Ispeming is at the heart of the Marquette Iron Range which is one of the most productive iron mining regions in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I took a detour to the area around Ishpeming in 2007 hoping to have a look at the one of the big open pit mines south of Ishpeming. I also wanted to look at some of the smaller towns near the pits. The town Republic was very interesting but I didn't take any pictures. The mines themselves were completely inaccessible as far as I was able to tell.
While looking around Ispeming I stumbled upon these amazing monumental obelisks. These are the headframes of the now closed Cliffs iron mine. Cliffs was an underground mine. These headframes sat on top of the mine opening and housed hoists and ventilation equipment. Since they were in such a prominent place in town the mine owner wanted them to look nice. They were built in 1919 and are supposed to evoke ancient Egypt.
The obelisks and the grounds around them are fenced off and part of the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum which offers periodic tours for a small fee.
I skipped the tour but I'm glad I got to see these unique industrial relics. Ishpeming is a nice small city. It's been hurt economically by reduced employment in area mines but it's still pretty vibrant and has a nice collection of turn of the century buildings including some really beautiful Superior sandstone structures.
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