Dock 5

This Month's Ghost Sign

Originally published May 2014.

While faded and neglected, June’s Ghost Sign still identifies ore Dock #5, Duluth’s first steel ore dock (and the largest in the world for a year or two) built in 1914 by the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway. A total of six ore docks were built in Duluth, the first four of wood. By 1938, only steel docks #5 and #6 remained standing—and stand to this day. Read more about Duluth’s ore docks here.

This Month's Ghost Sign

4 Responses to Dock 5

  1. I have a friend who works on Dock 6 that says Dock 5 may be put back into use, but I know nothing firm on this….

  2. The old dock office, where I worked one season in 1960, was atop dock 5 with a catwalk to dock 6 — all dismantled, along with the elevator to access it, I don’t know when. Looked up there driving by several years ago, and it was all gone. You wonder what the future holds for dock 5.

  3. Hi – Neat shot of the Dock 5 sign. Thanks Dan, for sharing it. Dock 6 was built in 1918 and modernized during the 1970s and 1980s to more effectively handle taconite pellets because of the industry switch to that product from raw iron ore. This arrangement allows cars to be dumped into the dock, then transferred to the ground stockpile for storage. It can also pull—or reclaim—the concentrated ore pellets off of the ground stockpile. Ore cars can also be loaded directly into the dock, or into a boat berthed along side. In comparison, Dock 5 was only ever outfitted for gravity loading and unloading of raw iron ore, a product that has been handled at Two Harbors, MN. since the closing of Missabe Dock 5 in Duluth and the BNSF Railway (then Burlington Northern) Docks 1, 2, and 4 in Superior, WI. at Allouez. This morning I added two more photographs to my website that show Duluth Docks 5 and 6 and the taconite stockpile too. Take a look. I think you’ll enjoy them.


    Jeff Lemke

  4. I remember lying awake at night in the summer with the windows open & hearing the DM&IR trains coming down the hill around 40th Ave West to the ore docks, all the while applying the brakes.

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