn't uncommon to have a 6" layer of this stuff on deck from the end of the hatch coaming to the side of the hull on the loading side from where the stuff just spilled off the loading conveyor.
I always loved Escanaba, It was a nice town to spend some time in, especially if someone was loading ahead of us. We would sometimes go to the House of Ludington down in town for a Prime Rib Dinner or if we didnt feel like going that far we would hang out at the 2 bars right at the top of the loading dock (Stopich's & Corner Bar). I enjoyed many a cold Schooner of Old Style at Stropich's Bar which had a large picture window overlooking the dock. You could play pool,listen to the Juke Box and have a few cold ones's while keeping an eye on the boat as it was being loaded making sure to get back just in the nick of time, lol.


Jon Paul-Here's somewhat of an answer where the Pioneer Pellets came from. From what I could find it looks like the Groveland mine was in Delta county. Not much info on that one.

http://substreet.org/mather-b-mine/


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 4:47 pm 
When I was sailing in the 70's, Escanaba was one of our primary loading ports along with Marquette. Most of our loads from Esky went to Republic Steel in S Chicago. It was basically a 2 1/2 day shuttle run. At that time we carried a variety of different pellets depending on what was ordered. This included Empire, Groveland and Pioneer Pellets. Im not sure where the Groveland and Pioneer Pellets came from but I do remember that the Groveland Pellets were very dirty and tended to have a LOT of gritty dust and granules mixed in with the pellets. It wasn't uncommon to have a 6" layer of this stuff on deck from the end of the hatch coaming to the side of the hull on the loading side from where the stuff just spilled off the loading conveyor.
I always loved Escanaba, It was a nice town to spend some time in, especially if someone was loading ahead of us. We would sometimes go to the House of Ludington down in town for a Prime Rib Dinner or if we didnt feel like going that far we would hang out at the 2 bars right at the top of the loading dock (Stopich's & Corner Bar). I enjoyed many a cold Schooner of Old Style at Stropich's Bar which had a large picture window overlooking the dock. You could play pool,listen to the Juke Box and have a few cold ones's while keeping an eye on the boat as it was being loaded making sure to get back just in the nick of time, lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 1:57 pm 
Yooper wrote:
Taconite is a raw product, manufacturers purchase steel not taconite pellets. The idea that foreign countries buy taconite to provide steel jobs is absurd.


Steel mills purchase taconite pellets to manufacture steel. I would guess the purchase of pellets at least provides steel jobs to the steelworkers union members in the U.P. and NE Minnesota.


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 Post subject: Re: Escanaba Closure
Unread postPosted: April 20, 2017, 12:50 pm 
Yooper wrote:
Taconite is a raw product, manufacturers purchase steel not taconite pellets. The idea that foreign countries buy taconite to provide steel jobs is absurd.


It is not absurd that other countries (that do not have their own sources of iron) would buy taconite pellets to feed their own blast furnaces. Indeed, when the price of Iron gets high enough, it's common to see pellets being shipped to Quebec for export.


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