Iron Industry Museum
One of the finest museums in the Upper Peninsula, the state-run Iron Industry Museum (73 Forge Rd., Negaunee, 906/475-7857, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily, free) is well worth the short detour off U.S. 41 to its picturesque location along the Carp River. The spot wasn’t chosen for its scenery; it marks the site of one of the area’s earliest iron forges, built in 1848. This small facility packs a lot of information and well-done displays into a single exhibit hall.
The Iron Industry Museum tells the story of Michigan’s $48 billion iron mining and smelting industry, which dwarfed the California gold rush ($955 million), Michigan’s lucrative logging industry ($4.4 billion), and even Michigan’s venerable copper mining empire ($9.6 billion).
You’ll learn how iron prompted the development of dozens of port towns and the giant 1,000-foot ore freighters that now ply the Great Lakes. The “Technology Timeline” traces the advancements of exploration, working conditions, and mining methods.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel