December 20, 1918: Death of Martin Pattison

On this day across the bay in 1918, lumberman, mining speculator, and former Superior mayor Martin Pattison died in Superior at his grand home he named “Fairlawn.” A native of Ontario, Pattison was born at Niagara on January 17, 1841. In 1865 he began a career in the lumber regions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and during this time Pattison served in the Michigan State legislature. In 1879 Pattison moved his Michigan logging company to Superior, and his crews spent three years felling trees along the Black River. When Pattison heard news of Charlemagne Tower’s success mining ore on the Vermilion Range, Pattison sold his logging company interests and invested in iron mining, and his prospects paid off. He opened the extremely productive Chandler and Pioneer mine groups. Soon few people owned more land in Minnesota’s Iron Range than did Pattison, making him quite wealthy. He also had mining interests in Arizona and served as president of the United States National Bank of Superior. In Superior he and his wife Grace bought an entire city block and had Fairlawn, a forty-two room Victorian mansion, built on the site. He served as Superior’s mayor from 1890 to 1896. His obituary reported that when he left the mayor’s office, “Superior was in excellent financial condition…there was not a dollar of debt.” But Pattison had lead a double life, which you can read about here. Read about his remarkable home here, here, and here.

Martin Pattison. (Image: Duluth Public LibraryP