Mining History Association

Annual Conference, June 6-9, 2019

Marquette, Michigan


The Mining History Association’s 29th Annual Conference will be held in Marquette, MI, on June 6–9, 2019.  Marquette is a charming, historic and conference-friendly town of about 20,000, situated in a spectacular Lake Superior shoreline setting.  Founded in 1849, Marquette became the business hub and the iron ore shipping port for the mines in Ishpeming, Negaunee, Republic, and other towns on the Marquette Iron Range (see the map at the right).  The Marquette Range is the largest of the four iron ranges in Michigan.  The Gogebic Range straddles the Michigan-Wisconsin border about 140 miles west of Marquette.  The Eastern and Western Menominee Ranges lie about 70 miles southwest of Marquette.  The Marquette Range and the Menominee Ranges will be the focus of many of the MHA program activities.  For more on the mining history of the area, see the link below.


MHA program sessions will be held at the Masonic Center Auditorium, which is located in the heart of downtown Marquette and just a short walk from the conference hotel, the Landmark Inn. Daytime parking (during formal sessions) is available in a large parking ramp located behind the Masonic Center.


While both current mining and the industry’s rich historic legacy remain prominent on the Marquette Iron Range, the region now boasts a more diversified economy.  Tourism thrives across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the “U. P.” as the locals call it.  If you were born in or lived in the U. P. (or wish you had), you qualify to be called a Yooper! 


Marquette is home to Northern Michigan University, with a student population of 7,900 in 177 degree fields, including 25 graduate programs.  Its 350-acre campus is located one-mile northwest of downtown.  It includes over 50 facilities including the Seabourg Science Complex, library, university theater, two art galleries, and a sports and recreation complex centered on the all-wood Superior Dome.


There is plenty to do in Marquette in addition to soaking up the mining history.   From the shoreline, Lake Superior looks like an ocean.  During a storm, it acts like one, too.  Like many shore towns, Marquette has several lighthouses.  The pretty, red, Marquette Harbor Lighthouse warns vessels to keep clear of the peninsula of rock on which it stands.  A visit to the lighthouse and the nearby Marquette Maritime Museum requires only a half mile walk along the harbor from downtown.  Follow the City Multi-use Path along the shoreline beyond the lighthouse and you will encounter nearly a mile of excellent beach.  The water will be refreshing and it is a great place to catch a few rays.  The trail continues for 2 miles along the water to Presque Isle with its modern ore and coal dock.


You can also take a hike or go biking in the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.   It is a 47 mile long interpretive trail that runs from 10 miles east of Marquette to Republic in the west.  It passes through Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Humboldt, and finally Republic.  Excellent signage tells the story of the mines, the towns, and the people along the way.





Our conference hotel, the elegant and historic Landmark Inn in downtown Marquette, is ideally situated near the Masonic Center Auditorium sessions venue, and an easy walk to the Lake Superior shoreline, the historic ore dock, and abroad array of downtown shops and eateries.  There are also a number of chain motels nearby offering rooms at various rates.  The Landmark’s conference rate is $149.00 per night, plus tax. The number of blocked rooms is limited, so EARLY RESERVATIONS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.  Be sure to mention the Mining History Association when booking your conference-rate room at the Landmark.


Landmark Inn

230 N. Front St.



Additional Downtown Lodging:


Hampton Inn Marquette Waterfront

461 S. Lakeshore Blvd.



Ramada Marquette

412 W. Washington St.



(Numerous other lodging options are available along the US Hwy. 41 corridor.)





Getting to Marquette by Air


For attendees traveling by air, Marquette is served by both Delta and American through the nearby K. I. Sawyer International Airport.  Car rentals (Avis, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz, and Alamo) are available at the airport.  Shuttle services are also available:


Marq-Tran Regional Bus Shuttle, 906-225-1112


Marquette Limo, 906-226-7772


Travel by Automobile


For those wishing to drive to the conference, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the U. P.) and the Lake Superior region has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike. Marquette is accessed from the East and West by US Highway 2 and Michigan Highway 28.  From the South, US Highway 41 takes you north from Green Bay, Wisconsin.  CLICK HERE for THE SCENIC ROUTES TO (OR FROM) MARQUETTE by “Married to a Yooper.”


Michigan’s Iron Ranges.


Early surface mining on the Marquette Iron Range at the Jackson Iron Mine in Negaunee (ca1860).


Shaft and ore stockpiles at the Negaunee Mine.


Underground mining at the Vulcan Mine on the Menominee Iron Range near Norway, Michigan.


The Ropes Gold Mine near Ishpeming (ca1882-1897).


Aerial view of the Mather “B” Mine between Ishpeming and Negaunee, the last of the underground mines (ca1970s).


Taconite mining at the Cliffs Resources Tilden and Empire Mines.


The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse and Lake Superior beaches are just a short walk from downtown.


(Photos courtesy Library of Congress, Michigan Tech Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Cliffs Natural Resources, USGS,



Views of the past and present along the Marquette Iron Range.  (Left to Right) One of the two Cliffs Shaft Mine concrete, Egyptian Revival obelisk headframes, ca1919, and a Koepe Hoist on top of the adjacent modern “C” shaft and headframe, ca1952, in Ishpeming, MI.  Marquette ore dock No. 6 with wooden railroad trestle, ca1932, and its current state of preservation.


CONFERENCE PROGRAM details and REGISTRATION MATERIALS will be available Spring of 2019*.




Opening Reception, 5:30 – 8 p.m., Thursday, June 6, 2019. Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum. (Pre-registration is required.) The 2019 opening reception will be held at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum in the historic mining town of Ishpeming.  The striking backdrop for the opening sequence of Otto Preminger’s classic crime/courtroom drama, “Anatomy of a Murder,” is the unmistakable profile of the unique and iconic Egyptian Revival-style A and B shaft houses of the Cliffs Shaft mine.  They are now preserved at the museum along with the mine’s dry, warehouse, shops and modern-era “C” shaft.  An array of hors d’oeuvres will be served, and museum staff will be available to provide tours of the museum grounds and buildings.

Awards Banquet, Friday, June 7, 2019.  (Pre-registration is required.) A social hour and the annual MHA Awards Banquet will be held at the Masonic Center ballroom beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Presidential Luncheon, Saturday, June 8, 2019.  (Seating is limited to 100.  Pre-registration is required.)  The Presidential Luncheon will be held at noon In the Harbor Room of the Landmark Hotel.  The luncheon program will include the “Passing of the Presidential Pick” from Keith Long, MHA President 2018-19, to Stephanie Saager-Bourret, MHA President, 2019-20.  The Presidential Lecture will follow. 


Pre-Conference Tour 1, 10 a.m., June 6, 2019.  Humboldt Mill, Lundin Mining Corporation.  (Limited to 20, Pre-registration is required. Long sleeves/pants and closed-toe shoes required.)    Lundin’s underground Eagle mine, located about 27 miles northwest as the crow flies from Marquette, produces high-grade nickel/copper ore.  That ore is transported by truck to the Humboldt Mill for processing.  The mill is located about 23 miles west of Marquette at the village of Humboldt.   Originally, the Humboldt Mill served the adjacent and now flooded Humboldt open-pit iron mine until it was closed.  The mill was later modified to process gold ore from Callahan Mining Corporation’s nearby Ropes mine operations.  Lundin has since completely upgraded the mill to modern standards and metallurgical technology for processing its nickel/copper ores.  The long-abandoned and re-flooded Humboldt pit is now used for environmentally friendly tailings disposal.  There is no charge for this tour, but attendees are responsible for their own transportation to and from the mill (approximately 26 miles from the conference hotel, one way – please plan accordingly to ARRIVE ON TIME).  Ride sharing is encouraged.


Unfortunately, NO PHOTOGRAPHY is permitted at the Humboldt mill.

Pre-Conference Tour 2, 2 p.m., June 6, 2019.  Humboldt Mill, Lundin Mining Corporation. (Limited to 20, Pre-registration is required.)  This tour is a repeat of the morning tour (see above – all details apply).


Saturday Afternoon Tour, Special Session and MHA Membership Meeting, 2 p.m., June 8, 2019.  The Michigan Iron Industry Museum.  The museum located at the historic site of the Carp River Forge between Marquette and the neighboring towns of Negaunee and Ishpeming.  This special Saturday afternoon session will feature a short film, a special speaker and presentation, and the Annual MHA Membership Meeting in its auditorium.  Members will also be free to explore the museum and its extensive grounds.  There is no charge for this event, but free-will donations to the museum are encouraged.  Transportation is by private vehicles.  Ride-sharing is encouraged.

Sunday All-day Field Trip, 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., June 9, 2019.  The Menominee Iron Range. (Limited by bus capacity (TBA); pre-registration is required.) The Menominee Iron Range is located approximately 75 miles south-southwest of Marquette.  The range is divided into two parts, the Eastern Menominee Range near Iron Mountain, Norway, and Niagara, and the Western Menominee Range, near Crystal Falls and Iron River.  Underground mining dominated on the Menominee Range and, because production largely came to an earlier end there, it has a somewhat “older” feel.  Fortunately, much remains to be seen.  This tour will be by air-conditioned tour bus, and the trip fee (TBA) will reflect transportation and lunch costs, plus admission fees. Three primary stops are planned:

(1) The Iron County Historical Museum near Iron River is located on the10-acre site of the Caspian mine, and boasts one of only two headframes still standing in the county. The Caspian shipped 6,623,320 tons of ore between 1903 and 1937.  The museum itself includes a nice selection of mining exhibits, as well as many other structures and displays significant to life on Michigan’s iron and timber frontiers.  Participants will be free to explore the museum and its grounds.  A pasty lunch will be served.


(2) The Cornish Pump Museum at Iron Mountain contains what is almost certainly the largest and most spectacular Cornish pumping engine remaining in North America.  Built to dewater the Chapin mine, this enormous steeple compound condensing steam engine was designed and built by Milwaukee’s E.P. Allis Company (later, Allis-Chalmers Co.) between 1890 and 1893.  After several years of operation at the mine’s D Shaft, the engine was moved to the mine’s 1,522-foot-deep Ludington C Shaft, where it remains today.  It stopped pumping in 1914, when the mine was electrified.  This magnificent machine weighs 725 tons and stands 54 feet above the engine room floor.  Its flywheel weighs 160 tons and is 40 feet in diameter.  The museum also includes many other exhibits interpreting the mining and industrial history of the Menominee Range.


(3) The “Iron Mountain” Iron Mine Tour takes place in the historic Vulcan underground mine near Norway, MI.  The Vulcan was part of a cluster of mines initially operated by the Penn Iron Mining Company and, later, by Pickands-Mather for Bethlehem Steel.  It was in continuous production from 1877 to 1945 (excepting 1921 and 1932) and bottomed at the 12th level at a depth of 1281 feet.  All workings below the tour level have reflooded.  Although the tour caters heavily to the tourist trade, it is nonetheless quite good and includes several unique (even to inveterate MHAers) sights underground.  Our guides have promised a somewhat more “sophisticated” narrative than is given on the usual tour, directed at the mine’s operating history and geology.



Post-Conference Field Trip, All-day, Monday, June 10, 2019.  Fayette, Michigan, An Iron SmeltingTown.  (Limited to 35; pre-registration is required.) The Michigan History Center has offered us an exceptional opportunity for a detailed tour of what is perhaps the most picturesque and best-preserved historic village in the mid-western United States: the Fayette Historic Townsite.  From 1867 to 1891, Fayette was a busy smelting town, producing charcoal pig iron from ores supplied by nearby Michigan and Wisconsin mines.  It was constructed by the Jackson Iron Company with the objective of producing a value-added iron product and saving the transportation cost associated with shipping the waste components of the iron ore.   Today, it is preserved in a state of arrested decay on the scenic north shore of Lake Michigan. This spectacular historic site invites visitors to explore numerous domestic and commercial structures, as well as the iron furnaces and charcoal kilns themselves.


A catered lunch is planned at the iconic Fayette Hotel, and the site historian and docents will provide two optional walking tours – one focusing on the site’s industrial history, the other on the civic and social dimensions of a remote 19th century company town. There will be a modest per-person charge to cover lunch costs and a small donation to the Friends of Fayette Historic Townsite.


Fayette is located approximately 2 hours (92 miles) from the conference hotel. Transportation will be by private vehicles.  A modestly-priced Michigan Parks Vehicle Passport (daily or annual) must be purchased at the townsite. Thus, ride-sharing is recommended.  Those planning to head farther south or east at the end of the day will be able to continue their journey after touring Fayette; others may wish to return to Marquette.


VISITOR INFORMATION (Accessed, June 19, 2018)


MMichigan Travel,


Upper Peninsula Travel,


Marquette Tourism,

The Landmark Inn,




Boyum, Burton H., The Saga of Iron Mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, John M. Longyear Research Library, 1983.

Reed, Robert C., Michigan Iron Mines, Michigan Geological Survey, 1957,

Allen, R. C., Gold in Michigan,, Michigan Geological Survey, 1980,



Terry Reynolds

Stephanie Saager-Bourret

Erik Nordberg



Mark and Lynn Langenfeld

* Program and Registration Materials will also be published in the Spring 2019 Mining History News (MHA Newsletter).


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