ABOUT THE AREA
The city of Ironwood, Michigan was originally established because of the discovery of iron ore in the area. A rail line was established from Watersmeet, Michigan to Ashland, Wisconsin from the transportation of this newly found cash crop. A commercial district was needed and soon established on the Michigan-Wisconsin boarder on the Montreal River, becoming the commercial center of the newly found iron range.
As the new town grew so did the need for new infrastructure. New streets, a sewer system & electric grid were soon established. Some of the first streets developed were Ayer, Suffolk, Aurora & Vaughn and these streets and names still remain to this day. The electric system allowed for the development of a street car line that would extend from Ironwood, Michigan to Hurley & Gile on the Wisconsin side on the river.
As the mining operations started to grow, so did the Ironwood area. The railroad companies expanded their operations to include a line that connected Ironwood, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin & Chicago, Illinois. As the railroads expanded it paved the way for the logging industry in the area. Though it had already been around, it allowed for the easier transportation of the fallen timber. As both the mining and logging industries would hit their peak it would bring settlers to the area from all over the country.
Logging is still thriving in the area but the industry is not what it once was. There are countless reminders in the area to the historical beginnings of mining & logging. These days the tourist industry has taken over as the primary source of revenue in the county.
In the warmer spring & summer seasons, visitors are drawn to the area’s lakes, rivers & and many recreational trails. Fisherman are drawn from all over the Midwest and many people have made the area into their second home. In the fall & winter seasons, the +200 inches of snow every year keep people coming from all over the county to enjoy the beauty of the area.
Visitors are drawn to many area attractions:
- Historic Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Deport - The former railroad station currently houses the Ironwood Area Historical Society & Historic Depot Museum
- Historic Ironwood Theatre - Home of the Barton Organ, 1 of 6 remaining operable of its kind, installed during the silent film era
- Hiawatha - 52 Foot tall fiberglass Native American statue, designed to symbolize unity & peace within each nation that had joined the confederacy
- Gogebic Community College - Offering an opportunity for higher education since 1932
- Events throughout the year to entertain the whole family
- Festival Ironwood - Yearly art, craft & trade show (Middle of July)
- Jack Frost Festival of Lights - a celebration of winter sports, outdoor recreation and holiday excitement (December through January)
- SISU Nordic Ski Race - event centers around 31K & 15K cross country ski races that finish in downtown Ironwood (January)