Island Creek Coal Dock

November's Ghost Sign

Image: Dan Turner,

This Month’s Ghost Sign is tough to make out, but if you look hard it says “Island Creek Coal Company.” So where in Duluth is Island Creek? It isn’t. The Island Creek referred to here is in Maine, headquarters of the Island Creek Coal Company, which in 1910 purchased 41.5 acres of Grassy Point and later built a large coal dock equipped with two Heyl & Patterson unloading bridges with a capacity to remove coal from ships at 7,500 tons per hour. The company also leased a coal dock in Superior. Duluth alone once had 22 coal docks; Superior even more, as coal flowed in from the east over the lakes to the Twin Ports and what was not burned here was  delivered by rail to points south and west. Beginning in the 1970s, coal started arriving by rail from the west and is now shipped down the lakes, and there is only one dedicated coal dock left Superior. In Duluth, the Hallett Dock handles some coal, but also limestone and other materials. For a history of Duluth’s coal industry, click here. To see more fascinating photos of Ghost Signs, abandoned buildings, and underground passageways, visit Dan Turner’s

November's Ghost Sign

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