As at Pattison Park, the area that makes up Amnicon Falls State Park along the Amnicon River was first home to people of the Old Copper culture, which gave way to the Woodland peoples. By the time Europeans arrived, the Ojibwe populated the area. Fur trappers ran lines along the Amnicon, and later the river witnessed the same boom and bust copper mining activity the Black River experienced. By the 1880s logging had moved into the region; lumberjacks used the fast-flowing waters of the Amnicon to carry logs to Lake Superior. In 1886 Superior pioneer James Bardon (for whom Spirit Mountain’s Bardon’s Peak is named) bought 160 acres of land from the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad, much of it along the river and waterfall. Sandstone quarries had been operating on the Apostle Islands and along the south shore for years, and Bardon opened another, Arcadia Brownstone Quarry, on his new property. Some of the stone removed from the Amnicon quarry was used to build Superior’s Fairlawn mansion, the stately home of Martin Pattison’s family. The quarry shipped over a million cubic feet of sandstone during its twenty years of operation. Amnicon Falls Park still contains evidence of the old sandstone quarry.
From Zenith: A Postcard Perspective of Duluth by Tony Dierckins (Zenith City Press, 2006) featuring over 500 vintage lithographic postcards. Click on the cover to preview the book.