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Ironwood, Michigan
—  City  —
Downtown Ironwood
Location of Ironwood, Michigan
Coordinates: 46°27′21″N 90°9′34″W / 46.45583°N 90.15944°W / 46.45583; -90.15944
Country United States
State Michigan
County Gogebic
Area
 - Total 6.6 sq mi (17.0 km2)
 - Land 6.6 sq mi (17.0 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,506 ft (459 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,293
 Density 960.3/sq mi (370.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 49938
Area code(s) 906
FIPS code 26-41060[1]
GNIS feature ID 0629087[2]
Website www.cityofironwood.org

Ironwood is a city in Gogebic County in the U.S. state of Michigan, about 18 miles (29 km) south of Lake Superior. The population was 6,293 at the 2000 census. The city is on US 2 and is situated opposite the Montreal River from Hurley, Wisconsin. It is the westernmost city in Michigan, situated on the same line of longitude (90.2 degrees West) as St. Louis, Missouri.

While originally an iron mining town, the area is now known for its downhill skiing resorts, including Big Powderhorn, Blackjack, Indianhead, Mount Zion and Whitecap as well as its cross country skiing at the Wolverine Nordic Trail System and Active Backwoods Retreats (ABR) Trails.

"World's Tallest Indian"

Ironwood is home of the "World's Tallest Indian" : a 52 ft (15.8 m) fiberglass statue of tribal leader Hiawatha.

The city is at the south end of Ironwood Township, but is administratively autonomous.

Contents

History

The town of Ironwood was settled in the spring of 1885. The town was incorporated as a village in 1887 and as a city on April 8, 1889. The township area north of the city was incorporated as Ironwood Township on April 8, 1889. In 1890 the population of Ironwood passed 7500 and in 1900 it reached 10000.[3]

Iron ore was found in the area in the 1870s but it wasn't until the mid 1880s when the arrival of the railroad to the area opened it for more extensive exploration of the vast iron ore deposits. Soon several mines were discovered and opened such as the Norrie mine, Aurora mine, Ashland mine, Newport mine, and Pabst mine. The opening of the mines and the lumber works in the area led to a rapid influx of immigrants both from other parts of the USA and directly from Europe (mainly Sweden, Germany, England, Italy, Poland, Finland).

On September 17, 1887, a disastrous fire swept over half of the business portion of the town, although the buildings that were lost were quickly rebuilt. In 1926, the Pabst Mine Disaster took place,

Its name's origin is usually considered to be from the following: James (Iron) Wood was a mining captain who worked for Fredrick Rhinelander. Arriving on the train to this wilderness camp, Mr. Rhinelander named the town in honor of his captain. There's a small park at the corner of North Suffolk and Fredrick Streets in honor of James Wood. Fredrick Street was in turn named after Fredrick Rhinelander for whom Rhinelander, Wisconsin was named.

The Ironwood Theatre Complex (now The Historic Ironwood Theatre Center for the Performing Arts) is on the National Register of Historic Places

The religious life among the immigrants of different nationalities was very active. Already in the early 1890s there were twelve different churches in Ironwood.

  • The Methodist Episcopal Church
  • The Jessieville Methodist Episcopal Church
  • St Ambrose Church (Catholic)
  • St Michael's Church (Catholic)
  • First Swedish Baptist Church
  • Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Swedish Mission Church (Covenant Church)
  • Swedish Lutheran Church
  • First Finnish Lutheran Church
  • The First Presbytarian Church
  • St Pauls Episcopal Church
  • The First Apostolic Lutheran Church

Literature

Ironwood and its famous pasties appear in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods.

Government

The Memorial Building is on the National Register of Historic Places

Ironwood's city government, like many other small Michigan communities, consists of a 5-member city council with the top vote receiver serving as Mayor. Day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the City Manager, who reports directly to the council during their two monthly, public meetings.

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Public protection

The City of Ironwood operates a public safety department, in which all of the members serve as both police officers and firefighters. Current city ordinances allow for a full-time staff of around twelve. Before 1989, the city had traditional, separate police and fire departments. IPSD, as the department is now known, continues to be the only full-time fire department in the Western Upper Peninsula. The Public Safety Department is also supplemented by the volunteer fire department which has been in operation since 1887. In response to a decade-long rise in tourism, the department now operates a snowmobile patrol unit from December to February, and a community-based foot patrol unit from May to September.

Education

Ironwood has one high school, Luther L. Wright High School, informally known as Ironwood High School. Their mascot is the "Red Devil" a common description of the miners working the dusty red iron ore mines. Luther L. Wright enjoys a rivalry with neighboring Hurley High. It is one of the longest-running interstate rivalries in American high school sports.

Ironwood was the home of the last parochial high school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Ironwood Catholic High School (formerly St. Ambrose School) closed after graduation of the senior class in 1985. The school's mascot was the ram, with the players know as the "Ramblers". The student yearbook was known as the "Loner" in recognition of its status as the last parochial school in this part of the state.

Ironwood is also the location of Gogebic Community College.

Transportation

Highways

US 2.svg
U.S. 2 runs west to Ashland, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota, and runs east to Iron Mountain.
Business plate.svg
US 2.svg
BUS US 2 serves the city of Ironwood.
US 51.svg
U.S. 51 northbound US 51 ends in nearby Hurley, Wisconsin. Southbound, US 51 routes to Wausau, Wisconsin; where it intersects with Interstate 39.
WIS 77.svg
WIS 77 starts just across the state line in Hurley and travels southwest.
The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Depot (now the Ironwood Historical Society) is on the National Register of Historic Places

Bus service

Intercity bus service is provided by Indian Trails Line, while Gogebic County operates a small public bus system.

Air service

Commercial air service is available at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport (IWD) north of Ironwood. Great Lakes Airlines operates flights from Ironwood to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with an intermediate stop in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. From Rhinelander, passengers may also connect to Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP) on Northwest Airlink.

Communications

Newspapers

  • Ironwood Daily Globe

Radio stations

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,293 people, 2,841 households, and 1,625 families residing in the city. The population density was 960.3 per square mile (371.0/km²). There were 3,349 housing units at an average density of 511.0/sq mi (197.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.52% White, 0.10% African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

The ancestral makeup of the population were 24.7% Finnish, 17.0% German, 14.8% Italian, 12.6% Polish, 10.4% English and 9.5% Swedish.

There were 2,841 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.8% were non-families. 37.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,502, and the median income for a family was $30,349. Males had a median income of $26,992 versus $21,184 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,131. About 17.0% of families and 18.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.2% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.

Recurrent events

There are a number of recurrent events. A calendar is available.[4] Chief among them are:

  • Festival Ironwood
  • Gogebic County Fair
  • Jack Frost Festival of Lights Parade

References

External links


Coordinates: 46°27′17″N 90°10′16″W / 46.45472°N 90.17111°W / 46.45472; -90.17111


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