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November 3, 1915: Railroad announces $1.5 million ore dock in Two Harbors

On this day in Duluth in 1915, officials of the Duluth & Iron Range Railway announced that the company would build a new ore dock in Two Harbors, Minnesota, 20 miles north of Duluth. W. A. Clark, chief engineer of the D&IR, made the announcement, explaining that the project involved a new Dock #2 to replace an earlier wooden dock scheduled to be demolished. The new dock would be made of steel and concrete and was estimated to cost $1.5 million; another $135,000 would be spent remodeling Dock #6. The new dock would stand eighty feet above Lake Superior, hold 228 ore pockets for storage, and had the capacity to load four ore freighters at the same time. Dock #6 was built in 1908 as the first steel ore dock on the great lakes. It is much smaller than Dock #2, with only 148 pockets. The first ore dock on Lake Superior’s north shore was built at Agate Bay (today’s Two Harbors) in 1883 by Charlemagne Tower—who owned iron mines and the D&IR—to bring ore from the newly opened Vermillion Iron Range to transfer ore from trains to freighter to be shipped down the lakes to steel mills in the east. (Duluth did not complete its first ore dock until after the Mesabi Iron Range opened in the early 1890s.) Read more about the history of Two Harbors’ ore docks here, and a history of Duluth’s ore docks here.

The ore docks at Two Harbors c. 1930. (Image: Zenith City Press)