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October 6, 1892: First trip on the DM&N Railroad

On this day in Duluth in 1892, the first train to drive the Duluth, Missabe, and Northern Railroad—the very first first railway leading to the newly opened Missabe Iron Range—left the Duluth Union Depot and headed for the mines first opened by the Merritt family of West Duluth, pioneers of Oneota Township. Newspaper reports of the day fail to mention just who was on that train, but there were more passengers than anticipated, resulting in some discomfort on the trip. The “officials” aboard, after suggesting some changes, declared the road in satisfactory condition. The train returned to Duluth by 9 p.m. The railway’s first shipments of ore from the range to Duluth were scheduled for October 30. The first carload, carrying ore from the Mountain Iron Mine, actually arrived in Duluth October 19 and was put on display at the Union Depot. The first trainload of ore for shipment actually went to the ore docks at Allouez in Superior—Duluth’s first dock wasn’t ready yet. On November 12 of that year the first cargo—2,100 tons from Iron Mountain—finally reached the docks in west Duluth, where they were loaded on Whaleback Barge #102, built by Alexander McDougall’s American Barge Company in Superior.

The Lewis & Hepzibah Merritt Family. (Image: Grant Merritt)itt