You cannot copy content of this page

May 28, 1944: Ore Docks Set Loading Records

On this day in Duluth and Two Harbors in 1944, ore dock workers began a flurry of work that would set records for loading tonnage. Ore demand increased dramatically during World War II, and in 1944 the DM&IR docks in Duluth and Two Harbors broke loading records three times. The docks set a forty-eight hour loading record by filling sixty ships with 649,275 tons of ore between Sunday, May 28, and Tuesday, May 30. And they didn’t stop. The following day they broke the seventy-two-hour record when the loading total reached 859,959 tons. And from that Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. until the same time Thursday morning, crews loaded 406,484 tons, setting the single-day record in the process. (The previous twenty-four-hour record was set in 1942 with 337,180 tons.) They reached an all-time high of 49 million tons in 1953. As the iron-rich ore was mined out, the docks slowed down. Two Harbors first ore dock was built in 1883; it would eventually have a total of six docks. Those docks actually closed from 1963 to 1966, when the mining industry picked up again with the development of taconite. Three docks remain, two of them still in operation. Duluth’s first ore dock opened in 1893, and like Two Harbors, six docks would eventually be built. Two remain, but only one is active. Read more about Two Harbor’s ore docks here and Duluth’s ore docks here.

Modern photo by Jim Davis.