Duluth’s Ore Docks

This Month's Past & Present Pic


Duluth’s first began building an ore dock in 1884, but after Charlemagne Tower decided to build his railroad from the Vermilion Range to Agate Bay (Two Harbors), the construction halted. It wasn’t until 1893, with the opening of the Mesabi Range, that the first ore dock in Duluth would be operational. By 1918 Duluth had built six ore docks; by 1938 only docks five and six remained. Both still stands, but but #5 is not used. Read a history of Duluth’s ore docks here.

This Month's Past & Present Pic

3 Responses to Duluth’s Ore Docks

  1. My wife grew up only blocks from the tracks just up from Grand ave. She often told the story of her and her brothers going up to the trains when they were stopped and being invited into the caboose. I remember spending holidays in their house and feeling it shake when the trains came to a stop.
    The retired bridge to #5 would make a great walking path someday.

  2. The main problem with Dock 5 is the foundation of it has deteriorated over the years and it would cost a lot of money to refurbish the foundation of it. The dock itself is still solid, but the DM&IR back when they removed the rail from the approach to it they did not want to compromise Dock 5 anymore than what it was. The last thing the CN today would need is a collapsed Dock 5 to clean up, plus a whole pile of taconite pellets.

  3. In 1960 I worked for one shipping season in the office that used to be atop the westernmost modern dock. We “billed” the trains and boats — preparing the paperwork for shipping the ore. It was all done without computers then — direct telegraph hookup to the Proctor DM&IR yards, primitive mechanical billing machines and calculators. The office was torn down several years ago. Working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, during slack times we’d visit the ore boats being loaded where the cooks were preparing the food for the next day’s meals for the crew. They fed us well, appreciating the company in the wee small hours. Great pies.

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