October 17, 1892: First Ore from the Missabe Range Reaches Duluth and Superior

On this day across the bay in 1892, the first train load of iron ore from the Missabe Range reached the ore docks in Superior’s Allouez neighborhood. The Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway train left Mountain Iron earlier in the day. Duluth’s ore docks were still under construction, so when the train and its 4,245-ton load of ore reached the Zenith City it transferred to the railway of the Duluth & Winnepeg Railway and crossed to Superior, arriving at the ore docks in Allouez. The journey took 18 hours. The load was ultimately divided into two parcels and sent east, where it was “to be divided among four or five furnaces.” Before the ore was shipped out, 20 tons of it were placed in car No. 342 and, the next day, was sent to Duluth’s new Union Depot—officially the first load of Missabe ore in Duluth. The train from Superior arrived at 11:15 a.m., but a crowd had gathered to see the ore hours earlier. The ore was left on display at the track’s end, under the train shed, for several weeks thereafter. (Ore from the Vermillion Range had been shipped to dock in Two Harbors since the 1880s.)

The Great Northern ore docks at Allouez in Superior, ca. 1900. (Image: Zenith City Press)