Wakefield, Michigan: Wikis


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Wakefield, Michigan
—  City  —
Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw-Bow (Leading Man), by Peter Wolf Toth (1988), to honor the Chippewa Indians; it is located on the lakeside pier next to the Wakefield Visitor’s Center and was carved from one piece of pine donated by the Ottawa National Forest. It is one of Toth's Whispering Giants.
Location of Wakefield, Michigan
Coordinates: 46°28′34″N 89°56′21″W / 46.47611°N 89.93917°W / 46.47611; -89.93917
Country United States
State Michigan
County Gogebic
 - Total 8.5 sq mi (22.1 km2)
 - Land 8.0 sq mi (20.6 km2)
 - Water 0.5 sq mi (1.4 km2)
Elevation 1,539 ft (469 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 2,085
 Density 261.5/sq mi (101.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 49968
Area code(s) 906
FIPS code 26-82780[1]
GNIS feature ID 1622046[2]
Website http://www.cityofwakefield.org

Wakefield is a city in Gogebic County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,085 at the 2000 census.

The city is situated within Wakefield Township, but is politically independent. It is on US 2 about ten miles east of Ironwood and the Wisconsin border. M-28 has its western terminus in the city.

It is home to Sunday Lake and Indianhead Mountain.





George Mix Wakefield, born 6 February 1839, in Henderson, New York, a son of James Patterson Wakefield and Hannah B. Hall, had the town site of Wakefield platted in May 1886; the general location was already being referred to as "Wakefield" as early as the fall of 1884. His parents moved their family to Waukesha county, Wisconsin in October 1844. Mr. Wakefield became interested in logging and real estate and acquired vast tracts of land in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the 1870s and 1880s. Together with various other capitalists he built sawmills and logged the pine forests of the area, and later became involved in mineral exploration. He was one of the parties who held interests in the mineral rights to the Sunday Lake mine, as well as a few nearby properties.

George M. Wakefield

Mr. Wakefield moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1879 and established a real estate business, dealing in timber and mineral lands in Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Alaska. He was secretary-treasurer of the Ontonagon River Improvement and Boom Company, organized in 1880. They made it possible to float logs out to Lake Superior and built a sawmill on an island near the mouth of the Ontonagon river in Ontonagon, Michigan.

The G. M. Wakefield Mineral Land Company was formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 18 September 1899 for the purpose of dealing in mineral lands, timber, agricultural lands, and real estate. George M. Wakefield, his wife and their son Vernon T. Wakefield were the stockholders with a capital stock of $50,000 divided into 500 shares. Most of the land held was in Township 47 North, between Wakefield and Lake Gogebic. Mr. Wakefield was also a major stockholder in the Beacon, Continental, Cosmos, International, and Summit mineral land companies.

The Wakefield ancestry is traced back to John Wakefield, who was born about 1614, probably in Gravesend, County Kent, England and immigrated to Virginia aboard the "America" in June 1635, along with his brothers Richard Wakefield and Thomas Wakefield. John Wakefield eventually settled at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.


MIKADO Captain John Lester did pioneering work on the MIKADO in 1886. Development occurred off and on for several years, until the first ore was shipped in 1895. The mine is credited with shipping over one million tons from 1895 to 1917. Shipments from 1919 to 1952 were sent under the PLYMOUTH name. The MIKADO mine was located on the northwest end of the open pit, in Verona location.

PILGRIM Explorations began on this location in the spring of 1886 under Captain Harry Letcher. Nothing was shipped until 1919-27 when the PILGRIM made shipments of twenty-two thousand tons. The PILGRIM was located just east of the MIKADO.

PLYMOUTH The PLYMOUTH open pit mine operated just to the west of the WAKEFIELD, but the PLYMOUTH was entirely an open pit operation, with the possible exception of a small amount of ore taken out of the No.3 shaft as it was being sunk. It began shipping in 1916 and closed on 6 November 1952, having shipped almost seventeen million tons.

WAKEFIELD Drill exploration began on the WAKEFIELD property in July 1912, and two shafts were down by the following summer. The first ore shipment was made on 15 October 1913. The WAKEFIELD soon became an open pit mine, shipping a total of almost fourteen million gross tons from 1913 to 1954.

CITY OF CHICAGO Exploration began in the latter part of 1886 at this location on the north shore of Sunday lake. The SPARTA operated on the same location in 1888 and the CITY OF CHICAGO returned in 1896, eventually producing shipments of almost one hundred thousand tons of ore between 1896-1915. It was also called the SOUTH CHICAGO in 1915.

SPARTA The former CITY OF CHICAGO exploration became the SPARTA in 1888. It was developed and shipped almost ten thousand tons from 1891 to 1895.

ALPHA In the summer of 1886 the Alpha Iron Mining Company sank a shaft near the north shore of Sunday lake. By 1890 this location was taken over by the PIKE mine.

PIKE Captain Robinson D. Pike (1838-1906) of Bayfield, Wisconsin took over the former ALPHA option in 1889. Ten years later the PIKE made its first shipment, with total shipments of over one hundred five thousand tons from 1899 to 1910. In 1927 the PIKE became part of the SUNDAY LAKE GROUP.

BROTHERTON Frank H. Brotherton began mineral explorations near Sunday lake in the summer of 1883. The first iron ore was shipped from the mine in 1886, with total shipments amounting to two million six hundred ninety thousand tons by the time the mine closed in 1923.

SUNDAY LAKE This location was first explored in 1881 by George Fay. Development picked up by 1884, and the first iron shipment left port at Ashland on 19 November 1885. The SUNDAY LAKE mine later encompassed all of Section 10 and the former BROTHERTON mine. Over seventeen million gross tons of ore went out from 1885 to 1961. The mine closed on 16 February 1961.

IRON CHIEF Development of the IRON CHIEF mine began in 1884 under the Fink Mining Company. It was originally called the ASCHERMANN for Edward Aschermann (18341904) of Appleton, Wisconsin. The mine shipped about twelve thousand tons of iron ore in 1886 and 1887.

CASTILE Captain Pentecost Mitchell (1861-1933) discovered iron ore on this location in 1886. The CASTILE began producing in 1906 and shipped almost nine hundred thousand tons of ore by the time it closed in 1923.

METEOR The METEOR started as an exploration in 1890, called the NORTON. It was developed into a mine by 1900 and operated until 1904, shipping one hundred thirty-two thousand tons between 1899 and 1904. Over six million tons of stockpile ore went under the name NORTH MIKADO.

COMET Captain Pentecost Mitchell found ore here and an exploration called the ECLlPSE was developed from 1886 to 1890. The COMET began in 1890 making its first ore shipment in August. The COMET was shut down in 1893 reopening in 1900 and operating until 1902 as part of the METEOR mine. It is credited with shipments of eighty-nine thousand tons in 1890-93.

MORGAN The MORGAN mine east of Wakefield was developed in 1918-23 and made its first ore shipment on 30 January 1923. It operated until 1925 and shipped over fifty-eight thousand tons.

VICAR The easternmost productive mine on the Gogebic Range covered most of Section 12, east of Wakefield. This location was once called the JONES & LAUGHLIN exploration and included the old PHOENIX exploration that dated back to 1887. The VICAR shipped about one hundred two thousand tons in 1950-51.

Wakefield City Hall

Notable residents


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.5 square miles (22.1 km²), of which, 8.0 square miles (20.6 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.4 km²) of it (6.46%) is water.

Major Highways


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,085 people, 883 households, and 535 families residing in the city. The population density was 261.5 per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 1,035 housing units at an average density of 129.8/sq mi (50.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.23% White, 0.48% Native American, 0.05% Asian, and 1.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.19% of the population.

There were 883 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.1% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 30.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,368, and the median income for a family was $36,810. Males had a median income of $31,406 versus $21,278 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,036. About 6.3% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.



1887 300
1888 2,320
1891 1,000
1893 700
1897 407
1901 1,191
1903 1,000
1905 1,500
1907 1,500
1909 1,300
1910 700
1920 4,151
1930 3,677
1940 3,591
1950 3,367
1960 3,231
1990 2,318
2000 2,085


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 


  • Wakefield Historical Society documents
  • Cox, Bruce K., Pioneers of Wakefield Michigan 1884-1900, Agogeebic Press, LLC, 2007.
  • Cox, Bruce K., Headframes and Mine Shafts of the Gogebic Range, Volume 2, Bessemer-Ramsay-Wakefield, Agogeebic Press, LLC, 2000.

Coordinates: 46°28′31″N 89°56′24″W / 46.47528°N 89.94°W / 46.47528; -89.94


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