If it wasn’t for the Toledo War, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula probably wouldn’t look like it does today. With lighthouses, beach-goers, National Lakeshores, forests, waterfalls, and quaint village towns - one would think they’re in paradise. But not only is the Upper Peninsula beautiful and scenic, it’s also bustling with industry. Since becoming part of the State of Michigan in 1837, the Upper Peninsula - aka “Da UP” - has been a haven for the copper and iron ore mining industries for nearly 180 years. Today, the Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources Company remains as one of the last great iron ore mining organizations in Michigan, with the Empire Mine and the Tilden Mine located in Marquette County.
In order to transport the massive quantities of taconite out of the mines, a railroad and an ore dock is needed. Since 1896, the Lake Superior and Ispheming Railroad has been the carrier to complete the job. Starting early in the morning, crews out of Marquette begin shunting empties over a 103 year old, 1,274ft long ore dock. The dock is 74 feet tall and has the capacity to hold 450 carloads of ore, counting the cars already on top of the dock. The ore is distributed through 100 pockets, which can be dropped to load the Great Lakes freighters that serve the dock to capacity.
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