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Author helps preserve local mining history

June 27, 2012
The Mining Journal

Area residents have always shown a strong interest in the history of the area in which they live, including in the many mining communities spread across the Upper Peninsula.

From the Copper Country to Ironwood and from Ontonagon to western Marquette County there are communities that were spawned by early mining ventures.

Most have faded into the past, but the Negaunee and Ishpeming areas carry on the mining community traditions with active iron mines nearby.

There are new operations, as well, such as the Kennecott Mining Co.'s Eagle Project in northwestern Marquette County on the Yellow Dog Plains.

While the ongoing and new mining operations carry with them the promise of economic benefits to the region, many people find pleasure in learning about the old days of mining - a time when life was lived at a slower pace and it took more men than machinery to get the job done.

There have been many authors in the area who have documented the early days of mining, including Robert Dobson of Negaunee. Dobson recently published his ninth book on the early history of the Ishpeming and Negaunee areas.

This time he's gone right to heart of the iron mining industry, laying out the history of the Jackson Mine - the mine that started it all in the area.

"We're Going to the 1845 Jackson Mine, Negaunee, Michigan," is the title of the publication, which tracks the mine from its creation in 1845 by a group of investors from downstate Jackson up until it closed in 1948.

It also includes the moving of about 150 homes and businesses from what is now known as the Old Town area of Negaunee, with officials worried about cave-ins because of the many tunnels under the area.

Also touched on is the current state of the Old Town area and the Iron Ore Heritage Trail that courses through the area.

Dobson has a good background for writing books on the early days of mining, as well, having grown up in the Salisbury Location of Ishpeming, which - of course - was a mining location.

For those who are interested in hearing more about the Jackson Mine, Dobson is scheduled to give a presentation on it at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township on July 10.



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